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Vance Joseph says defenses are forcing Broncos pass game to be effective

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

On film it is clear the Denver Broncos have a quarterback problem and its hampering everything they do. Head coach Vance Joseph did his best to defend Trevor Siemian on Wednesday by talking about how defenses are frustrating Siemian and the offense.

One rumor was added on Mile High Report and Twitter regarding a scout from the Los Angeles Chargers who noted that Siemian is tipping the defense to the play on every single snap. The local media must have caught wind of that, because Joseph was asked if the offense has been tipping the plays in game.

“No we’re not tipping plays,” Joseph said. “I thought in the games where our running game was really good we saw a lot of shell coverage and a lot of soft cover threes. Now teams have closed the middle, they’re making us block heavy fronts and they’re forcing our pass game to be effective.”

Joseph is blaming the lack of a run game on teams loading the box and daring Siemian to beat them over top. Emmanuel Sanders noted the same issues, but from a wide receivers perspective. Siemian isn’t able to anticipate the open receiver against zone coverages.

"Guys are getting open, they're not even playing us man [coverage],” Sanders said of the pass game. “So to say, 'Guys aren't getting open', you can't break it down like that. It wasn't man, it was zone. That's all about knowing the direction to go with the football."

Right now, Siemian doesn’t know where to go with the football against zone, which means he can’t read an NFL defense. But Joseph thinks this can be fixed.

“Again, I told you guys, I said eventually someone’s going to close the middle to make our pass game come alive, and that’s what’s happened,” Joseph said. “We have to first of all, with the run game, block the heavy fronts, block the eight-man fronts and its backs make the guys miss who unblock because it’s going to be one guy on block in the heavy front. In the pass game we have to be efficient. When they close the middle and play man-free or play cover three, we have to be efficient in the pass game. That hasn’t happened.”

The key, it appears, is for the Broncos offensive line to beat the heavy fronts and the running backs to break tackles, so Siemian can get some openings in the pass game. That sure doesn’t sound like a good plan.

The good news is that the coaching staff appears to be working with Siemian on his pocket awareness. Buying time could help him find the often wide open receivers out there.

“That’s every young quarterback,” Joseph said of working on correcting errors from Siemian. “He has to work on his feeling the pocket, where to slide, where to push and when to get down. At times knowing when the play’s over and throwing the football away. That’s part of his growth process. He’s being instructed on how to minimize the bad plays. That’s what he’s getting instructed on.”

There is a fine line between helping a quarterback figuring things out and overloading them too much. The last thing the Broncos will want is for Siemian to be overthinking everything he is doing on the field. That delayed reaction in the NFL will end up resulting in turnovers and sacks - lots of them.

That said, Joseph and the offensive coaching staff is clearly doing everything they can to salvage Siemian and the season. Time is running out for both. If the Broncos are sitting on another goose egg blowout loss at halftime on Monday against the Kansas City Chiefs, we could see Brock Osweiler make his glorious return to the lineup in the second half.

What a time to be alive!