Broncos’ issues more than just QB play
Sunday’s trip to Philadelphia was largely forgettable for the Denver Broncos, especially their fans.
A 51-23 drubbing one week after making a change at quarterback from Trevor Siemian to Brock Osweiler leaves a air of doubt and hopelessness around the 2017 version of the Broncos. While the quarterback position continues to catch the most flak, there’s more to the 2017 struggles than just the signal caller, and that starts with head coach Vance Joseph.
Early on, the Broncos looked great under Joseph, defeating the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys in the first two weeks of the season before dropping a game on the road to the Buffalo Bills. Denver bounced back in Week 4 to top the Oakland Raiders at home to send them into the bye at 3-1. Things seemed great, but something happened during that bye week both on and off the field. Since then, the Broncos have been abysmal. Four straight losses leading up to Sunday night’s showdown with the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field likely means the Broncos will be a on five-game losing streak.
This is an undisciplined team that seems to be dealing with internal conflict, and that starts and ends with Joseph. I’m not sure he has the locker room right now, considering he took too long to pull the plug on Siemian as the starter. In fact, one defensive starter was going to request a trade if Siemian wasn’t removed from the starting QB position. Most defensive players have expressed their displeasure with the quarterback situation, but at the same time that they’re complaining about the offense, the defense has struggled as of late, and that was put on full display Sunday in Philadelphia.
Carson Wentz carved up the No Fly Zone, and guys like Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement ran all over them. Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson out-coached and out-schemed Joseph and his charges. That’s a serious indictment of bad coaching.
Now, defenders are still harping on about the decision to cut TJ Ward prior to the start of the season and how it’s affected their play defensively.
News flash: It isn’t. Justin Simmons is an upgrade right now. Plus, it’s Week 9; get over it.
That’s another strike against Joseph. He can’t get the team to focus on the task ahead, instead complaining about moves that have or haven’t been made. Then when you add in the fact that the game plan each week looks ridiculous, it’s hard to come to a general understanding as to how Joseph got the job.
I get that John Elway gets a lot of leeway in this region because of what he did for this franchise as a player, but he’s failed this current group since winning Super Bowl L. He mostly built that Super Bowl team thanks to free agency moves such as signing Aqib Talib, Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware and TJ Ward, but when it comes to drafting and developing, he’s mostly failed. He’s failing Joseph too, because this team on paper just doesn’t have depth all over. The defense has mostly covered for an atrocious offensive attack, starting with a porous offensive line and spreading to a thin receiving corps, a below-average running backs group and a CFL-worthy quarterbacks room.
I was a big believer in Siemian, and I was obviously wrong. But switching to Osweiler is a massive downgrade. Now, we’ll await bust Paxton Lynch to get healthy to see if he can play. Guess what? He can’t. He had two shots to win the starting job in camp the last two years and failed miserably. Time to move on.
If the defense can’t get back on track and start to carry the team again, this Broncos team might not win another game the rest of the year with the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins still on the schedule. None of those games will be anywhere close to easy, even though most were looked at as easy wins prior to the start of the year.
There’s certainly still talent within this Broncos group, but right now it looks like major changes need to happen this off-season, starting with the coaching staff and the quarterback. Just don’t blame the signal callers as the sole reason this team has derailed. There’s much more to it than that.