DENVER — Do Von Miller a favor. Trade him to the Dallas Cowboys. Let him go home.
Trade him to a team that has a chance, at the least. These Broncos don’t. They didn’t have a chance before a 17-10 win over the Washington Football Team Sunday, or in the putting on a happy face that followed.
“Honestly, man, it’s always a great feeling when you win in this league,” Teddy Bridgewater said.
The Broncos went hard after this one. Good on them. Teddy's right. That's not what I'm saying.
But this was not a great feeling for Broncos fans. This was “Hangover 2,” pretending the entertainment is as good as it used to be just because it’s on the screen. This was the Broncos squeaking out a win because the opponent is 2-6 for a reason. This was dang near so bad Von Miller should quietly request a trade. He'd never do it. Loves this team and community too much.
You think I want to watch Von Miller finish his career somewhere else? Not a chance, no way. On Halloween, thinking about Steve Atwater in Jets green was nightmarish enough. But come on, Broncos. What are we doing here?
Get the rebuild going for real. Ship Von before the trade deadline at 2 p.m. Tuesday. In return collect a haul more valuable than the compensatory pick they’d get when he leaves after this season in free agency. There are championship-caliber teams out there who could use a spectacular pass-rusher like Von Miller, because Von Miller’s already shown he can win a Super Bowl. Trade him to the Cardinals to huddle up with draft classmate J.J. Watt. Trade him to the Los Angeles Rams where a Hollywood cowboy hat will play. Don’t trade him to the Chiefs. There are still rules here, and that’s one.
But there’s no way a rational person can watch the Broncos get out-rushed, out-passed, outgained, out-first down’ed, out-almost-everything’ed by the Washington Football Team and think, ‘Yep, playoff team. Better keep our highest-paid player for the next nine games.’
There’s no way. You thought the Broncos had this one wrapped up when Washington threw an interception on 4th-and-19 with 40 seconds left. Nope! Three snaps later, when the only thing you can’t do is fumble, the Broncos fumbled. Washington had another shot from the Denver 24 and went incompletion, sack, incompletion, and, on the shortest Hail Mary in NFL history, incompletion. This Washington Football Team is a Hail Mary. The Broncos had theirs answered.
“We’re going to Dallas next. I thought I saw somewhere (while) laying in bed, I think it was last night, that Dallas has scored over 35 (points) in their last four games,” said Broncos coach Vic Fangio.
The Broncos haven't scored 35 points since Week 4 of last season. It's Week 8 of this season, and this season they average 16 points against teams with winning records.
“We better get some points,” Fangio said.
It’s awfully strange Von Miller didn’t play on Sunday. Did I mention that part? Right, Von Miller didn’t play on Sunday, despite saying 10 days ago, after the game in which he was injured, “I felt like I could have (gone) back into the game.” But 10 days later he’s not recovered yet? That’s fishy. That’s the Broncos preserving his trade value when further injury would smash it.
“Ultimately it’s not up to me (whether he plays),” Miller said last week.
So maybe there’s a trade coming.
There should be a trade coming. I can’t see a path to the playoffs from the AFC West — not with a team that’s 4-0 against bad teams, 0-4 against good teams and seven of the next nine opponents have winning records. Not when left tackle Garett Bolles left with an injury, and pass-rusher Bradley Chubb is still out. The Broncos ended a four-game losing streak Sunday, and none of their 22 playoff seasons included a four-game losing streak. Never happened. It’s time to pile up draft picks and assets and be sincere and honest about the state of the Broncos for once. From ownership to coaching to wins and losses, it's about next season and beyond.
The Broncos are 4-4 and 7.5-point underdogs next week at Dallas. Seems low. The Broncos scored two touchdowns Sunday, which is one more than Peyton Manning scored, and he's retired. At halftime the Broncos honored Manning as the newest Ring of Famer in another awesome ceremony. To bring back the memories and goosebumps, Manning geared up and floated a 30-yard touchdown pass to former teammate and BFF Brandon Stokley. Awesome moment. Gosh, those were the days.
“You took a chance on me in 2012 in a pivotal moment in my career and I will never forget it,” Manning told the Mile High crowd, which did not include almost 12,000 no-shows, a big number.
For whatever reason, the Fangio-Miller duo has paired together like toothpaste and beer. With Fangio as the actual defensive coordinator, Miller has averaged half of a sack in 22 games. That’s a lot lower than his career average. Not to speak for the man, but I have to believe Miller would welcome a trade at this point in his Broncos career. He’s a free agent after this season, anyway. What’s three months in Buffalo or Green Bay if another Super Bowl is the pot of gold at the end of the rental rainbow? Then in free agency go somewhere you want to live.
We’ll learn a lot about general manager George Paton over the next 48 hours. He traded for a linebacker, Stephen Weatherly, who had a big sack in his Broncos debut. He identified serious studs in the draft with cornerback Patrick Surtain II and running back Javonte Williams. But does he have the huevos and autonomy to take the kind of risk Broncos visionaries took before to make things right?
It’s no fun writing this. But do him a favor.