The Broncos enter the Jarrett Stidham era after announcing that Russell Wilson has been benched. Stick here for live updates and analysis as Denver takes on the Chargers at Empower Field at Mile High.
Scouting report (11:21 a.m.): Check out how the Broncos match up with the Chargers in Ryan McFadden’s scouting report.
Parker Gabriel, beat writer: Broncos 24, Chargers 23
A Jarrett Stidham win? A Jarrett Stidham win. Remember, the Chargers are starting Easton Stick and have an interim coach and general manager. Nobody in this game’s got much to lose. If Denver gets a win, maybe a bunch of other games fall their way, too. Let’s get weird.
Ryan McFadden, beat writer: Broncos 27, Chargers 20
In the battle of backup quarterbacks, Jarrett Stidham will come out on top. The Chargers have one of the worst passing defenses in the league and Stidham has a chance to put up impressive numbers in his first start with the Broncos. My crystal ball also tells me wide receiver Jerry Jeudy will have a big game.
Mark Kiszla, columnist: Chargers 20, Broncos 10
Sean Payton insists the change at quarterback is all about winning. How many players in the Denver locker room truly believe Jarrett Stidham gives the team a better chance to beat the Chargers than Russell Wilson? We’re fixing to find out.
Matt Schubert, sports editor: Broncos 23, Chargers 20
So many of my preseason predictions were off, but the one that’s felt right from the start? An 8-9 campaign for the Broncos in their first year under Sean Payton. That means splitting the next two games vs. the Chargers and at Las Vegas. It says here that this weekend’s game is the most winnable of the two — even with the quarterback change.
Broncos-Chargers NFL Week 17: Must-reads
How a particular Sean Payton-Russell Wilson sore spot highlights unbridgeable gap between coach and benched quarterback
Payton and Wilson are opposites in personality and preferred play style. Payton runs hot, believes in the efficacy of confrontation and the power of exacting play design. Wilson is Mr. Neutral, hardly ever utters a controversial word, and has made himself one of the most decorated players of the past decade in the NFL by coloring outside the lines.
Payton is free-wheeling and unafraid of putting his foot in his mouth, then loses his mind about the width of wide receiver splits, sure 6 inches make the difference between getting jammed and a 60-yard touchdown. Wilson is polished and rehearsed to an eye-glazing degree 164.5 hours per week and a purveyor of improvisation the other 3.5.
The off-field differences might have been bridgeable. Payton showed signs almost immediately that the on-field gap was not, Parker Gabriel reports. Read the full story.
Kiszla: With good riddance to Mr. Let’s Ride, who can end Broncos’ long nightmare at quarterback?
After paying mightily through their sniveling noses to end the Russell Wilson error, the Broncos will now gamble on the cheap that the Jarrett Stidham era will make it all better.
Well, good riddance to Mr. Let’s Ride. But your beloved local NFL team is right back where it has spent most of the last eight seasons, as a league laughingstock.
Whether the mess in Denver’s offensive huddle has been operated by Trevor Siemian, Joe Flacco or Drew Lock, the only thing for certain during the Broncos’ long playoff drought is the next answer at quarterback is not for long, Mark Kiszla writes. Read the full column.
Broncos’ Russell Wilson hopes to stay in Denver despite being benched: “I hope that it’s here for a long time”
Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson is unsure what the future holds for him after getting benched this week. But he told reporters on Friday afternoon that he hopes he remains in the Mile High City.
“I hope that it’s here for a long time. I hope to win more (trophies) in the front hall (at Centura Health Training Center) and get some more championships. If it’s not here, then I’m prepared to do that somewhere else,” Wilson said. “But I hope that it’s here, and I genuinely mean that. … I brought my family here.”
Wilson said he was surprised and disappointed about head coach Sean Payton’s decision to move forward with Jarrett Stidham as the starting quarterback for the final two games.
He believed the team had something special going, even after losing two in a row to drop to 7-8, Ryan McFadden reports. Read the full story.
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