Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

Do The Denver Broncos Have A Leadership Void?

With team leaders like Peyton Manning and David Bruton gone, and DeMarcus Ware sidelined, do the Broncos have a crisis in leadership?

At one of my retail jobs I had early in life, the store that I was working at had a General Manger that no one in particular was very fond of. From his singling out of employees for no discernible reason, to unreasonable expectations, to coming in late and leaving early, he never could earn the respect of the staff.

And when he was finally ousted, it was much to the delight of all of us working at the store.

All the people inside the store were competent, knowledgeable employees, who could fulfill their jobs adequately and fully. However, without a leader at the head of the table, the store quickly descended from having unhappy employees to being the Wild West every day.

Employees came and went as they pleased, day-to-day functions were ignored, and while there were quality people fighting the good fight to keep the store above water, it didn’t matter because there was no one there to keep anybody accountable.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719434-go-premium-sports-illustr...  While not exactly the same industry, the Denver Broncos are rolling toward that same fate. Yes, both sides of the ball for the Denver need to get out to better starts.

Yes, the offensive line needs to find some continuity and better cohesiveness. The offensive game plan and execution has to be better. But all those things are mitigated when you have strong leadership in the huddle and at the present moment, the Broncos are devoid of those types of players.

Who is the leader on the Denver offense? The team-appointed captain at the present moment is soft-spoken wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. To be fair, this is not an indictment of Thomas but he has vocalized more about of his lack of touches than calling out or exhorting his team to pick up their play.

If body language is any indicator, Thomas isn't the most intense, or fiery leader.

If you’re looking for the most vocal Bronco, that would have to be Emmanuel Sanders, who took to Snapchat to voice his displeasure at the offensive production in Weeks 5 and 6. Again, there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with him taking his team to task, but is taking to social media really the answer?

Head coach Gary Kubiak was reportedly very unhappy with his team’s play and attitude and voiced his concerns about where his team's focus was upon returning to the head coaching spot this week. For the normally calm and relaxed coach, the outward show of emotion was a surprise but very much needed.

With just about two-thirds of the season still left to play, it was a wise move on Kubiak’s part to come out and set the record straight among his players.

Still, it would have absolutely meant more to the players if Thomas, or any of his fellow captains, were the ones to call out his fellow offensive players in place of Kubiak, just like it would it have been better received if Sanders would have pulled his teammates aside on Monday and given them a piece of his mind in person, rather than from behind the screen of a cell phone.

Pundits have so widely perpetuated the idea that a competent quarterback would be able to exceed Peyton Manning's production on the field that they mistakenly glossed over the aspects that couldn’t be measured or quantified off the field.

VIDEO: Trevor Siemian: 'Nobody's Gonna Replace Peyton'

The admiration and respect Manning demanded from his peers in team meetings, the film room, and in the huddle helped keep people accountable. That isn’t a knock to Trevor Siemian, but it does highlight the leadership void that exists without the Sheriff.

At his peak, Manning was timeless and his teammates did the most to maximize their respective talents just keep up with the demands that he put on them, as well as himself. Even pushing 40 years old, Manning was greater than the sum of his parts and it showed even when his body started to fail him.

The defense and special teams aren’t exempt from their team's issues of late. Neither unit is currently playing particularly well. So often with players like David Bruton Jr., teams are forced to put a dollar sign on their value, without taking in to account what they bring to the team meeting room as well.

http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719480-kubiak-siemian-has-looked... The same can be said for outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who has still been serving as a defensive captain over the last month. But Ware can only do so much dressed in street clothes on the sidelines.

Rookies Justin Simmons and Will Parks have the potential to be every bit the players that Bruton was during his time in Denver and they will only continue to get better. But, as special teams captain, has Kayvon Webster seized the mantle of leadership?

Von Miller gets paid like a quarterback, but will his teammates defer to him when the sailing isn’t going so smoothly? In both cases, it doesn’t appear so.

The Broncos lost so much more than a quarterback when Peyton Manning retired. They lost a leader. When the crowds are booing and getting restless, or when the team comes out flat, that's when Manning's presence is missed the most.

Without a luminary like Manning in the lineup, the Broncos have turned into a rabble of children, running amok in the house with only the older siblings to get them under control.

The house hasn’t burned down yet, but with the leadership vacuum that has been left on this team, it could happen. GM John Elway has done a masterful job of keeping his nucleus together and managing the salary cap to keep this team competitive for the foreseeable future. 

Elway has replaced aging players with younger talent — at a better price — but he's struggled to find leaders who can be the rudder on this year’s team.

Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.

Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and on Facebook.

To get instant Broncos notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE


Mile High Huddle Top Stories