It’s not about just winning “now”, but “winning from now on.” Since John Elway rejoined the Denver Broncos in 2011 in a front office position, elevating himself to Executive VP of Football Operations just a year after back up with the organization, the Denver Broncos have gone an astounding 67-29, with five playoff appearances, two Super Bowl appearances, and one Super Bowl Victory.
In his tenure making personnel decisions for the organization, Elway has helped establish a culture that doesn’t sacrifice the long-term success of the team for short-term gains. Whether it be moving on from former multi-time division winning head coach John Fox, or letting key contributing members of the team walk in free agency, Elway has a direction and a plan for the team and is unwilling to compromise the organization's’ future for potential momentary gains.
Does Tony Romo Fit the Mold?
If Elway’s main goal is setting up the team for success not just now, but in the coming years, why would he pursue an aged veteran quarterback who might not even hit the free agent market. While it is true that Tony Romo has been an excellent statistical quarterback during his years thrilling for the Dallas Cowboys, the 36, soon to be 37, year old quarterback is a few seasons removed not only from playing quality football, but playing at all.
The last few years in Dallas have been no picnic for the former undrafted quarterback from Eastern Illinois. Whether it be the most recent back injury, a shoulder injury, or a broken collarbone, Romo has had his fair share of serious dings and bruises that have caused him to miss a substantial amount of time.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1681565-5-reasons-you-should-go-p... With that said, when Romo is healthy and on the field, he is one of the better quarterbacks in all of football. In 2014, which was his last fully healthy season playing in Dallas, Romo was able to complete an outstanding 70 percent completion percentage, at a clip of 247 yards per game, 8.5 yards per attempt, a 113.2 passer rating, and a QBR of 83.62. By all accounts, this was Romo’s best year statistically speaking for the Dallas Cowboys.
If the Elway was able to acquire a healthy 2014 version of Romo to captain the sputtering offense and pair him with the outstanding defense lead by the No Fly Zone, the roster would be talented and scary enough to have Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots shivering in their boots whilst they sip on Sam Adams and eat 'lobstah', as one would assume all those from New England regularly do.
However, there is absolutely no guarantee that Romo can put up another season like 2014, let alone stay healthy through an entire season and postseason, which is not full of glorious memories for Romo as well. If Elway were serious when he said it wasn’t just about winning now, but winning from now on, why would he invest in such an aged quarterback with an alarming injury history? The answer is twofold.
Elway the Gambler
First, Elway is a gambler. It was a gamble letting Russell Okung walk this offseason, knowing fully well how poor the free agent and draft class was in terms of immediate contributors at left tackle. It was a gamble letting Brock Osweiler, Danny Trevathan , and Malik Jackson walk last offseason, leaving the team with the infamous Mark Sanchez , a rookie first round but raw rookie in Paxton Lynch, and a dark horse former seventh round pick Trevor Siemian battling for the starting quarterback position.
It was a gamble to let the stable yet unspectacular John Fox walk after a disappointing playoff loss against the Indianapolis Colts for not establishing a ‘kicking and screaming mentality’ into the team.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1763959-where-can-the-broncos-get...Elway’s biggest gamble so far, and arguably his most impactful move during non-player career in Dove Valley was obtaining the legendary Peyton Manning to come lead the Broncos’ offense despite coming off of a frightening neck surgery that would take would take strenuous rehabilitation and training for Manning to even gain feeling in his fingers and throw a football again, let alone take a hit from a charging 300-plus pound lineman.
In end, Elway doesn’t mind gambling because, simply put, most of the time he wins.
Grooming a Quarterback the Old Fashioned Way
The second reason why obtaining Romo may be seen as not just winning now, but winning from now on is simple: neither of the team's current quarterbacks are capable of leading the team to where Elway thinks and expects them to go.
With the roster the way it is currently constructed, with a revamped heavier and more powerful offensive line, arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL in Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, and what is still the best defense in football, this team has a chance to be right back in the conversation for the Super Bowl next season.
Furthermore, Paxton Lynch is simply not ready yet. From a technical standpoint, while videos of the former first round quarterback training is fun to hear about and watch, the best way to judge a young talent is to put on the film.
This past season, Lynch struggled mightily with his throwing mechanics, footwork, and mental processing. While the frame and arm strength paired with solid athleticism are tantalizing, it takes so much more than physical tools to play quarterback in the NFL at a high level.
When Lynch was drafted, it was known that he was going to be a multi-year project, given how raw he was as a prospect and transitioning from a simple spread offense on a non-power five school in Memphis to the NFL. Until he shows it with the bullets flying, one cannot claim Lynch is ready or not to take the reigns.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1763665-where-will-the-broncos-go...Furthermore, and perhaps the most alarming, are the recent comments coming out of different sources in Dove Valley regarding Lynch. Questions about Lynch’s intelligence in grasping the playbook, maturity, and work ethic have arisen that would make anyone concerned about the current trajectory of the former first round pick and the Broncos offense. W
ith some suggesting the Lynch is not the “first guy in, last guy out” type and “would rather play his Xbox than watch film,” Lynch is going to need some work and tutoring if he is ever going to fulfill his tantalizing potential.
While it would be ignorant to once again count out Trevor Siemian in taking charge in the quarterback battle and winning the starting spot outright like he did last season, all comments and actions coming out of Dove Valley point towards Elway and the team doing everything in their power to make sure their hand-selected first round quarterback is given every chance to grow into a franchise player.
Instead of another offseason battling against a number of different quarterbacks for starting reps, perhaps that would be most beneficial for the team and the growth of Lynch as a quarterback would be to obtain a veteran quarterback to lead the way for a few years. One whom can show Lynch day in and day out the work that it takes to be a starter in today's NFL. One that could show Lynch the intricacies and nuances that goes into the day-to-day grind of being 'the man'. Perhaps, someone like Tony Romo
Elway Will Bet on Himself
Obtaining Tony Romo to start the 2017 season for the Denver Broncos is no doubt a giant risk given his current injury history and the violent nature of football, it is just as risky to waste another season of the Broncos’ incredible defense and in their prime dynamic duo of Sanders and Thomas. Furthermore, Lynch could absolutely use a veteran leader to mimic, learn, and grow behind as he is given the old fashioned treatment of slowly earning his starting quarterback spot.
Football itself is a game of chance, and every season is a torn ACL, or bad call, or missed assignment away from being another that doesn’t end in the ultimate goal, holding the Lombardi Trophy. Romo may be the most unpredictable bet Elway has made so far, but Elway is a gambler and with the current level of success he’s had in Denver, he’s gambling with house money. Romo is worth the risk, but he may just help the Broncos win now and from now on.
Nick Kendell is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle with a focus on the NFL Draft. Follow them on Twitter @NickKendellMHH.
Subscribe to Huddle Up on iTunes and follow on Twitter @MileHighHuddle.