It did look that the ploy would work during the first three weeks of the 2021 NFL season.
Unfortunately, everything went south for the Broncos since they went up against tougher competition.
Their offensive output dwindled while their defense lost their identity as an elite unit.
Hey remember when Teddy Bridgewater basically said the offensive staff was clueless? Hah. Heh…. pic.twitter.com/SNKoTSVj6v
— Jeremy Igo (@CarolinaHuddle) October 25, 2021
In defense of Bridgewater, he did have some success during his stints with the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers.
But he’s more of a game manager that will allow the Broncos to win by limiting errors and keeping risky throws to a minimum.
Vic Fangio’s selection of Bridgewater as his starter halted Drew Lock’s development as well.
Yet if Lock can’t win the job, the Broncos have a messy quarterback situation on their hands.
What a horrible interception by Teddy Bridgewater… If Drew lock was in, he would’ve overthrown the WR 🔥💪 pic.twitter.com/k2XCoDSWzJ
— WokeCutler (@CutlerWoke) October 22, 2021
Sadly, it’s a problem that did not start during this offseason.
Instead, their woes at the position were imminent after Peyton Manning’s retirement.
Selecting The Wrong Guy
Manning left a massive void in the Broncos roster after retiring by the end of the 2015 season.
He gave Denver their third Super Bowl win before walking off into the sunset.
With much of their championship roster still intact, the Broncos were in the market for a quarterback.
Eventually, they took Paxton Lynch with the No. 26 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.
It was the same draft wherein the Dallas Cowboys selected Dak Prescott in the fourth round.
Dak Prescott vs the Blitz:
🎯 12 TDs (1st)
🎯 650 yards (2nd)
🎯 51 completions (2nd) pic.twitter.com/tDrANN3svI
— PFF (@PFF) October 22, 2021
Even if the Mississippi State quarterback had comparable numbers to Lynch, the Broncos went with the play-caller from Memphis.
Looking back, that decision became a monumental blunder.
By 2021, Lynch is out of the NFL, playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.
In contrast, Prescott is having an MVP-like season with the Cowboys while dominating the NFC East.
The Broncos Lacked Foresight
Lynch ended up starting just two games in the 2017 season and five total during his two years in Denver.
At the season’s end, the Broncos released all three quarterbacks.
It looked like they would select a play-caller in the 2018 NFL draft.
However, they went with linebacker Bradley Chubb with the fifth overall pick.
#broncos players walking out to practice right now and Bradley Chubb is not wearing a boot on that surgically repaired ankle as he heads to the weight room. We haven’t had much of an update on his timeline since the surgery.
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) October 19, 2021
There’s nothing wrong with the defensive player from North Carolina State because he became a Pro Bowler in 2020 after finishing the season with 7.5 sacks and nine tackles for losses.
Lamar Jackson is the MVP. pic.twitter.com/JSL7e7624z
— 𝙕𝙖𝙘𝙝🦦 (@NewEraZach_) October 21, 2021
Denver went with Case Keenum as their starter and went 6-10.
They did pick Lock a year later, but the 2019 draft class had a shallow talent depth at quarterback except for Kyler Murray.
If only the Broncos opted for a quarterback a year earlier, they could have an MVP-caliber player under center.
Will The Broncos Miss Again?
Seeing how the season is unfolding, the Broncos don’t have many options at quarterback.
They could initiate a trade for Sam Darnold, but he’s regressing without enough weapons around him.
The Broncos could also push for Deshaun Watson, but that route has trouble written all over.
No free-agent quarterback will make a return in Denver because of subpar coaching from Fangio.
— BulldogVI (@BulldogVI) October 22, 2021
Bridgewater and Lock are not attracting suitors before the trade deadline either.
Therefore, the Broncos have no choice but to ride this season and hope they get a fringe playoff spot.
A postseason berth is unlikely with the way things are going, and they will draft another quarterback in 2022.
Mock drafts show that North Carolina’s Sam Howell might be their target.
The Broncos will gamble again, hoping that they make things right this time around.