CBS mock draft has Broncos taking QB Daniel Jones

CBS mocks have Broncos taking QB Daniel Jones

Some Denver Broncos fans might have an eye or two on the NFL playoffs this month, but here we’re keeping one eye on who will deny Tom Brady another ring and one eye on who the Broncos should draft in April.

The perennial draft question for the Broncos is will John Elway finally find their new franchise quarterback?

He’s tried a few times and failed.

Meanwhile AFC West rivals Kansas City traded up in the first round in 2017 and landed their guy Patrick Mahomes, Houston traded up to grab former Clemson star DeSean Watson, and the Baltimore Ravens traded back into the first round in 2018 to land their guy in Lamar Jackson.

All three were players the Broncos could have drafted, but didn’t.

Of course, the last time Elway traded up in the first round to get his quarterback was in 2016. We all know how Paxton Lynch worked out.

So will Elway pull the trigger in 2019 after admitting that current starter Case Keenum is “a short-term fix”?

CBS sports writer Ryan Wilson has the Broncos drafting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones 10th overall with Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins already off the board.

CBS writer Chris Trapasso also has the Broncos taking Jones 10th overall.

The old joke is that Elway likes big, athletic quarterbacks. It didn’t work out with Lynch, or 2012 second-round pick Brock Osweiler, but Jones could be the next athletic quarterback gamble the Broncos could take.

The big difference, however, could be that Jones has been coached by David Cutcliffe, who also coached Peyton Manning and brother Eli.

Jones isn’t a finished article but could learn a lot from Keenum and new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who worked with quarterbacks in San Francisco.

Here’s what Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told ESPNU radio host Mark Packer after watching the Jones for the first time ahead of Clemson’s game with Duke in Death Valley last November.

“We have not played Duke since 2012 and we have not had a lot of crossover tape with Duke, so I put the tape in and I usually start from their last game and I go from there,” Swinney said.

“But I am watching this Duke-North Carolina game, and I could not believe what I was seeing.

“This kid was unbelievable. This kid is huge. First of all, he is a 6-5, 220-pound quarterback, but he rushed for 186 yards.

“I’m talking a 72-yard run, 50-yard run, and he is pulling away from guys. He is not explosive latterly, but when he gets going, this guy can leave you. He has legit track speed straight ahead.”

Daniel Jones is a big-bodied, dual-threat quarterback that could tempt John Elway

While Jones set the Duke single-game rushing record in the 42-35 win over rivals North Carolina, his passing has also impressed throughout the season.

“He is incredibly accurate. He is very strong-armed,” Swinney added. “I just kept watching him and kept watching him, and I am like, ‘Oh my Lord!’

“He is very knowledgeable and is obviously very well coached with [head coach David Cutcliffe]. He is a pro. He is going to be a high pick in the draft for sure.

“I did not know a whole lot about him prior to our preparation for him, but I tell you what, he got my attention really quick, and he got our team’s attention.

“This is a very talented quarterback with good veteran receivers and good tight ends, and they have an excellent scheme that features him. Everything goes through the quarterback.”

Our friends at Pro Football Focus aren’t as impressed as Clemson’s head coach.

“The 2019 draft class is a decidedly weak quarterback class and when that’s the case, an off-the-wall name always seems to get first-round hype at some point in the process,” said PFF’s Michael Renner.

“It looks as if Jones will be that guy this year. The Duke quarterback’s 79.7 passing grade this season represents a monstrous jump over his 2017 campaign where he earned a 57.8 passing grade, but he simply hasn’t had enough special throws down the field to warrant the hype.

“Jones’ 13 big-time throws this season rank 71st in the country, and he has almost as many turnover-worthy plays (11) as he does big-time throws.”

Pro Football Focus labeled Jones as overrated despite his rise up their draft board in 2018.

Jones had a solid, if unspectacular, 2018 season for the Blue Devils and, after declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft, accepted an invitation to be one of eight quarterbacks at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile on January 26.

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden will coach Jones and fellow first-round prospect Drew Lock as part of the North team against Kyle Shanahan’s South team.

If he shines in Mobile and at the NFL Combine, Jones could certainly find several suitors when the 2019 NFL Draft rolls into Nashville in April.

Broncos’ 2018 rookie class jersey numbers revealed

First-round pick Bradley Chubb will wear #55 as was widely rumoured after the Denver Broncos selected the NC State defensive end with the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft last month.

Chubb isn’t the only first-round pick to have worn the number. DJ Williams, who was drafted 17th overall in the 2005 draft, switched to the number after his rookie season.

Before Williams, linebacker and special teamer Rick Dennison, an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State, wore #55 between 1982 and 1990, appearing in three Super Bowls.

While some players could — or will have to — change numbers before the final 53 is confirmed by September 1, other notable names and numbers include Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli taking #84, formerly worn by fellow tight end Shannon Sharpe as he set numerous records and won two Super Bowls with the Broncos in the 1990s.

Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell will wear #47, made famous by safety John Lynch between 2004 and 2007, and running back Gerald Willhite between 1982 and 1988.

Second-round pick Courtland Sutton takes the #14 jersey perhaps best known as being the number of quarterback Brian Griese from 1998-2002 or wide receiver Brandon Stokley 2007-09.

It was also worn by offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave during his time as John Elway’s backup from 1995-96.

Fans with Brock Osweiler jerseys should be in the market for a new nameplate after fourth-round wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton picked up #17.

The Broncos’ 18-strong rookie class will take part in a three-day rookie minicamp at UC Health Training Center this weekend, that also serves as an orientation and a chance to take the field in Broncos jerseys for the first time.

Also in for the on-field workouts will be nine first-year eligible players, including last year’s draft picks Jake Butt and Chad Kelly, who missed all of 2017 rehabbing injuries sustained in college.

Former Washington State wide receiver River Cracraft, Danish offensive tackle Andreas Knappe, and longsnapper Christian Kuntz are also among the players taking the field.

Draft picks

OLB Bradley Chubb – 55
WR Courtland Sutton – 14
RB Royce Freeman – 37
CB Isaac Yiadom – 41
LB Josey Jewell – 47
WR DaeSean Hamilton – 17
TE Troy Fumagalli – 84
OL Sam Jones – 70
LB Keishawn Bierria – 40
RB David Williams – 36

Undrafted free agents

RB Phillip Lindsay – 2
DB Trey Marshall – 3
WR John Diarse – 9
OLB Jeff Holland – 46
OT Leon Johnson – 63
OG Austin Schlottmann – 71
NT Lowell Lotulelei – 78
WR Jimmy Williams – 85

Broncos release CJ Anderson

The Denver Broncos have finally parted ways with veteran running back CJ Anderson on the day they began voluntary workouts ahead of the 2018 season.

Rumors had been rife throughout the offseason that the 27-year-old could be on his way out, and the team was shopping him.

One proposed trade with the Miami Dolphins for right tackle Ja’Wuan James fell through before the Broncos traded with Arizona for Jared Veldheer, but with no trade partner likely, the team has decided to move on.

The Broncos save $4.5 million for each of the next two seasons with no dead money from Anderson’s four-year $18m contract signed in 2016 when the Broncos matched an offer sheet from Miami.

Anderson confirmed on Twitter that the Broncos made no offer to renegotiate his contract.

Anderson later thanked Broncos and fans for their support for an undrafted Californian kid during “an amazing five years” and he is excited for the next chapter in his NFL career.

In confirming Anderson’s release, Broncos president of football operations and general manager John Elway described Anderson as an “important members of the team” and paid tribute to his many contributions on and off the field.

The Broncos signed Anderson as an undrafted free agent out of Cal in 2013 and he helped the team reach Super Bowl 48 in his rookie season.

While Anderson was often maligned as an average running back, he was seen as an extra set of eyes for quarterbacks as he honed his ability to read defenses during the Peyton Manning years, and was vital in supporting backup quarterback Brock Osweiler while Manning was injured in 2015.

Anderson was hot at the end of the 2014 season, scoring eight touchdowns in eight games and was selected to the Pro Bowl, while he also played a pivotal role in the Broncos’ march to winning Super Bowl 50, including a pair of touchdowns as he went off against New England in a 30-24 overtime win.

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Injury limited his 2016 season to just seven appearances, but Anderson bounced back in 2017 to post his maiden 1,000-yard season, despite scoring the fewest touchdowns since his rookie season.

Anderson was graded sixth overall among running backs by PFF, ahead of Le’Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliott and Super Bowl winner Jay Ajayi, and had the second-best pass block grade behind Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray.

From his five years in Broncos Country, Anderson rushed for 3,051 yards from 693 attempts with a 4.4-yard average, and 20 touchdowns, as well as weighing in with eight receiving touchdowns.

His release leaves the Broncos with big questions 10 days before the 2018 NFL Draft that boasts a deep running back class.

Devontae Booker, who was initially listed as co-number one running back with Anderson last season before a wrist injury kept him out for the start of the season, projects to be the starter, while De’Angelo Henderson, who was drafted in the sixth-round in 2017, is the only other running back on the roster.

Anderson is expected to command plenty of interest in free agency, including from the Dolphins, whose head coach is former Broncos quarterbacks coach Adam Gase, while Eric Studesville — Anderson’s running backs coach in Denver — is now in Miami after leaving the Broncos in January.

Reports: QB Case Keenum intends to sign with the Broncos

Case Keenum will sign with the Denver Broncos when the 2018 NFL season begins on Wednesday.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the 30-year old free agent quarterback is the Broncos’ preferred choice as they overhaul their QB room, despite a free agency market that includes Kirk Cousins, who is expected to land in Minnesota, and Drew Brees, who is expected to stay in New Orleans.

The Broncos were believed to be among the contenders to land Cousins, whose contract is expected to reset the bar for top-tier quarterbacks, but the Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala tweeted that Keenum was their guy, not the former Washington Redskins QB.

