Kiz: Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II needs a hug. Or maybe he needs a new coach. Here’s the moment I can’t forget from the Broncos’ bad 19-16 loss to the Chargers. As the field goal that beat Denver went through the uprights, Surtain watched in disgust from the sideline, then slam-dunked his helmet, which rolled onto the field. Surtain is the team’s best player. He’s a cool cat. Nothing rattles him. If this guy loses his mind in frustration, this team is in big trouble.
Gabriel: Back-to-back helmet slam weeks is no good. Against the Colts, wide receiver KJ Hamler did the honors after he came free on a slant route that would have won the game only to see the ball go to the other side of the field and get knocked away from Courtland Sutton. The frustration, particularly from a defense that has allowed a league-low one touchdown per game this season, was palpable on the field and in the locker room after the game. And why wouldn’t it be? Ejiro Evero’s group largely has held up its end of the bargain.
Kiz: OK, can we look on the bright side for just one stinkin ‘minute? (Hey, they don’t call me Mr. Sunshine for nothing.) Up next on Denver’s schedule? The Jets and Jaguars. Back in August, they appeared to be two of the weakest teams the Broncos would face all season. Beat them both, get on a little roll, take a 4-4 record into the bye week and maybe coach Nathaniel Hackett can turn down the heat. The problem? At this point in the season, the Jets and Jags don’t look like pushovers anymore… especially for Denver.
Gabriel: Who’s outlook is the most radically changed from August? The Jets, Jags or Broncos? Two have stock arrows pointed up. The other… not so much. If you want to look at the bright side, Denver did nothing on offense for a half-plus Monday night and still should have defeated a team widely considered a playoff outfit on the road. So wins in a home game against the Jets and a neutral site affair with the Jags that should be finished by tea time in London on Oct. 30 shouldn’t be seen as an entirely unreasonable possibility. But should and shouldn’t and actual results have been very different conversations through six games under Hackett, a first-year, first-time head coach.
Kiz: Well, you can’t blame me for Coach Huggy Bear. I advocated for the Broncos to hire Kevin O’Connell, who has the Minnesota Vikings in first place. Denver general manager George Paton is a fair man and I’m certain he wants to give Hackett a fair chance. But know what changes the dynamic? The expectation that it was going to all be better in Broncos Country this season, after years of suffering. In nearly 40 years of covering this team, I’ve never seen the fanbase so angry. Don’t blame Mr. Surtain for throwing his helmet of him. We all feel his pain about him.
Gabriel: That’s what struck me about Justin Simmons’ frustration on Monday night as he spoke with reporters after the game. It’s amplified because of the expectations he – and pretty much everybody else – carried into this season. Everybody in the building, from the players to Hackett to Paton, have new bosses after the franchise sale closed in August. An interesting moment from when they were introduced: CEO Greg Penner acknowledged his family di lui is new to owning a sports franchise and said, “Obviously this is a business, but this is a sports franchise. We want to win and that’s our goal and part of that is having a lot of fun as a family and with this group while we do that. ” Starting 2-4 isn’t fun for anybody involved, of course. We’ll learn in time about how the new bosses handle that.