Chargers defeat is final nail in Vance Joseph’s Broncos coffin

Broncos head coach Vance Joseph speaks to the media. Credit: Ryan Koenigsberg/BSN Denver

Another Denver Broncos game. Another defeat.

If there’s one saving grace, we won’t have to endure any more awful games for seven months.

Still hurting from seeing the Broncos put on a terrible display in a 23-9 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers, we rounded up Mark Tonge, Broncos Europe TV’s Colum Cronin and Broncoseurope.com columnist Kade Rucker to see where the Broncos stand after finishing the 2018 season with a 6-10 record.

Where did it go wrong this time?

Colum: Where didn’t it? To describe the Broncos performance as abject would be too kind. 

Kade: The defense seemed to do their part. The offense simply couldn’t match. No points from two turnovers is unacceptable and shows the major deficiencies the Broncos have on that side of the ball.

With Emmanuel Sanders and Phillip Lindsay hurt, they just didn’t have any sort of threat on offense. Case Keenum missed opportunities to connect with his receivers and also put them in dangerous positions to get hurt with poor ball placement.

Keenum’s struggles have made it difficult to do anything in the run game the past few weeks and, with Lindsay out, it was even more evident.

Mark: To be honest, starting with a failed onside kick didn’t exactly help matters. In a game where the defense played lights out football, it’s quite clear where it went wrong.

The offense couldn’t get going and was so predictable. Keenum is a better quarterback than constantly throwing it two yards to the sideline each play.

When the D is on the field as much as it was, it’s going to get tired. That’s what happened, they ran out of puff and, eventually, the Chargers cashed in.

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Which players impressed on another disappointing day?

Kade: Daesean Hamilton has been catching his stride over the past few weeks with Sanders out. He led the team in catches (5) and was tied for second in targets (8) against the Chargers. This is a good sign since the Broncos pass game has been subpar.

Mark: Colby Wadman impressed on another busy day for him. He’s consistently punting at a high level now, and we should be happy we’ve got him as our punter considering the number of times we need him.

Another who impressed was Isaac Yiadom. He’s had a tough time lately, but he managed to perform well against some decent Chargers receivers and even grabbed his first career interception.

Honorable mention goes to Shelby Harris, who once again showed why he’s an asset to the defense and needs to be given a new contract this offseason.

Colum: Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, Will Parks.

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Who receives pink slips during the offseason?

Colum: The three stooges: Vance Joseph, Bill Musgrave, and Joe Woods.

Joe Ellis is doing a truly terrible job as steward of the franchise but John Elway doesn’t get to hand him a pink slip.

On the playing side, there’s no desire to see Bradley Roby return. At 32, and coming off an Achilles injury, there must be serious question marks around Emmanuel Sanders. 

Mark: It’s going to be a new-look roster come next season, but we should say goodbye to Tramaine Brock, Shane Ray, Billy Turner, and Darian Stewart.

Kade: There are a lot of holes on this team, so it’s difficult to say “X player has to go” when there’s no viable replacement.

Obviously, Bradley Roby has not lived up to expectations, but he could come back on a reduced contract, especially if the Broncos are able to draft a cornerback like LSU’s Greedy Williams in the first round. This would allow Roby to go back to being the CB3 where he succeeded in the past couple of years.

Darian Stewart could find himself looking for work next year with Will Parks finally taking advantage of regular playing time.

Other players like guard Max Garcia and wide receiver Jordan Taylor may have a hard time sticking on the roster as well.

It could be a very different looking roster come 2019.

Mike McCarthy and Chuck Pagano have been linked with the Broncos head coach vacancy

What are the Broncos’ early priorities before the new league year starts in March 2019?

Colum: Fire Vance Joseph. Hire a competent head coach. Allow that head coach to bring in new offensive and defensive coordinators.

Try to resolve the ownership issue. (If only.)

Kade: Coaching. They need to figure out a long-term solution at the head coach position as well as offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.

VJ and crew just couldn’t get it done this week and lacked consistency from week to week with play calling and personnel.

The next step needs to be another draft like 2018. The Broncos hit on a lot of their draft picks and even found the crown jewel of the UDFAs with Phillip Lindsay.

Another draft like that and the Broncos will have a solid foundation for years to come.

With the lack of depth at quarterback in the draft this year, the Broncos shouldn’t reach for someone in the early rounds but could look at drafting someone in a later round to challenge Keenum for the starting job or at least be a potential development player without the pressure of being a high draft pick.

Keenum didn’t cut it, but his contract guarantees his spot on the roster in 2019.

For more reaction to Sunday’s game and the future of the coaches in Denver, subscribe to Broncos Europe TV on YouTube.

About Paul Thomas 198 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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