In any sport, at any level, it’s tough to wake up the day after losing by 50 points.
Plenty of questions linger. Everything seems a little less hopeful. But there’s a strange bit of beauty in hitting rock bottom, which arrives with the realization things can’t get much worse.
“Look, it was a tough day, and today’s not gonna be fun, and it probably won’t be fun anytime soon until we start winning some games,” Broncos coach Sean Payton said on Monday, less than 24 hours after the Miami Dolphins dropped a 70-point performance on his team.
“We’ve got to have a better work week than last week. We’ve got to have a good plan in place for the team we’re playing. We’ve got to be able to take the coaching, and then ourselves as coaches, say hey, where did we fail, where did we not do a good enough job? That has to happen quickly.”
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It must happen quickly, because Payton’s Broncos are 0-3 and seem to be getting worse by the week, devolving from a team that lost by one and two points in Weeks 1 and 2 to, well, a whole lot more than that. Such a defeat is shocking, so much that it would be understandable if it cost some individuals their jobs. Payton said Monday no jobs are in jeopardy, and even if they were, he certainly wouldn’t discuss it on a Monday morning conference call with reporters.
Fair enough. Just because the Broncos were buried beneath enough points to insulate a Cold War bunker, it doesn’t mean Payton should clean house after three weeks, which already isn’t an optimal time to do so.
The results, however, are going to have to change soon before it gets awkward with these Broncos. After spending an offseason claiming Payton was coming in to right Denver’s ship and get its crew in line, the Broncos have provided zero evidence he’s made a difference.
Sunday’s game, then, is not one the Broncos simply flush and leave behind. Somewhere in the 50-point beatdown exists a valuable lesson or three.
“We’re learning as we go. … The attention to detail of what we’re doing at practice has to improve,” Payton said. “We as coaches have to look closely at what we’re asking them to do.
“Look, this is one of those weeks where you take a butt-whooping like that, you find out a lot about everyone. It’s a tough film to watch. I debated whether we were gonna show it or not, but I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t. We’ve got to sit in here, and today, as it’s unpleasant as it’s gonna be, we’ve got to get these things cleaned up. Look, we played a good offense, but we certainly didn’t help ourselves in any way, shape or form in playing them.”
Miami has undoubtedly proved to be an explosive team through three weeks, but there’s no excuse for giving up 70 points — in the form of 10 touchdowns — to any opponent. Perhaps it’s better the Broncos received an aggressive wake-up call now and not in late October; There’s still plenty of time left to turn things around and leave this nightmare of a Sunday in the past.
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