Nobody expected the Denver Broncos to be sitting here today with a 1-5 record. After another season of disappointment following big expectations, what will the team do with the remainder of the schedule?

Denver Broncos searching for answers at 1-5

1-5 marks a very disappointing start to the Sean Payton era for a Denver Broncos team that’s invested so much in his vision to help them get back to their winning ways.

To be honest here, this job was never going to be an overnight turnaround, but nonetheless, the start to the season is far from the expectations Payton has set for the team.

Denver’s offense has been their bright spot for the majority of the season, but they’ve struggled mightily the past two weeks. After accumulating 94 total yards of offense in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs and 103 yards in the second half, Payton has his work cut out for him to get that unit to click for the next two weeks before they head into the bye week.

With trade rumors swirling about several key players on offense, poor game management decisions, and a 1-5 record, the job won’t be easy. What should the Broncos look toward for the remainder of the season?

Broncos offense, Sean Payton must incorporate Marvin Mims more

Perhaps one of the more mind-boggling realities of this Broncos team is the mismanagement of explosive second-round rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims.

Mims has been Denver’s most explosive player on offense outside of undrafted rookie running back Jaleel McLaughlin, but Payton has failed to incorporate him consistently.

Against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, Mims saw only 12 total snaps on offense and didn’t see a single target. This is a concerning trend that dates back to Week 2 against the Washington Commanders.

Mims had two catches for 113 yards and a touchdown in the first half of that game and never saw a single target in the second half. For an established play-caller like Payton, this has been concerning.

Could it be that he’s looking to feature Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy more to elevate potential trade value? It’s possible, but it’s inexcusable to not utilize a player who has consistently created big plays for the team on offense when featured and on special teams in the return game.

As it stands today, Mims is averaging 24.6 yards per reception on 10 catches this year. It’s evident that he and Russell Wilson have established rapport with one another, but the two of them aren’t getting the chance to connect more, mainly due to playcalling and snap utilization.

Has Jaleel McLaughlin become Broncos’ RB2?

Jaleel McLaughlin has been a bright spot for the Broncos this season. After winning the RB3 job in training camp, a case can be made that he’s now won the team’s RB2 job behind Javonte Williams.

This past week against the Kansas City Chiefs, McLaughlin got the start and the first carry of the game followed by Williams.

Denver’s rushing attack contributed to 70 of their 94 yards of offense in the first half alone. Williams led the way with 10 carries for 52 yards, while McLaughlin added seven carries for 30 yards.

What’s even more revealing is that McLaughlin saw 21 snaps on offense (40%), while Williams saw 18 snaps (35%), and Perine saw only nine snaps (17%) total.

Williams’ bruising style and physicality allow him to have an impact in the run game and pass protection, but McLaughlin’s speed and elusiveness have proven to be more valuable than what Perine has offered all around.

Going forward, Payton and the Broncos offense should embrace a two-back combo of Williams and McLaughlin.

Could Ja’Quan McMillian emerge into key core player?

After losing nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams in training camp to an ankle injury, the Broncos looked at both Essang Bassey and Ja’Quan McMillian to step into that role.

Bassey initially secured the role, but was released after Week 4 relative to performance.

When healthy, Williams is a valuable asset against the run and in the passing game for Denver, but he’s been stuck on injured reserve, and there’s no definitive timetable for his return.

Williams’ absence has been big for Denver’s defense, but McMillian has quietly emerged into a player who has shown promise at one of the team’s biggest positions.

The former undrafted rookie free agent is a great technician at the position and has invested a lot of time in the film room to step into the role he currently has, and it’s evident on the game tape.

In just three games, McMillian has accumulated 17 total tackles, including three tackles for a loss against the Chiefs on Thursday night. His pursuit of the football stands out, but more importantly, how he utilizes leverage and technique against the run and in coverage are important for him to build on as the season progresses.

One area the Broncos’ defense has struggled with has been communication. It’s noticeable how often McMillian communicates presnap relative to formation or motion, and Denver’s defense has been better coverage wise the past two weeks because of it.

He could be a player that the Denver Broncos should consider moving forward with in that role.