Last season saw the Denver Broncos become one of those rare teams to miss out on the playoffs less than a calendar year after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
There’s many different reason for the Broncos’ struggles. Following Peyton Manning’s retirement, the likes of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch struggled under center. Injuries ravaged the team’s backfield with running back C.J. Anderson missing more than half the season.
Defensively, the Broncos were still elite. But it wasn’t the dominant unit we saw treat Cam Newton like a play toy in Super Bowl 50.
For linebacker Brandon Marshall, there’s something else we should look at when determining why Denver struggled to a 9-7 record and a third-place finish in the AFC West.
“I wouldn’t blame it on one specific thing,” Marshall said, via Pro Football Talk. “I think there were some distractions and maybe a Super Bowl lull. At the end of the day, nobody cares about that. All they care about is, did you make plays or not? And I didn’t. I want to reverse that this year.”
It’s interesting in that the Carolina Panthers also suffered a Super Bowl lull after falling to Denver in football’s biggest game. Newton and Co. would go on to finish last season with a 6-10 mark and in last place in the NFC South.
But can we really point to a lull as one of the reasons these two teams struggled in 2016? That seems to be a bit absurd, especially with how much they dominated the previous year.
With that said, Marshall seems to be taking a lot of blame for his team’s lack of success last season.
“It kind of sat on me,” Marshall said. “I had a bad feeling. I had a bad taste in my mouth all of last year. Even during the season, I was like, ‘I’m not making any plays. I’m not making plays.’ It just felt weird. I wanted to do something about that. I plan to have a complete opposite season. I plan to make all the plays.”
Marshall himself recorded just 52 tackles in 11 games while dealing with injuries. He wasn’t the same type of player who put in a Pro Bowl-caliber performance during the Broncos’ championship season back in 2015.
It remains to be seen whether Denver can rebound following last season’s disappointing performance. But at the very least, core members of the team are taking a long look at what transpired. That can’t be seen as a bad thing.