While the 2019 season has been tough for the Denver Broncos, there is confidence brewing within the locker room about the future of the franchise.
The first half of the season was littered with shortcomings and poor play, however, the team has improved as the season has progressed. The Broncos have won three of their last four games and have a chance to end the year on a strong note with a win versus the Oakland Raiders Sunday.
Oakland will come to town looking to secure a win to keep their playoff chances alive, but the Broncos are set on spoiling their hopes.
“There is motivation anyway, anytime that you play the Raiders,” Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay said. “That is a rival game. Second of all, we lost to them when we went there, now it’s time for them to come to us. If they think they’re going to come in here and try to clinch the playoffs, they’ve got something coming because we’re here to win the game.”
Denver has matched their win total from last season and received a spark when rookie Drew Lock was interested as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.
“I see a team that’s coming together, that’s building off something, and that’s going to be great for next year,” Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay said. “It starts with the quarterback. I think [QB] Drew [Lock] is doing a great job, and you guys are starting to see glimpses of what he can do once he continues to get in the groove and really works with [Offensive Coordinator] Rich [Scangarello] in the offseason. You’re going to see somebody that comes back a lot more confident and is going to be able to make plays for us.”
Denver’s offense has come to life since Lock became the team’s starter, which has totally flipped the narrative about this season.
Under the command of Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen, the Broncos struggled and looked like a team with no vision. That said, Lock changed the perspective of the team and has them trending in the right direction down the stretch in 2019.
Denver struggled to close games out early in the season, but have improved sustainably in the last few weeks.
“You’re seeing something that—this year’s been a tough year anyway because there’s been a lot of games that we could have or should have won. That’s the difference,” Lindsay explained. “Last year, you were hoping for a win. This year, we had them, and we let them go. That just shows the growth from last year to this year, and it shows the growth from this year to next year. Next year, you’ll see us be able to finish more.”
It’s clear the Broncos endured numerous growing pains in the early portion of the season, but they have improved significantly in the second half of the season.
Head coach Vic Fangio appears to have a grip on his team, and coordinators Rich Scangarello and Ed Donatell have settled into their new roles.
Additionally, the Broncos have seen players like Justin Simmons, Alexander Johnson, and Courtland Sutton emerge as premium talent this season, adding to their core of young players.
With age comes wisdom, and Lindsay believes it’s only up from here for the Broncos.
“A lot of us will be on our third year, fourth year and that’s really big,” Lindsay said. “They say something about, usually your third year—players usually have a great year in their third year, and there’s a bunch of us. Hopefully, that stays true, and we go in there, and we handle our business.”