An undrafted free agent out of Houston signed by Broncos senior personnel advisor and former head coach Gary Kubiak during his time at the Texans, Keenum will arrive in Denver off the back of a stellar single season in Minnesota, where he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game.

Minnesota went 11-3 with Keenum at the helm after Sam Bradford went down early in the season, putting up 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Keenum is 20-18 as a starter through his two stints in Houston and St Louis/Los Angeles, and Minnesota, with his two playoff starts coming in January 2018 with the Vikings.

It remains to be seen if the Broncos will use the fifth overall pick to draft a quarterback after former picks Brock Osweiler (2012), Trevor Siemian (2015), and Paxton Lynch (2016) all struggled to 5-11 last season, while among the worst teams in turnovers.

Osweiler is a free agent this summer, while Siemian has one year left on his rookie deal, but his future with the team remains up in the air.

President of football operations/general manager John Elway confirmed at the NFL Scouting Combine that Lynch will return, while Chad Kelly, the 2017 draft’s Mr Irrelevant, will get a chance to show Broncos Country what he can do after sitting out his rookie season with injuries.

Watch Case Keenum throw the Minneapolis Miracle pass in the NFC Divisional Round against New Orleans.

2017 Review: Coaches, quarterbacks, rookies all disappoint as losing football returns to Denver

Initial expectations

On the 5280 Podcast during training camp and preseason, we had talking heads from Denver’s sports media predict everything between 6-10 and 10-6. Some had us as playoff contenders, others had us missing out altogether.

The spectrum showed that, as talented as this team was on paper, the only consensus was that we didn’t know what this team would be capable of with a new coaching staff, and the strongest strength of schedule in 2017.

Being optimistic, we settled on 10-6, which would have been an improvement on 2016, and a return to playoff contention. How wrong we were!

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Rookies

The 2017 rookie class has been another abysmal affair for the Broncos with injuries and poor decision-making plaguing most of the youngsters drafted.

Michigan tight end Jake Butt and Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly saw no action at all, while Louisana Tech wide receiver Carlos Henderson, who was projected to play in the slot, wasn’t seen after a preseason injury.

Georgia wide receiver/punt returner Isaiah McKenzie has been a bust so far. Half a dozen muffed punts, and taking it upon himself to go infield rather than out of bounds with no time outs and the clock running out on the first half against Washington in week 16 was another infuriating moment.

He was benched twice and should have remained inactive despite injuries to Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer. Tim Patrick or River Cracraft — both have been given futures contracts — off the practice squad should have been given a chance on offense late in the season.

Whether McKenzie returns in 2018 remains to be seen as Vance Joseph also gets a second chance in Denver.

Running back De’Angelo Henderson, who many tipped to rise up the depth chart after a promising preseason, has seen little action behind CJ Anderson and Devontae Booker.

Since Booker returned from injury, Henderson has been a regular inactive on game day, with Jamaal Charles being the regularly underused third running back.

Considering the Broncos have been handicapped at wide receiver for much for the season with injuries to Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer, the absence of Henderson’s pass-catching ability is a poor reflection on the coaching staff, and Henderson gave Broncos Country a timely reminder of his ability with a majestic 29-yard receiving touchdown on a screen play against Kansas City in week 17.

On defense, Lamar cornerback Brendan Langley was active for 11 games, but offered little in terms of production. Was given a working over by the Oakland Raiders in week 12, when he saw more game time after Aqib Talib was ejected, but his biggest contribution has been on special teams, with six kick returns going for 183 yards, all averaging more than 20+ yards and a long of 61.

The Broncos can’t work out what to do with defensive end/linebacker DeMarcus Walker, who has been another regular on the inactive list. Has seen some rotational action, but has largely been a disappointment as a second-round pick although not necessarily his fault.

The one shining light from this year’s class has been Utah tackle Garett Bolles, who won the starting left tackle job and has been solid for the most part, despite being one of the most-penalised players in the league this season.

There are obvious growing pains, and one of his problems has been the glut of holding penalties he was known for in college, but he’s been solid and done well considering he was going up against some of the league’s best edge rushers.

Notably, he outperformed and outlasted right tackle Menelik Watson, who finished the season on injured reserve.

Aside from Bolles, and very briefly Henderson, it was another disappointing draft class for John Elway and friends in the front office with fans having to wait again to see if the new recruits break out in year two.

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Coaching

Was there anything to be pleased about from rookie head coach Vance Joseph or his assistants this 5-11 season?

It’s fair to say that the coaching at times this season has left a lot to be desired. For the most part it has been awful.

Despite the promising start to the season, with Joseph “having the time of his life” on the sidelines in the opening last-gasp win over the Los Angeles Chargers to the thrilling annihilation of Dallas in week two, it was a fairly inauspicious to the Joseph era.

The eight-game losing streak after starting 3-1 solidified the opinion for many that Joseph is not head coach material.

