ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – They are words that, in many ways, cut the deepest in an NFL locker room.
It's right there with “pay cut," but drop “scared" or “intimidated" into the conversation and it usually gets the hornets buzzing. Sure, it’s only mid-July, with plenty of football miles to go before everything is decided for the 2014 season, but Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner had a tidy little lapel grab for the Denver Broncos on Tuesday.
Wagner, in a turn on ESPN’s “First Take," said the Broncos “looked scared out there" in the Seahawks’ 43-8 victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. Wagner said “nobody wanted to catch the ball." Wagner added the Broncos were “timid."
Ah, to which Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, a vigorous participant in the social-media world, offered up on Twitter:
I welcome all the Seahawks players and fans to dwell on last year. We reloading and we ready for war. #snodaaaaaat
— Terrance Knighton (@MrKnighton2u) July 15, 2014
Broncos Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, a noted talker of trash in his playing days – his National Guard phone call is in the sideline-smack Hall of Fame – was making his usual rounds on Twitter as well when he answered a fan’s question with:
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) July 15, 2014
That they do -- it is one of the many privileges of the ring, especially one won by five touchdowns. And having authored one of the biggest blowout losses in Super Bowl history, the Broncos can’t really offer much more to the discussion other than the proverbial "worst time to have a bad day" lament.
Now, it is true when you talk to folks around the league – players, coaches and personnel executives – they use words like “finesse" when they speak of the Broncos offense in particular. There is a great deal of respect and admiration for what the Broncos did in 2013 as they became the league’s first team to score at least 600 points in a season, but offensively the Broncos are perceived as a finesse team, even in a pass-first league, and that the finesse approach didn’t get it done in the game that mattered the most, right from the bad snap on their offense's first play from scrimmage.
The Broncos will argue the finesse point to be sure, and coincidentally will get the chance to argue it quite often in the coming season. As it happens, their schedule rotation has them facing the NFC West this season, so they will face the Seahawks on Sept. 21 in Seattle and the 49ers will come to Denver in October, as do the Cardinals. The Broncos will play at St. Louis in November.
Denver also has its first two preseason games against the Seahawks – Aug. 7 in Denver – and the 49ers – Aug. 17 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
And if the Broncos are already sick of listening to all of the theories as to why the Super Bowl crumbled around them they way it did, they should take heart that only seven months will pass until they will get another chance. But it might come up once or twice again before that.