After starting the 2021 season at 3-0. the Denver Broncos quickly found themselves under .500 with a 3-4 record. The team rebounded, reaching the 7-win mark after 13 contests, but ended the 12 months by losing all 4 of their remaining games.
With a record of 7-10, the Broncos not only missed the NFL postseason, but finished last within the competitive AFC West.
Since, Denver has responded in a giant way. During this 12 months’s offseason, the Broncos managed to drag off a trade for Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell Wilson. For the nine-time Pro Bowler, Denver shipped Drew Lock, Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, two first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks, and a fifth-rounder to the Seahawks.
Together with Wilson, the Broncos also received a fourth-round pick.
Denver also made a head coaching change, hiring Nathaniel Hackett to interchange the relieved Vic Fangio.
The Broncos definitely appear to have improved on paper throughout this offseason, but so has the remaining of the AFC West. How does Denver compete with the division and earn a spot within the 2022 NFL postseason?
2 Things Broncos Must Do To Race Into The 2022 NFL Playoffs
2. Determine the special teams struggles
For the last handful of seasons, the Broncos special teams has been just awful. In 2021, the team managed to one-up themselves, by turning that awful right into a league-worst unit.
Not only was the film bad, but so were the relationships between players and coaches. Placekicker Brandon McManus and former Broncos’ special teams coordinator Tom McMahon often bumped heads, even leading to the placekicker voicing his frustrations on social media.
Otherwise, McManus has been a brilliant spot as a rule for the Broncos special teams, and the team’s punting hasn’t been too shabby either. The true problem lies in special teams coverage, and overall returning.
Throughout the last three seasons, no team has allowed more touchdown returns than the Denver Broncos (5).
The unit also finished 32-of-32 in each kickoff yards gained and kickoff yards allowed. Following such an abysmal 12 months, Denver decided to try their hand with a recent special teams coordinator, along with moving on from their return man Diontae Spencer.
If Denver desires to be a threat in 2022, these special teams woes have to be patched. In 2010, no offense totaled more yards than the Chargers, and no defense allowed less yardage than the identical Chargers team. Despite sporting the perfect statistical offense and defense, the team would go onto miss the postseason with a 9-7 record because of poor special teams play.
From the 2010 Chargers, we learn the importance of special teams. When you’re struggling on this department, you may take yourself right out of the playoffs, even in case your team finishes with probably the most efficient offense and defense league-wide.
1. Let Russ cook
’21 rookie Javonte Williams was magical, leading all running backs in broken tackles. Starting just one contest, Williams was 93-yards shy of hitting the 1,000-yard mark in just his first NFL season.
Beyond this, the Broncos welcomed back Melvin Gordon on a 1-year deal value upwards of $2.5 million.
With all the flowery pieces within the running back room, it is perhaps easy to prioritize a rushing attack. Don’t try this, Denver.
The key force behind the Seahawks trading Wilson was the dearth of willingness to fulfill the quarterback’s annual asking price of $50 million. Per Mike Florio, Wilson’s camp plans for a “Deshaun Watson type contract” with Denver.
“Not less than $46 million per 12 months, with every penny guaranteed.”
The Denver Broncos general manager, George Paton, stated the team didn’t pull the trigger on the Wilson deal simply to not have him for very long. Naturally, this implies the Broncos have every intention of attempting to work out a cope with their recent quarterback.
Why would the Broncos be so willing to fulfill Wilson’s $50 million per 12 months price point?
To start out, Russ has made the Pro Bowl each season since 2017, missing the sport just once in his ten-year profession. The All-Pro quarterback has never had a season with lower than 26 combined touchdowns, and has yet to toss greater than 13 interceptions. Last 12 months, during his ’21 campaign, the previous Seahawk totaled only 6 interceptions, on his approach to 3,113 passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns.
Wilson has consistently been magical along with his deep ball, and 2021 was no exception. Per NFL Network, the 33-year-old ranked eighth league-wide on the list of top-10 deep ball passers last season. Wilson’s 978 passing yards on 20+ yard throws was the third-highest within the NFL, and his 8 touchdowns on such throws contained in the pocket ranked second.
With Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick, the Broncos imagine they’ve enough weaponry to showcase a fantastic passing attack. Now, all that’s left to do is let Russ cook.