Miami Dolphins fans insist he wasn’t a great defensive coordinator from his time there in 2016 — they ranked 26th in overall defense — which begs the question what on earth does Elway see in him that no other general manager does, and why does he deserve a second season in Denver?

Teams weren’t exactly lining up to interview Joseph for head coach in 2017 — or in 2015 when Elway wanted him while he was in Cincinnati — unlike now-San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

The back-to-back wins that ended the crushing losing streak might, just might, have been a factor in saving Joseph from the axe after one season, but it’s difficult to feel good about that for the future of the team.

That most of the players came out and backed the coach was likely a big part in Elway standing behind the guy he brought in.

Yes, the quarterback situation has been a disaster from day one and there should be some mitigation there, the offensive line was the fourth worst in the league in 2017, but the coaching wasn’t great, and the buck should stop with Joseph, this supposed “leader of men”.

How can we trust him to turn it around just because there’s a new quarterback in place for 2018?

Joseph has consistently reeled off the same lines about practice being great, everyone doing fine, trusting the process, and that’s without the talk of not making changes because of two-score games or, in stating the obvious, that everyone has to coach better, play better.

He gave multiple chances to McKenzie only for that to blow up in his face.

The decision to keep Joseph in Denver hasn’t gone down too well with a large number of fans.

Special teams coordinator Brock Olivo has a clear passion for the game, but whatever he did with special teams didn’t translate on the field, especially when it came to the coverage and return game.

It’s amazing that McKenzie took so long to learn when to fair catch the ball. That’s fundamental for a returner and that’s on the coach, and the player. Olivo was lucky to still be in Denver in week 17.

The fact he’s a first-year coordinator probably meant he got a pass from the team, but it was no surprise to see him shown the door at the end of the season.

Bill Musgrave is a man with potential. Lauded for his role in transforming Derek Carr into a franchise quarterback in Oakland, he did improve the offense in a limited capacity since taking over the reins from Mike McCoy after most of the damage was done.

The less said about the offensive performances under McCoy the better. Like many, we were guilty of buying into the notion that he would return the Broncos to being the high-scoring team it was during Peyton Manning’s early years in Denver.

It’s easy to see that Musgrave could create an offensive scheme that would suit Heisman winner Baker Mayfield should the Broncos draft him in 2018, but he should also be able to craft a scheme that would suit seasoned veterans such as Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith should they be in Broncos colours next season, and it makes sense he was given the coordinator role on a full-time basis.

For all the talk that the promotion of Joe Woods from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator wouldn’t been much of a change in the defense following the loss of Wade Phillips, we saw it only in patches because of how often the offense turned the ball over.

The problem with stats is they can often mask problems: The Broncos finished 2017 ranked third in total defense (290 YPG), fourth in passing (200.6) and fifth in rushing (89.4), but were also 23rd in total points allowed (23.9 pts/game) and 28th for receiving touchdowns allowed (29).

Yes, it was year one for many of these coaches, but the roster was talented enough to be a playoff team. The fact that the head coach remains as well as the offensive and defensive coordinators doesn’t sit well so soon after a disappointing season.

They just about deserve the chance to turn it around, but further failures won’t be accepted. He remains on thin ice going into 2018 and might not see out the season if we see the sort of results through the middle of 2017.

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Quarterbacks

Team Trevor, Team Paxton, Team Brock, Team Kyle, Team Swag. Almost every fan had a favourite Broncos quarterback at the start of the season. None of them really delivered.

We loved what we saw from rookie Kyle Sloter in preseason, wish he would have stayed in Denver, and begrudgingly accepted his decision to secure his financial future in quarterback-rich Minnesota, but he was never going to start unless we got really desperate.

It would have been nice to see what Kelly could have done for the Broncos, and he might still get a chance during the offseason after sitting out his rookie year with injuries.

Trevor Siemian was the best of an inexperienced group in preseason and rightly deserved to be named starter ahead of Paxton Lynch, but it would have been interesting to see what could have happened had Brock Osweiler been in Denver during training camp.

The early signs were promising for Siemian, notably after that performance against Dallas, but it proved to be an outlier. Just as the big performance Siemian had against Cincinnati in 2016, it showed he’s capable of doing it, but not consistently enough, and after some tenderising from defensive linemen, and some niggling injuries, he falls apart.

The poor offensive line hasn’t helped, but that’s when quarterbacks really show what they’re capable of. Kirk Cousins was pretty useful in Washington despite a glut of injuries to his offensive line, while Russell Wilson was still handy for the Seahawks, and rookie DeShaun Watson was lighting it up before tearing his ACL despite the poor offensive line in Houston.

Unfortunately for Siemian, he’s probably a backup quarterback at best. Still, he and Osweiler were outplayed by many other backups this season, notably Case Keenum in Minnesota and even the much-travelled Josh McCown for the New York Jets.

With Lynch out, the Broncos should have moved to Osweiler long before he was given the reins for the Philadelphia blowout defeat. That’s on the coaches.

