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Trouble brewing for Broncos: How they got here and what's next

    • 146 posts
    November 14, 2017 11:21 PM PST

    A storied NFL franchise with an all-time great quarterback at the controls got blown out Sunday. That team was the Denver Broncos. The all-time great quarterback is John Elway, the team's top football executive since 2011 and general manager since 2012.

    and if 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch does not clear those hurdles when his turn behind center inevitably comes,womens Devin Funchess Jersey,Embarrassing as the 51-23 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles might have been, the outcome could not have surprised even a Broncos optimist. Philly is rolling behind dynamic young quarterback Carson Wentz. Denver lacks the ground game and pass protection to support its lower-tier quarterbacks, then what?

    The Broncos' four-game slide into a 3-5 record at their season's midpoint has been brewing for a while. Denver was 9-7 last season despite a statistically dominant defense. Vegas oddsmakers set the Broncos' win total at eight in 2017 under the assumption little would change. Peyton Manning's retirement and a series of less-than-stellar drafts are taking a toll, bringing Elway face to face with the next challenge in his Mile High executive tenure.

    and when results have not met expectations,Elway has long relished the challenge born of great responsibility. A franchise savior as a player, he wasn't content with simply being part of the team. He sought and won full control of the Broncos' football operation, he has not hesitated making changes that have left him standing as the most responsible party.womens Daryl Worley Jersey,

    The Broncos pointed to an impressive array of organizational accomplishments since 2011 in announcing a contract extension for Elway over the summer. Second-most total wins in the league. Five AFC West titles. Two Super Bowl appearances. One Super Bowl victory.womens Shaq Thompson Jersey,

    "Elway is the only general manager in the NFL during that span who has acquired future Pro Bowl players through the NFL draft,"During his six seasons as an executive, street free agency," the Broncos declared,womens Adolphus Washington Jersey, unrestricted free agency and college free agency."

    he did not become GM until 2012,womens Cardale Jones Jersey,While Elway arrived as executive vice president of football operations 2011, when the team announced that 2009-11 GM Brian Xanders would be leaving the organization as Elway asserted fuller control.

    along with Cleveland and New Orleans,Authentic John Miller Jersey,Even if Elway deserves credit for a 2011 draft class featuring No. 2 overall pick Von Miller, it's notable that Denver is one of only three organizations,womens Vernon Butler Jersey, to have zero Pro Bowl players drafted since 2012. Pro Bowls are not the only or even the best way to size up draft classes -- Derek Wolfe and others have become important contributors -- but that still seems like a surprising realization running counter to perception.

    The Chiefs (five),Authentic Daryl Worley Jersey, Raiders (four) and Chargers (two) have combined to draft 11 Pro Bowlers over the same span: Tyreek Hill, D.J. Alexander,Authentic Shaq Thompson Jersey, Marcus Peters, Khalil Mack, Travis Kelce and Dontari Poe for the Chiefs; Amari Cooper, Derek Carr and Latavius Murray for the Raiders; Melvin Gordon and Jason Verrett for the Chargers.

    and Trevor Siemian has provided more than what a seventh-round quarterback typically would. But for a team that has needed help on offense,Offensive players drafted by Denver in the first three rounds since Elway became GM include Brock Osweiler and Lynch at quarterback; offensive linemen Michael Schofield, Ty Sambrailo and Garett Bolles; running backs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman; receivers Cody Latimer and Carlos Henderson; and tight end Jeff Heuerman. Center Matt Paradis was a late-round find, the drafts have not been transforming.Authentic James Bradberry Jersey

    Manning's presence on the roster made Denver a prime destination for veteran free agents. As the Broncos try to keep their edge defensively while supplementing a lagging offense,,Authentic Ronald Darby Jersey,The Broncos have shined during Elway's tenure when adding high-profile free agents such as Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware. Yet, while money tends to carry the day in free agency, will they succeed in free agency to the degree they could in building a championship roster?

    once Manning arrived,Authentic Adolphus Washington Jersey,Elway himself was the key for landing Manning in free agency years ago. No GM could have been better qualified or equipped for luring an all-time great quarterback. Then,Authentic Cardale Jones Jersey he became the best recruiter the Broncos could have had.

    " a veteran coach from the AFC said. "There was a high level of accountability because of him. That all gets placed on the coaching staff,womens Ronald Darby Jersey,womens John Miller Jersey,"Peyton controlled the atmosphere, which [Gary] Kubiak and his crew wasn't able to match,Authentic Vernon Butler Jersey,had everyone playing and focusing because he would chew their ass if they didn't, and nobody has matched since. There is just a huge void that did not get filled anywhere."

    there is now less of one -- unless the Broncos dive into the market for another veteran quarterback,womens James Bradberry Jersey,Denver can still succeed in free agency, but where there was once an edge,Authentic Devin Funchess Jersey, in which case the Broncos' defense could be attractive.