This column isn’t going to win over many Denver Broncos fans, but the proof is in the pudding.
These Broncos can’t win the Super Bowl.
No, it’s not for a lack of talent. Denver boasts one of the deepest teams in the NFL today and possibly the most star-studded lineup in Broncos history.
Let’s start at the obvious, most key position in quarterback. Peyton Manning is arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of football and The Sheriff gives his team a chance to win each and every week. His receivers are deadly, with Demaryius Thomas as a legitimate No. 1 threat and the greatest slot receiver in the history of the NFL in Wes Welker – when he can play, more on that later. The offensive line is chock full of massive men and enough experience to win the line of scrimmage regularly and Montee Ball may surprise some.
On the opposite side of the ball there’s Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, who – if both healthy – could be the deadliest pass-rushing duo anyone’s ever seen. And the secondary is stacked special players like Aqib Talib, Chris Harris and T.J. Ward.
Still, these Broncos won’t win the Super Bowl.
Why? It’s due to an apparent lack of leadership which is showing currently, and it’s been brewing since last offseason.
When the front office – Tom Heckert and Matt Russell – were each busted for DUI in June of 2013, it was only the tip of the iceberg and a loud warning siren of what would come next. Von Miller’s reputation was ruined when he failed multiple drug tests and the melodrama that surrounded it. And no matter what anyone says, his entire situation was a major distraction in Denver last year.
Fast forward to the 2014 offseason, one in which Broncos players were supposed to be hungry to prove themselves after being thrashed by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The team responded by signing physical players, but when Ward was charged with misdemeanor assault for his throwing a mug at a bartender at a Denver strip club, it wasn’t the type of aggression they were hoping for.
Then, there was Matt Prater getting caught drinking during the offseason. Since he was already charged with a DUI years prior, Prater was in the NFL’s substance-abuse program and now must serve a four-game suspension.
On Tuesday, the plot only thickened when it was revealed Wes Welker has been suspended for four games as well. His infraction? Popping Adderall at the Kentucky Derby, which gives reason to why he would pass out $100 bills after winning big that day.
While Ward is new to the team, he, Prater and Welker are all veterans. They’re supposed to be leaders. They’ve been anything but.
It doesn’t matter how talented a team is, without the proper leadership, they will not be able to succeed. And for the Broncos, succeeding means winning the Super Bowl. Now.
It seems silly to say, but even with Manning as the man in charge of Denver’s offense, there’s not enough leadership to keep these guys’ eyes on the prize.
That’s sad. Not just for fans, but for fellow players who are all in it to win it.
Ware – who was named a captain on Monday – came to the Broncos to win a Super Bowl. And maybe he’ll be able to step up as a much-needed leader on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe it won’t be enough.
In the NFL, the window to win a championship is incredibly small. The Broncos were oh, so close last season, only to see that coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy escape their grasp.
So to see them this unfocused, to see veterans act in such a sophomoric way simply makes no sense.
The team was already without Danny Trevathan – who injured his knee – for at least three weeks, while Miller and Harris are battling back from major knee injuries of their own. Now the Broncos will miss their go-to-guy on third downs and a consistent redzone threat in Welker, as well as their clutch place kicker in Prater for the difficult first four regular season contests.
The Denver Broncos have all the talent needed to win the Super Bowl, but leadership is lacking, which will result in another super disappointment.
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