Osweiler has shown since his return that he offers a lot more. More comfortable going downfield, a bit more mobile although not as mobile as Lynch, and more passionate leadership, even if his teammates aren’t always paying attention on the sidelines.

That’s not to say Osweiler is the answer. In his brief outings, Lynch hasn’t exactly lit it up either. All three quarterbacks to play this season had problems with ball security and poor decision-making. Which of them comes back in 2018?

It’s not unfair to say the Broncos’ franchise quarterback was not on the 2017 roster based on what we’ve seen, and we wait to see which of them return in 2018 and who arrives at Dove Valley in the coming months.

Early expectations for 2018

It’s too early to say what the Broncos will look like in 2018 and futile to go into expectation detail until the quarterback situation is known, then which of the veterans are returning, and how the team performs in the draft, which hasn’t been great in recent seasons.

Joseph’s return as head coach isn’t overly popular, but we’ll give him a chance to turn it around. He might be one of the nicest guys in the world, but has looked too clueless too often to consider him a decent — never mind elite — head coach.

It could be weeks or months before the quarterback situation is clear as offers are made on veterans and the 2018 NFL Draft takes place at the end of April. Instead, here’s what should happen.

Those players brought back — there are more than a dozen free agents across the team this offseason — get a clean slate. Same for the rookies and the practice squad guys, who didn’t get much of a look in towards the end of 2017.

The big question is how the Broncos front office balances the books to free up cap space for a franchise quarterback when Von Miller is already receiving that money, and resign key players including Bradley Roby, Matt Paradis and Shaq Barrett.

Aqib Talib, Darian Stewart, Demaryius Thomas, Sanders and CJ Anderson all have contracts that can be renegotiated or traded away. If two, or more, are willing to take team-friendly deals, the Broncos need to keep them.

In terms of quarterback, it’s hard to disagree that the Broncos should throw the chequebook at Cousins if Washington doesn’t slap him with the franchise tag for a third season.

He might never come close to equalling Manning’s overall success, but Cousins is the best quarterback potentially available and will be around for a good while yet.

There is a growing respect for Keenum and what he’s been able to do in Minnesota this season, but he hasn’t done it multiple seasons.

If Smith is out of Kansas City, he’d be a good short-term option, but that probably means drafting a quarterback in 2018. If the Broncos get Cousins, there isn’t that strong need to draft a quarterback in the first round, which will allow the team to deal with deficiencies on the offensive line or inside linebacker.

The Broncos drafted Jay Cutler, Tim Tebow and Lynch in the first round. None of those were the answer. Given the quarterbacks Elway has drafted during his time as general manager, confidence isn’t high he’ll get the right guy this time around.

Joseph talked of a reboot when he became head coach almost a year ago, but with some familiar faces expected to leave during the offseason it still feels like a team in rebuild mode rather than transition.

Elway has been lucky before with quick fixes keeping fans largely happy, but it can’t be understated that the Broncos aren’t immune to needing a few years to rebuild. The history shows that. Veteran Broncos fans will remember the barren years.

More recently, the Broncos had just two winning seasons between 2006 and 2011, five of those years were without playoff football, and that streak was broken in 2011 as they scraped an 8-8 record to finish top of the AFC West. Then came the Manning years.

In a competitive AFC West, the Broncos have to keep moving forward. The Los Angeles Chargers showed this year that they are a team capable of winning and aren’t far off having a great team. Kansas City has back-to-back AFC West titles, a quarterback of the future, and a raft of young talent that is already delivering, while Oakland has their franchise quarterback and seems set to lure Jon Gruden back as their head coach.

With the divisional rivals so strong, there is no guarantee that next season will see a return to winning football, which at the very least means returning to the playoffs, and 2018 could be as difficult as 2017 if the right pieces don’t fall into place.

This article was originally published by our friends at Gridiron & Gravy – the NFL community for the north.

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Vance Joseph remains Denver Broncos head coach, Olivo fired

Vance Joseph remains in charge of the Denver Broncos despite leading the team to its worst finish since 2010.

The rookie head coach could only muster five wins in his first season in charge and was reportedly on his way out after one year, but taking a night to sleep on what to do after seeing the Broncos lose 27-24 in the final game of the season general manager John Elway is sticking by the guy only he seemed interested in making a head coach last season.

“Vance and I had a great talk this morning about our plan to attack this offseason and get better as a team,” Elway said on Twitter.

“We believe in Vance as our head coach. Together, we’ll put in the work to improve in all areas and win in 2018.”

With a quarterback carousel that saw the Broncos use Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, it was a rocky road for the team that included an eight-game losing streak, a shutout, several blowout and double-digit defeats.

Joseph will get the chance to show that he can turn things around and the Broncos will draft at number five overall at the 2018 NFL Draft in April.

Elway is expected to make a splash during the offseason to get the franchise quarterback the team has lacked since Peyton Manning retired after winning Super Bowl 50.

