The Denver Broncos have been heavily criticized for their underachieving offensively, but how much does youth play into it?
It hasn’t been all that hard to figure out why the Denver Broncos are struggling offensively this season, but it took me awhile to put two and two together.
What this Broncos team lacks that many are forgetting on the offensive side of the ball is youth at almost every position. It’s not an excuse, rather just pointing out that this team has a lot of key contributors who haven’t played a lot of NFL football.
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Is it fair to be patient? Can the Broncos afford that?
Going into the 2016 season, I made it a point to say that John Elway and the front office basically were bulletproof from any sort of scrutiny from me offensively. I thought they made the right move not overpaying Brock Osweiler, and contrary to popular belief, I liked the move to retain C.J. Anderson as well.
I obviously loved the re-signing of Emmanuel Sanders and the move to acquire Russell Okung at left tackle, but I think I underestimated the overall impact that inexperience would ultimately have within this unit.
Consider for a moment:
Starting quarterback Trevor Siemian: 24 years old, 0 career starts prior to 2016.
Starting running back Devontae Booker: 24 years old, rookie.
Starting left guard Max Garcia: 25 years old, five starts in 2015.
Starting right guard Michael Schofield: 26 years old, 0 career starts at right guard prior to 2016.
Those are some very key starters for the Broncos this year, not to mention second year starter Matt Paradis at center, who has been a key cog for the offensive line, is in just his second year on the active roster.
Key contributors to the offense like Jordan Taylor (first year on the active roster), Bennie Fowler (second season, 25 years old), Kapri Bibbs (23 years old, 0 career carries prior to 2016), A.J. Derby (25 years old, four games played prior to being traded to Denver), have not seen a ton of NFL action.
Again, this is not an excuse, I’m just pointing out some simple facts. The Broncos are incredibly young offensively, and my biggest question in that is whether or not we are being patient enough in watching them develop.
Are these guys talented and struggling because of youth, or are they struggling because there’s a lack of overall talent?
That’s not entirely for me to decide, though I have my opinions. I think this Broncos team has plenty of talent offensively, starting with two stud wide receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. How they maximize the talent they have elsewhere has seemingly been a big struggle this season, but we’ve seen stretches of good play from them.
Would you believe me if I told you the oldest player offensively for the Broncos is Jordan Norwood, who is 30?
Where the Broncos had a ton of veteran leadership last year in the form of Peyton Manning, Owen Daniels, Evan Mathis, Ryan Harris, Tyler Polumbus, and a number of other guys, the offensive side of the ball saw a massive overhaul and it’s my opinion that we as fans need to be patient in letting Gary Kubiak, Rick Dennison, Greg Knapp, and other offensive coaches extract the most out of it as the season progresses.