The crucial Texans game came and went and with it, the Broncos playoff chances. But not their head coach. So far, we have no word out of Dove Valley as to whether or not Vance Joseph will remain as the coach for the second half of the season and for VJ, no news is good news. I’ve defended the position of a new NFL head coach and I stand by my philosophy. Basically, give the guy 2 seasons. Has Joseph given us any reason to believe he can be a successful coach? No, not really. He struggles with clock management, misses on most of his crucial decisions and seems to lack a quality that inspires a football team. That being said, there’s no reason to fire him at this point in time.
Typically, if a team decides to fire a young head coach in their second season, they do it with a game or two remaining, have a young coordinator they’d like to see step up for future consideration, or they are getting worse. There’s 7 games left and they aren’t mathematically out of anything, they have Bill Musgrave, Joe Woods and Tom McMahon as coordinators (hardly candidates for the next head coach), and despite public opinion, the Broncos are not any worse than week 1. I’d say they are actually improving every week.
So why would you fire VJ? Musgrave won’t be the next HC and certainly not Woods. Those Bronco fans that think Denver should try to win games couldn’t possibly believe anyone on staff would be better than Joseph, could they? And those fans wanting Denver to tank, well, they are already on that path as the schedule still has Pittsburgh and 2 Chargers games ahead. Face it, the situation at hand simply doesn’t warrant a mid-season coaching change.
How did we even get to this point? Arguing over when and when not to fire a coach or make a big time trade. Who’s really to blame here? Joseph? Keenum? Woods? Musgrave? Right now it’s a good mix of everything but the man who put it all together, the same man responsible for all 3 of Denver’s SB titles, should get the majority of the blame. It was just a few years ago when John Elway was praised as being the guy who landed Manning, built a leagues best defense and brought back the winning attitude Broncos fans missed during the McDaniels era. Now? Since winning SB 50, his teams are 9-7, 5-11 and currently 3-6. His Qb’s have been miss after miss after miss and his recent free agent pick up of Case Keenum is a far cry from when #18 put on the orange and blue. And now, save for a miraculous finish to the season, he’s staring down another coaching change.
Yes, John Elway created this mess but I’m here to tell you it’s not all bad. Just this year we are seeing what looks to be his best draft class since taking control. Chubb is a monster, Sutton will easily replace DT’s production and your 2 rookie running backs, Freeman and Lyndsey, could be super star backs one day. But Bronco fans have no interest in looking to the future. Not when most of them have never witnessed 2 losing seasons in a row. Not when one of those promising young players ISN’T a quarterback. And certainly not when you have a coach that has completely lost the support of the fans. Yes, post Manning has proved to be a disaster and it was Elway’s decisions that slowly chipped away at everything he helped build starting clear back in the Tebow days. But did we expect the Duke to be perfect? Sure, he said his goal was to make sure Denver was competing for a title every year but they all say that. It’s unreasonable to assume every year will be 12-4, AFC West champ, first round bye and a shot at the title.
Yes, this season being what it is and the fact it’s following a 5 win season is bad. It’s really bad. But is it fixable? Half of Broncos Country wants Elway gone, wants to trade the stars in Sanders, Miller and Marshall and essentially wash away any and all remnants from 2015. That’s extreme. You have a solid foundation in Miller, Harris Jr. and Sanders. You have 4 outstanding rookies. When was the last time you could say 4 rookies have a legitimate shot at being a star? I know the sky seems to be falling during the bye week and I don’t blame any fan for feeling that way. But try to take a step back. The rebuild is happening right before our eyes. It’s just masked as a team trying to win games. With or without VJ, the rest of 2018 and the future doesn’t look as bad as it seems. Find a QB (easier said than done) or hope Keenum starts performing, retool that defensive backfield and keep stitching an offensive line together and you might see a fairly short turnaround. But, then again, patience in Denver has never been a strong suit…at least when it comes to the Broncos.