That puts into doubt the futures of all three quarterbacks on the roster in 2017 with Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins top of the shopping list if the Redskins don’t hit him with the franchise tag for a third straight season, and if the Broncos can find the cap space to accommodate his mega salary.

While not perfect, the offense looked better when Bill Musgrave was promoted to offensive coordinator following the departure of Mike McCoy, and Musgrave remains in the role in 2018.

However, other coaches aren’t so lucky as the Broncos part ways with long-time running backs coach Eric Studesville, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, and linebackers coach Fred Pagac.

Special teams coordinator Brock Olivo is the biggest casualty of the Broncos’ post-season purge after just one season in which the unit struggled for much of the season, saw punt returner Isaiah McKenzie benched, gave up multiple big plays, and placekicker Brandon McManus miss several makable kicks.

Elway is expected to meet with the media on Tuesday.

In other moves, the Broncos signed all 10 of their practice squad players from week 17 to future contracts, and they will added to the roster when the league year begins on March 14.

Week 17: Broncos announce Paxton Lynch will start against Kansas City

Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph confirmed Tuesday that second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch will start in the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.

While many fans have already made up their mind about the 2016 first-round pick, the Broncos coaches are prepared to give Lynch a fourth chance in a meaningful game to show he can he the long-term answer at quarterback.

“The plan is to play Paxton,” Joseph said in his Tuesday press conference.

“That was kind of the plan last week if he was healthy enough to play, so this week that’s the plan to play Paxton.

“He wasn’t quite ready to go last week, so hopefully he’s ready to go this week. That’s the plan, to start Paxton this week.”

Despite two quarterback competitions since he was drafted, the Memphis alumnus has failed to beat out Trevor Siemian, who could have played his last game for the Broncos after a disappointing season ended with him going to injured reserve with another shoulder injury.

Lynch could follow him if he doesn’t put up the game of his life against the AFC West champions as the clamour for a franchise quarterback continues to ramp up in Denver, but Joseph doesn’t see this as a last chance for Lynch to prove himself.

“We simply want to see this guy play,” he said.

“He had one start this year where he played two and a half, almost three quarters, so we want to see him play. He hadn’t played much as a Bronco and it’s simple guys. We want to see him play. Very simple.”

His lack of game time this season has been due to getting injured at the wrong time — in preseason against Green Bay (shoulder), which kept him out until the Broncos benched Brock Osweiler after week 11, and against Oakland.

Lynch was expected to start last week in Washington, but despite splitting reps with Osweiler in practice and supposedly being at 90 per cent, the head coach determined Lynch wasn’t healthy enough to start.

“We want to see him play,” Joseph added. “That’s been the plan the last couple of weeks and that hadn’t happened, so we want to see him play live bullets in a football game.

“Our first goal is to win a football game, obviously, but again with it being a quarterback issue going into the offseason we want to see him play to see what this player is.

“I’m not saying if he’s playing we can’t win, but he’s going to be our quarterback. We expect to win.”

Lynch’s elevation to the starter role has never been on merit, but either necessity when Siemian was injured, or to see what he can do, which hasn’t been much when it matters.

The 23-year-old is 1-2 in regular season games since making his first start against Atlanta in week five in 2016.

Although he helped the Broncos defeat Tampa Bay when he came in for the injured Siemian in week four last season, his only win was on the road against Jacksonville in week 13 when the Broncos struggled to a 20-10 win, with Lynch going 12-24 for 104 yards no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Lynch’s only other start came in the week 12 defeat in Oakland last month when he went 9-14 for 41 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception with the Broncos trailing 21-0 before suffering the high ankle sprain in the third quarter that has ruled him out since.

The circumstances against Kansas City should at least be favourable for Lynch. A home game with nothing on the line other than his future in Denver against a team expected to rest some of its star names ahead of the wildcard round of the playoffs.

In other news, Joseph said wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is day-to-day with the right ankle injury that has plagued him for much of the season and ruled him out of last week’s defeat in Washington.

Cody Latimer is still sore with a thigh bruise, while defensive end Zach Kerr has a right ankle sprain.

Week 17: Paxton Lynch expected to start against Kansas City in season finale

Paxton Lynch will probably start at quarterback for the Denver Broncos against Kansas City on New Year’s Eve.

Head coach Vance Joseph reiterated that the team wants to see him play before the end of the season, and if healthy he is expected to replace Brock Osweiler

“Our goal is to see him play. Absolutely,” Joseph said.

“If he’s ready to go next week, he’ll probably play for us. Absolutely.”

Lynch, whose only start of the season was in the week 12 defeat at Oakland before being knocked out in the third quarter with a high ankle sprain, was expected to start against Washington, but the Broncos went with Osweiler.

Osweiler struggled in the Broncos’ 27-11 defeat at FedEx Field and looks set to revert back to being the Broncos’ backup behind Lynch as the team tries to evaluate whether Lynch can  be a long-term solution for them.

Week 16: Broncos 11-27 Redskins highlights

The Washington Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos 27-11 in the Kirk Cousins Bowl at FedEx field.

