Fant on Broncos offense: ‘Put up or shut up’

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In the wake of Sunday’s 27-point loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that dropped the Denver Broncos offense to 28th in the league and the team to 2-4, Broncos tight end Noah Fant said it’s time for the offense to “put up or shut up” about its potential.

“I don’t have bad attitude about it right? But I’m definitely not happy with the results that we have right now, right? It’s unacceptable,” Fant said Tuesday. “We want to be better than what we’re doing … you look at the numbers and we’re not living up to our potential and we have so much ability, so much talent on the offensive side of the ball, and we have to figure out how to make these things work.

“I’m still positive about it, but at some point it’s like, put up or shut up, and buckle down and get these things going.”

The Broncos have a first-year starter at quarterback in Drew Lock; wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) is on injured reserve; and running back Phillip Lindsay has missed three games as well as the second half in two others with injuries. But Sunday’s loss made it clear the growing pains on offense are a big part of the team’s stumble out of the gate.

The Broncos held the Chiefs to 286 total yards, 0-for-7 on third down, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes had just 15 completions, only one longer than 22 yards. But Lock threw a pick-six, Melvin Gordon fumbled twice and the Broncos surrendered a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

With Lock having missed two games and most of a third with a shoulder injury, the Broncos have started three different quarterbacks and have finished with 254 or fewer passing yards in four games, have thrown nine interceptions in the past four games combined and have just six touchdown passes all season.

Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Monday that the struggles were “an 11-man operation.”

“As far as the passing game goes … hopefully everybody is able to get involved,” Fant said. “Like Coach said, I think it’s a little bit of everybody, right? We all have to take responsibility, we all have to figure out exactly what’s going on and come up with a solution.”

Defensive players such as defensive end Shelby Harris and linebacker Bradley Chubb showed plenty of frustration on the bench and after the game.

“There was definitely words said in the locker room after the game,” Fant said. “I’m not going to go into detail, that stays in the locker room, but they have every right to be frustrated and upset. … I put a lot of the load on us; Kansas City had one of the most powerful offenses, one of the most high-octane offenses in the league, right? And they were holding them to field goals, getting three-and-outs on them, all these things, and we’re not really living up to our ability on offense. If I was in a defensive player’s position, I would feel the exact same way. Those guys have every right to be heated and upset.”

Lock echoed those thoughts Sunday night.

“They have the credibility and the right to do it in this locker room,” Lock said. “They have a right to express their feelings without a doubt; they have the right to tell someone straight to their face, You need to pick your s— up. And if they were to come up and tell me that, I wouldn’t mind.”

Chubb, who said he was expressing much of his frustration after Mahomes threw his only touchdown pass of the game to Tyreek Hill in the fourth quarter, said he sees a young team trying to find its way.

“I’m trying to be one of those guys changing this losing we’ve had the last couple years,” Chubb said. “I have to be one of those who steps up and gets animated and shows people how much this really means to me, how much I care.

“Drew Lock, man, he’s one of the greatest kids you’ll ever meet, he goes out there with passion. … I know he’s going to change it around, I know the offensive linemen are going to continue to block their asses off, I know the receivers are going to catch those 50-50 balls — I know it, I believe it.”

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