Even though the Denver Broncos has had their share of drama this year, their turnaround from 2022 to the 2023 NFL Season has been very impressive. Say what you want about how the Denver Broncos handled the situation with Russell Wilson, but this team has really done a complete 180 this year and are actually a competent football team in 2023.
The 2022 season was filled with so much promise for the Broncos; trading for QB Russell Wilson and hiring Nathaniel Hackett seemed to be a solid foundation to get the team out of the cellar. Well, they only dropped further into the cellar, winning just five games and seeing Hackett fired before finishing his first season as a HC in the NFL, which had only happened a few other times before Hackett's axing.
And in 2023, the Broncos seemed to get it actually right by bringing Sean Payton on board to lead the team. Well, a 1-5 start to begin 2023 seemed to be a death sentence for the team, and a massive rebuild was probably on the way. Since starting 1-5, the Broncos have gone 7-3 and have a chance to finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2016.
You can disagree with how the Broncos handled the Russell Wilson benching. You can also not like Sean Payton, but you have to acknowledge the huge turnaround this franchise has made. At 8-8, they lasted within the NFL playoff picture for 17 weeks. The Broncos were uncharted territory being in the playoff mix.
And yeah, the 1-5 start really hurt their chances at making the postseason. Even starting 2-4 and going on the same run would have the team at 9-7 and battling for a playoff spot in the last week of the season.
Oh well, the Broncos did that to themselves, but the team has quite a lot to build on for 2024 and still have a ton to play for in 2023 with one game remaining. The status of Russell Wilson on the Broncos beyond this year is certainly up in the air, but the team does have a formula for winning games and Payton being in charge is encouraging.
Going into this offseason, I think we'll see the Broncos begin to load up their roster with young draft picks and mid-tier free agents. You won't see the team invest hefty contracts in free agency, but you might see them sign cheaper free agents who fit the culture of the team.