Cousins threw for 299 yards, three TDs and one interception in the day as Broncos fans as the Broncos returned to their mid-season form.

CJ Anderson had another solid day, putting up 88 yards as he closes in on 1,000 yards on the season.

Week 16: Michael Spencer recaps the Broncos’ defeat to Washington

CBS Denver anchor Michael Spencer recaps the Denver Broncos’ 27-11 defeat to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Christmas Eve,

The defeat snaps a two-game win streak and sees the Broncos fall to 5-10 on the season ahead of their week 17 game against Kansas City, when the AFC West champions come to Mile High.

With all eyes on Kirk Cousins, the Redskins quarterback didn’t disappoint as he threw for 299 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

There wasn’t a lot to cheer about for Broncos fans, but CJ Anderson ran for 88 yards as he closes in on his maiden 1,000-yard season, and the running back also caught the Broncos’ only touchdown pass and the resulting two-point conversion.

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Week 16: Brock Osweiler expected to start against Washington

Brock Osweiler is expected start for the Denver Broncos at quarterback in their Christmas Eve clash with the Washington Redskins.

While the news hasn’t been made official by the team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Legwold reported the decision after speaking to league sources.

The Broncos had been hoping to give second-year QB Paxton Lynch some much-needed game time after he missed most of the season recovering from a shoulder injury, but the 2016 first-round pick hasn’t fully recovered from the high ankle sprain that knocked him out of his only start against Oakland in week 12.

Lynch returned to practice Wednesday, and took equal reps with Osweiler in practice, with the Broncos prepared to start him in the final two games as they evaluate whether he has a long-term future in Denver, but was listed as limited Friday and questionable to play.

It means a return to the starting lineup for Osweiler, who overturned a 10-0 deficit to lead the Broncos to a 25-13 victory against Indianapolis last Thursday after he came in for the injured Trevor Siemian.

Osweiler produced one of his best performances in the NFL with a passer rating of 147.7 as he went 12 of 17 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, in addition to a first-half rushing touchdown.

With Siemian now on injured reserve and no other quarterbacks on the roster, Lynch should be the backup in Landover with wide receiver Jordan Taylor again serving as the emergency backup.

While the Broncos will hope they don’t have to use Lynch or Taylor, they were further hampered on offense after receivers Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and Cody Latimer (thigh) were ruled out on Saturday.

The Broncos will likely carry just four receivers with Demaryius Thomas, Jordan Taylor, Bennie Fowler III, and Isaiah McKenzie, who has been inactive since losing the punt return job, while rookie running back De’Angelo Henderson could see some work in the slot.

Week 16: Brandon Perna predicts Broncos at Washington

The 5-9 Denver Broncos will play the 6-8 Washington Redskins this week in a game where John Elway will be evaluating quarterback Kirk Cousins very closely.

Assuming Washington doesn’t slap the franchise tag on Cousins for a 3rd straight year, Denver will be in competition to land the QB.

Elway was also at the Potato Bowl in Boise today evaluating Wyoming QB Josh Allen.

It appears that Brock Osweiler will be starting for Denver, but even that isn’t clear. Paxton Lynch needs to be evaluated, was a full participant in Friday’s practice, but is listed as questionable to play.

Washington has 20 players on IR, and had a very long list on the injury report.

An interesting matchup may be Josh Norman on Demaryius Thomas. A couple big games for DT, could bode well for his future in Denver.

Let’s just hope Von Miller and company take it easy on Cousins this NFL Sunday.

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Week 16: Romi Bean talks QBs ahead of Broncos-Redskins

CBS Denver’s Romi Bean takes a look at the intriguing situations with quarterbacks ahead of the Denver Broncos’ trip east to take on the Washington Redskins in Landover.

The penultimate game of the season is largely meaningless with both teams already eliminated from the playoffs, but there is still plenty to keep fans interested as the Broncos look to win three in a row for the first time since week three of the 2016 season.

The Broncos still haven’t made a decision on whether to start Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch.

Despite being a full participant in practice Friday, Lynch was listed as questionable on the final injury report.

Regardless of who starts for the Broncos, all eyes will be on Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who could find himself playing in Denver in 2018.

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Week 16: “Trying to stay positive” – Lynch on return to practice

Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch insists he has tried to stay positive despite a series of setbacks this season.

Lynch missed most of his second season because of a shoulder injury he picked up in preseason, then sprained his ankle on his first start of the regular season in week 12.

He admits he was frustrated by the injury on his comeback against Oakland that ultimately ended in defeat and was hurting mentally as well as physically in the days that followed.

The Broncos coaching staff have not named their starting quarterback for Sunday’s trip to Washington as they continue to evaluate whether Lynch will be able to play.

Lynch split reps with Osweiler in Wednesday practice, but was officially listed as limited on the injury report.

All signs point to Lynch starting, despite Brock Osweiler coming off the bench to lead the Broncos to a 25-13 win in Indianapolis last Thursday.

