On Thursday, the former Denver Broncos lineman said on his radio show that Teddy Bridgewater’s embarrassing attempt at a tackle showed that the organization’s problems start at the top. ‘Poop runs downhill,’ Schlereth explained to listeners while also calling for changes in leadership throughout all levels of football operations.
The Denver Broncos, fresh off one of the season’s most unexpected shocks, put up a stinker the next week. Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater making no attempt to stop a defender racing in for a game-winning score was emblematic of the team’s effort in Week 10. Bridgewater’s effort, according to former NFL player Mark Schlereth, who won two Super Bowls with the Broncos, indicates a deeper organizational issue.
In Week 10, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Denver Broncos.
The Denver Broncos were 5-4 and in good position for not just an AFC postseason berth but also an AFC West championship after a shocking 30-16 upset of the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9.
The next stop on their playoff journey was a matchup against the 3-6 Philadelphia Eagles at home.
The game should have brought the Broncos national attention, and it did, but for all the wrong reasons. The squad put in a poor performance and fell to the Eagles 30-13, which was even worse than the Cowboys’ win the week before.
The game’s highlight came when Eagles cornerback Darius Slay recovered a fumble and returned it for a score as the third quarter came to a close. During the runback, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater sidestepped the defender and allowed him an open route to the end zone despite being in great position to make the stop.
The play was disastrous since it changed a 20-13 game into a 27-13 game, thus finishing it.
The endeavor was plainly terrible, but commentators disagreed on whether Bridgewater made the correct option. To protect themselves, some analysts, such as FS1’s Colin Cowherd, believe quarterbacks should move out of the way and avoid making tackles.
Others, including former NFL quarterbacks, disagreed. “Teddy Bridgewater no tackle attempt as terrible as I’ve ever seen,” said Rich Gannon, a 17-year NFL quarterback. He’ll have to justify himself to his teammates, coaches, and Broncos fans.”
Mark Schlereth, a three-time Super Bowl champion offensive guard and former Denver Bronco, believes it was a poor performance by the quarterback. He doesn’t entirely blame Bridgewater, however. He claims that the issue affects the whole corporation, not simply the field.
Former Broncos quarterback Mark Schlereth feels the franchise has an issue with its culture.
Mark Schlereth spent 12 seasons in the National Football League, six with the now-defunct Washington Football Team and six with the Denver Broncos. He presently works as a color commentator for FOX Sports and has a sports talk radio show in Denver.
He spoke on the Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday to discuss a variety of NFL subjects, including his old team’s lackluster defeat to the Eagles.
When the topic of Teddy Bridgewater’s tackle attempt (or lack thereof) came up, he said that wide receiver Cortland Sutton, another team captain, had done something similar a few weeks before. Following an interception, the wideout strolled off the field without pursuing down the defensive man.
Schlereth then provided an illustration from his childhood that he feels encapsulates the issue. It’s the lack of an accountability culture in the Denver Broncos organization these days:
When I was roughly 17 years old, I worked as a plumber’s apprentice for a summer. And I’m at work, and this guy says, “Hey buddy, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about plumbing,” and I’m digging a trench down to the septic tank with a shovel… and he essentially says, ‘poop runs downhill,’ and I’ll tidy this up for the radio… If your owner or head coach does not build and embody a culture every single day, it will flow down to the players… How can you expect individuals below you to hold themselves responsible if you don’t hold people accountable at the top of the organization? It’s terrible because they aren’t the Denver Broncos with whom I played, and it’s disappointing.
The culture of the Denver Broncos, according to Mark Schlereth
This is a direct aim at head coach Vic Fangio, president of football operations (and former quarterback John Elway), and the team’s current owners, the estate of late owner Pat Bowlen.
In Week 11, the club hosts the division foe Los Angeles Chargers.
Mark Schlereth is a writer who lives in New York City. The Denver Post/Helen H. Richardson photo
Despite the overwhelming defeat that dropped the Denver Broncos to last place in the AFC West, the club remains in contention for a postseason berth or possibly a division title.
The AFC West, which many regarded as one of the finest in football heading into the 2021 season, is a fiercely contested, but poor, division. The Kansas City Chiefs are in first position with a 6-4 record, while the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are just a half-game behind with 5-4 records.
This puts the 5-5 Broncos, who have five divisional games out of their seven, in contention for the AFC West title.
The Broncos take on the Chargers in the divisional Royal Rumble this weekend. Los Angeles is in a bad spot as well, having dropped three of their past four games and just edging out the Eagles by a field goal during that time.
The Chargers, like the Broncos, have their own issues. As brilliant as QB Justin Herbert has been this season, his pass protection has been lacking, and his receivers, although productive, have a tendency to drop too many passes. The defense in Los Angeles isn’t outstanding either. In terms of points allowed, the unit is ranked 19th.
This is a fun game. Sunday seems to have the potential to decide which of these clubs sticks around and battles for a postseason berth, and which squad packs up and looks forward to 2022.
With the AFC West’s mediocrity and a plethora of divisional games remaining, it could just as well be a game where the loser bounces back or the winner fades away.
Your AFC West team for 2021, ladies and gentlemen.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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