Breaking News
More () »

Broncos lose cool while losing big

Dustups between teammates Brett Rypien and Dalton Risner, Randy Gregory and Rams' guard Oday Oboushi take frustration to another level.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — There is losing in humiliation fashion, which can happen to the best of them. See the record-setting 2013 Broncos in Super Bowl 48.

And there is losing your heads, which only seems to happen to the worst of them. See the 2022 Broncos as they were getting pummeled 51-14 by the Los Angeles Rams in a standalone, nationally televised Christmas Day game.

After one failed Broncos' offensive possession, Broncos' backup quarterback Brett Rypien came to the defense of his besieged, battered and beleaguered fellow quarterback Russell Wilson. Rypien moved over to the bench area where the offense was gathering and said something that upset left guard Dalton Risner.

Risner snapped, and the two got into a heated exchange in front of camera’s view while a fan's cellphone caught Risner using his left hand to shove Rypien back. That brought in running back Latavius Murray, who halted Risner with a one-hand push.

At that point, Risner settled down, as Cam Fleming stepped in to help hold back his fellow blocker back while rookie Montrell Washington stepped in front of Rypien.

Despite appearances of dissension among the ranks, both said afterward it was nothing other than a moment of frustration between friends.

Credit: Associated Press
Dalton Risner, left, and Brett Rypien

“First off, it’s brotherly love,’’ Risner told 9NEWS in the locker room. “I’ve got so much respect for Ryp. He let our offensive line know that we need to pick up Russell Wilson when he goes down. And it’s the middle of the game, it’s heated. I didn’t really hear what he said. I thought he was talking about us giving up sacks.

“Me and him exchanged some words, and (Murray) broke us up, and five minutes later, me and him were hugging. I told him, ‘Hey, I think your message was good, I misunderstood you.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I shouldn’t have came at you that way. Should have been different timing.'

“You know, so things happen when you’re frustrated and you’re competitors and you want to win," Risner said. "We have nothing but love for each other.”

Rypien agreed.

“It was just miscommunication,’’ he said. “Dalton and I are really good friends. He thought I said something else.’’

Another sign that coach Nathaniel Hackett's team has lost control was the actions of edge rusher Randy Gregory.

Gregory was cleared to play after a pregame workout audition, even though he didn't practice during the week because of discomfort in his surgically repaired knee. He drew an unsportsmanlike penalty following a Rams touchdown, a roughing the passer penalty seemingly out of frustration that helped lead to a Rams touchdown, then threw a punch at Rams right guard Oday Oboushi during the postgame handshake gathering. Oboushi threw a punch back.

"If you want to know if I hit him in the mouth, I did,'' Gregory said as he walked through reporters who had gathered around him for comment. "And I got one back."

Gregory and Oday were both suspended without pay for one game, the NFL ruled on Monday.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett talks with linebacker Randy Gregory (5) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

One source said Oboushi had been provoking Gregory with personal comments about his past. Gregory played only 11 of 65 snaps, so Oboushi was effective in knocking the edge rusher off his game. And it always seems to be the retaliation that draws punitive judgment.

“Everybody's frustrated,'' Hackett said. "That was a bad game, embarrassing game. That's the first one that we had like that, and I know everybody's frustrated. We address it. We've talked about all those things. Talked with Randy, talked with all those guys, and we can't show our frustration. We got to take our frustrations out on the field the right way. But that's going to happen.''


Before You Leave, Check This Out