If Lynch plays, Osweiler will continue as the backup with Trevor Siemian moved to injured reserve, while Jordan Taylor is expected to continue as the emergency quarterback.

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Week 16: Morning Minute discuss Broncos starting quarterbacks

TJ Carpenter and Shawn Drotar from Mile High Sports’ Morning Drive show look ahead to the Denver Broncos’ intriguing matchup with the Washington Redskins with quarterbacks top of the talking points.

While the Broncos coaches dither over whether to start veteran Brock Osweiler – who has played the best football this season of the three quarterbacks on the roster – or second-year pro Paxon Lynch, the focus has been on Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins and whether he will play in orange and blue next season.

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Week 16: No decision on Broncos quarterback against Washington

Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said a decision on the team’s starting quarterback has not been made.

Joseph and the offensive coaches are deliberating between Brock Osweiler – who led the team to victory after coming in for the injured Trevor Siemain in Indianapolis last week – or Paxton Lynch.

Making his first start in 2017 in the week 12 defeat to Oakland, Lynch had a poor day before suffering a high ankle sprain in the third quarter.

The second-year quarterback returned to practice Wednesday and took equal snaps with Osweiler, who has been the best quarterback on the roster this season.

Joseph admitted earlier this week that “winning is [the team’s] first priority”, but they want to get a look at Lynch in games.

Time is running out before a crucial offseason for the Broncos to evaluate Lynch, who has failed to develop into the starter the team expected he could be when they took him in the first round of the 2016 draft..

The Broncos have been heavily linked with a move for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, as well as taking another quarterback in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft in April.

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Week 16: “Winning is our first priority” – Vance Joseph

Vance Joseph said Monday that the Denver Broncos’ priority is their first priority despite the expectation that the team will turn to second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch against Washington Redskins.

Brock Osweiler led the NFL in passer rating in week 15 after he came in for the injured Trevor Siemian late in the first quarter against Indianapolis, and overturned a 10-0 deficit into a 25-13 win, but the Broncos want to evaluate Lynch to see if he has a future with the team.

Joseph added that they want to see Lynch play in games if he is healthy, and will have discussions with the offensive coaches to decide on the best course of action.

Joseph also conceded that it is big for the team if running back CJ Anderson and Demaryius Thomas achieve 1,000-yard seasons, and it might factor into the decision-making process as the Broncos work out which quarterback will start in the final two games.

Lynch has been cleared and is expected to return to practice on Wednesday.

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Phil Milani (@philmilani)
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Week 15: Trevor Siemian on IR, Broncos down to two quarterbacks

Trevor Siemian’s disappointing season is over after the Denver Broncos placed him on injured reserve with his latest shoulder injury.

Despite playing arguably his best game of football in the 25-13 win over Indianapolis on Thursday, Brock Osweiler could remain the backup with Paxton Lynch thrown in as starter as the Broncos continue to give the second-year quarterback a chance to prove he can be an asset to the team.

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Lynch replaced Osweiler as the Broncos’ starter in week 12 at Oakland, going 9-14 for 41 yards, an interception, and no scoring drives before suffering a high ankle sprain in the third quarter, prompting a return to Siemian, who then led the Broncos to two scoring drives as they tried to come back from 21-0 down.

Despite completing 64.3 per cent of his passes, Lynch was underwhelming under center in his only start of 2017, was sacked four times, and failed to lead a scoring drive while achieving just two first downs.

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The Broncos have not announced a move to bring in a third quarterback, and do not have a quarterback on their practice squad with Chad Kelly’s injury ruling him out of his rookie season.

Former Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner and former Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt both worked out with the team earlier this month

The undrafted duo were with the Vikings during the summer, but were waived after a few weeks.

Week 15: Morning Minute reviews Broncos’ win over Colts

Nate Lundy, Shawn Drotár and TJ Carpenter give their thoughts after the Denver Broncos defeated the Indianapolis Colts 25-13 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It was the first win for the Broncos this season when trailing at the half as Brock Osweiler – in for the injured Trevor Siemian – gave fans plenty to cheer with a rushing touchdown and two pinpoint touchdowns with no turnovers.

The offensive line looked good, providing plenty of holes for CJ Anderson and Devontae Booker to pick up yards at will on the dismal Colts defense.

With Siemian expected to miss the final two games of the season with a fragile left shoulder, the big question now is do the Broncos continue to ride Osweiler or throw Paxton Lynch in if he healthy?

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Week 15: Romi Bean’s Broncos recap after second win in a week

CBS Denver’s Romi Bean breaks down the Broncos’ 25-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.

Back-to-back wins off the back of an eight-game losing streak sees the Broncos move to 5-9 on the season with two games remaining.

 

There were notable impressive performances from backup quarterback Brock Osweiler, offensive lineman Connor McGovern, running backs CJ Anderson (30 carries for 158 yards) and Devontae Booker (11 carries for 39 yards), who powered the Broncos to more than 450 yards of offense for the first time this season.

Up next for the Broncos is a road trip against Washington on Christmas Eve.

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