Broncos lows at the 2018 bye week

Part two of our roundtable looks back on the first nine weeks of the 2018 season

Head coach Vance Joseph at Broncos training camp. Credit: Ryan Koenigsberg/BSN Denver

With the Denver Broncos on a bye in week 10 and no real desire to rewatch games from this season, we asked some of our contributors to assess the Broncos’ 3-6 record, what they’re hoping to see in the final seven weeks of 2018, and what 2019 and beyond should bring.

This is part two of our roundtable featuring Broncos Europe TV’s Michael McQuaid and Colum Cronin, and columnist Kade Rucker.

Biggest disappointment of the 2018 season so far?

Kade: Most people might say Case Keenum, and rightly so. He was given a good contract to get the Broncos back on track because he had a good 2017 season. He hasn’t lived up to that but has shown improvement over the past few weeks. But the Broncos’ coaching staff has to be the biggest disappointment of 2018.

In Vance Joseph’s second year he has not shown any capability of adjusting to the game and raising the play of his team. He has failed to help this team form an identity, which shows on Sundays with sporadic play calling, lack of consistently utilizing the top playmakers, and putting his team in poor position to win the game.

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods still hasn’t caught up to the speed of the game, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is too stubborn to adjust the offense to fit Keenum’s strengths.

John Elway has faced criticism for supporting his guy Vance Joseph. Credit: Ryan Koenigsberg, BSN Denver

Michael: There have been so many disappointments this season, but the one that stands out above the rest is the clear lack of leadership throughout the franchise.

Off the field, there is no stadium sponsor and no clear succession plan, while on the field the defense and the offense just aren’t playing well together.

This relates to the management of the team, where the biggest disappointment has been Vance Joseph.

How on earth has he survived this long? It seems like Brexit will happen before Joseph will leave. It’s a disaster. 

Colum: The Broncos behavior in the Demaryius Thomas trade. The trade itself can be justified, but the conduct of the front office and coaching staff cannot be.

Lies and deceit only sow discord in a locker room; the Broncos should have told DT that they weren’t only open to offers but were actively shopping him around the league.

Pat Bowlen’s absence due to illness was evident in the treatment of a Broncos’ stalwart; it simply would not have happened on his watch.

Denver pays tribute to Demaryius Thomas after trading him to Houston. Credit: Kyle Rickert

What is the Broncos’ biggest mistake so far?

Michael: Not firing Vance Joseph after the demolition from the New York Jets. At this point, the team had two games until a bye week and still a shot at saving the season.

Joe Ellis and John Elway decided to sit back and do nothing. Even a temporary fix could have sorted this issue, perhaps by firing Joseph and bringing in Gary Kubiak for the short term, but the Broncos front office made their bed — now they must lie in it. 

The Broncos haevn’t played to Case Keenum’s strengths in 2018. Credit: Ryan Koenigsberg/BSN Denver

Kade: Not adjusting to the team’s strengths. The talent on this team is good enough to be better than their 3-6 record.

Keenum thrives in play action and bootlegs outside of the pocket, yet the majority of plays has Keenum standing in the pocket relying on his shoddy offensive line to protect him.

The defense has struggled in zone coverage this year yet that seems to be Woods’ only way to call the defense. This has resulted in missed assignments and blown coverage on a regular basis.

Again, both of these failures falls on the coaches.

Colum: Retaining Vance Joseph at the end of last season and not firing him after that historically poor loss to the Jets this year.

Joseph is an albatross around the franchise’s neck. When he’s not embarrassing us on the field with head-scratching decisions and poor coaching, he’s embarrassing us off it whenever he opens his mouth; “we just have to coach better” is this season’s “a great week of practice”.

A coach who finds a new way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory almost every week.

Part three of our roundtable, looking at the rest of the 2018 season, will be online on Wednesday morning.

About Paul Thomas 170 Articles
Paul is one of Broncos Europe's main contributors, based in London, England. When not providing us with the latest Denver Broncos news, he can be found in a sports bar watching any sport. A long-time Broncos fan, he tries to forget many of the bad pre-Manning years.

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