On Sunday, after a pitiful 16-3 loss to the New England Patriots, the Broncos seemed out of luck in the AFC Playoff race. In fact, the dismal performance on offense incurred a heated shouting match between the O-line and the secondary, which Coach Gary Kubiak had to break up. So, what’s next for the Broncos and the actions they need to take to become a playoff contender?
Disciplinary action for Aqib Talib: It’s likely not a surprise that Aqib Talib was at the center of the scuffle in the locker room. To be fair, he watched some pretty agonizing performances on offense, most specifically the nonexistent offensive line that lets Trevor Siemian take far too many hits. However, Kubiak needs to lay down the law with Talib and his electric attitude, since his ornery behavior takes away from the overall morale on the team. It wouldn’t necessarily be the wisest idea to bench Talib, but his reprimanding needs to be clear and public.
Focus on teamwork to win division games: The AFC West is arguably the toughest division in the NFL, and the Broncos’ two remaining games are against arguably the toughest opponents in the NFL: the Chiefs and the Raiders. Even if they win out the season, they will still be .500 against both teams in 2016; however, a 10-6 record can still give them a chance if the Titans, Dolphins, Texans, and Ravens all choke. Yes, it’s a slim chance, but still enough to inspire the team to band together and win out. Kubiak should use this small grain of hope to encourage teamwork and cooperative play in the remaining two games. The Broncos still can compete with the Raiders and Chiefs, but it will require a focused offense that works in complete sync.
Give the O-line the ultimatum: The Denver Broncos’ offensive line is downright excruciating to watch. Trevor Siemian has been sacked 31 times this season for a net loss of 187 yards. A Division III offensive line would do a better job blocking. Their dismal performance week in and week out was the main reason for the postgame quarrel on Sunday. Kubiak should give it to his O-line straight: they need to prove their worth in Denver’s last two regular season games or their contracts should be cut immediately.
Don’t give up yet, Broncos fans; there’s still some hope left in the Mile High City. However, if Kubiak doesn’t pick up his game, the Broncos could be waiting until January, 2018 for their next chance at the playoffs.