A Broncos repeat, regrettably, is not in the cards

Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez takes part in drills during the team's NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 8, 2016 in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez takes part in drills during the team's NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 8, 2016 in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Credit: David Zalubowski

Credit: David Zalubowski

At a whine-and-cheese party the other night a married couple politely introduced themselves, and the wife abruptly asked: "Who's going to be our starting quarterback?"

I replied: "Fine, thank you ... Mark Sanchez."

He said: "Oh, God, no."

She said: "He's not very good. We want a great quarterback who can lead us to another Super Bowl championship this season."

I said: "Please don't be so greedy, ma'am. Enjoy what happened. The Broncos got a championship. Let somebody else win this season, like, oh, Cincinnati or Jacksonville."

They harrumphed and stomped away with their chardonnay.

Elderly English theorist Mick Jagger explained that "you can't always get what you want."

Sorry to ruin the disheartened couple's lives, and be the bearer of bad tidings on the first day in this space, but, as an intimate witness of 43 Broncos' training camps, I resolutely believe 'We' won't repeat as Super Bowl champs.

Yes, the Broncos possess one of the paramount defenses since sliced bread and pro football were introduced in the 1920s. Yes, the son of a Bum, Wade Phillips, is back to coach Orange Crush 16, and Super Bowl MVP and "Dancing with the Stars" delight Von Miller, who has been on a barnstorming tour of the country that the Rolling Stones would envy, returns with a contract that matches the annual GNP of Kazakhstan.

I don't want to rain on a parade that attracted closer to 200,000, in reality, than the million people a civic flunky imagined to downtown Denver six months ago.

But ...

Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan, vital members of the defense, have gone away. Aqib Talib has gone from Pro Bowl shutdown corner to shut-up, shot-down defensive back and could miss sections of the season. DeMarcus Ware is back with a bad back. Will Miller do a Demaryius Thomas (of last year)? The revised offensive line continues to be dubious.

The AFC West no longer is a feeble division the Broncos can rock 'n roll through. The Kansas Chiefs are formidable, and the Oakland Raiders are vastly improving, and the lovely and charming Mr. Rivers remains with the San Diego Chargers.

This schedule is made of hard bark and iron pants. There are no directional schools and soup cans. The Carolina Panthers and Cam-Bam Newton will be somewhat peeved, don't you think, coming to the Dusty Old Cowtown for the Thursday night opener. The Indianapolis Colts in the second home game and the first trip, to Cincinnati, won't be bargains.

At the bye Sunday on Nov. 20, the Broncos actually could be 5-5.

That's when I'm predicting a quarterback change.

And Peyton Manning ain't coming out of his bathrobe and retirement.

The Broncos finish with the New England Patriots, the Chiefs and the Raiders, and they really may be finished.

The wise guys in Las Vegas have listed the Broncos' over-under on victories at 9.

I think 10-6, although I wouldn't bet on it (or anything else in sports).

Fact: Magnificent defensive teams that win Super Bowls don't duplicate.

The 1985 Chicago Bears were considered to own the best defense ever. In 1986 they lost in the playoffs. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens had a 10-6 record the next year and were beaten in the second round of the postseason. The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who demolished Oakland in the Super Bowl, dropped off the edge of the Earth. The 1986 New York Giants whipped Denver in the Super Bowl and fell to 8-8 in '87. And the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers didn't make the playoffs in 2009.

Sure, those Seattle Seahawks who bamboozled the Broncos _ "This one's for the john", I wrote _ did return to the Super Bowl, but did lose at the end to New England.

You have to go back before the salary-cap era began in 1994 to the 1970s Steel Curtain and the Miami Dolphins of 1972-73 to distinguish repeat champions with extraordinary defenses.

And there is the curious matter of the Broncos quarterbacks.

The lady was right. Sanchez is not very good. In his 43 starts the past four seasons, Sanchez lost 23 games. He has won more than eight games once in six seasons. In his career Off-The-Mark Sanchez has thrown 86 touchdown passes, 84 interceptions. He has a career QB rating of 74.3.

Sanchez' chicken shtick is suddenly supposed to be chicken salad?

My appraisal after watching training camp the past week is: Sanchez looked like a backup.

Sanchez will start the season. He won't complete it.

Trevor Siemian, hand-chosen by Kubiak, has no genuine experience with the business end of his right arm, and doesn't act like a captain on the field. Fledgling Paxton Lynch is the future, not the present. He seems lost. But both Siemian and Lynch will be on the field sometime this season.

Neither Brock Osweiler nor Colin Kaepernick would have led the Broncos to the Super Bowl, either. It would take the "great quarterback" the woman wanted. Even aged quarterbacks John Elway and Peyton Manning were magical quarterbacks and great leaders of men.

Regrettably, Broncos' fanatics and romantics will not get what they want, but they may get what they need _ a stimulating season.