Early on, the Denver Broncos looked like they showed up to work to play some football. With the crowd electric and rowdy, the defense forced a three and out to open things up against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Then Isaiah committed his fifth fumble of the season on the ensuing punt and the game was over at that point. What can we learn from yet another blowout loss? A lot, actually. Most of it a cold, hard dose of reality for those fans who were still clinging to hope heading into this game.
1. Vance Joseph is not a good head coach.
We began to see the beginnings of the end for Vance Joseph during his handling of the quarterback situation. The delayed decision that should have come at halftime of the 21-0 shutout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers didn’t come until a horrific offensive performance against the Kansas City Chiefs the following week that resulted in a 29-19 defeat.
Instead of getting Brock Osweiler some time to get warmed into the starting spot, they threw him in against the NFL’s best defense in the Philadelphia Eagles and he was faced more pressure than any Denver quarterback had faced all year.
Osweiler wasn’t even close to the problem last night. Instead, Joseph let Brock Olivo continue to make blunder after blunder as the leader of the special teams unit. Joseph himself showed just how out of his depth he is compared to an elite coach like Bill Belichick after the game.
“He’s our punt returner,” Joseph said of Isaiah McKenzie. “That’s his job so he has to do it. Looking forward, if he can’t do the job, we have to change it.”
Knowing the Broncos coaching staff wasn’t going to punish players for poor performances until it gets so bad that the decision is made for them, Belichick was more than happy to punt it away to McKenzie.
"We always have to take advantage of the opportunities,” Belichick said of kicking it to McKenzie. “That's not the first punt McKenzie's muffed this year.”
As a fan, I really wanted to believe in the Joseph hire. I’m off that horse. The Broncos need a real head coach and leader of men.
VJ: He's our punt returner. That's why he was back there.— TJ Grizzle (@TraMurr) November 13, 2017
Belichick had an easy time game planning for that team. https://t.co/DiZBE1s2Ja
2. Other coaches also out of their depth.
Brock Olivo is obviously terribly out of his depth. Last night wasn’t the first time special teams has been a point of extreme frustration. The unit has become an undisciplined, sloppy unit that has consistently set this team up with poor opportunities to succeed - be it on offense with poor field position or defense with a stupid turnover.
Olivo should be relieved of his duties immediately. Though I doubt any changes are made until someone makes the change for Vance Joseph.
Joe Woods is also either out of his depth or just not experienced enough and is getting outcoached by opposing offensive coordinators.
I lost count of how many times I saw Von Miller, Shane Ray, and/or Shaquil Barrett split out wide to cover a running back or tight end. Putting those guys in space in coverage is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. And it happened over and over again on Sunday night.
That isn’t on the players. That is on the guy calling the plays and expecting players to overcome their matchup disadvantages.
Broncos fans right now ...— Jon Heath (@JonHeathNFL) November 13, 2017
(via @Broncos_Reddit) pic.twitter.com/KcQosK6Rob
3. Brock Osweiler is the Broncos quarterback for 2017.
Osweiler finished 18/33 for 221 yards and a touchdown with a late interception. Not great and not terrible. Sadly, the Broncos were moving the ball offensively for the first time in a long time with multiple scoring drives in the first half.
Then to start the second half, Osweiler marched the Broncos down the field for a potentially game-changing touchdown drive.
Unfortunately, the defense has quit. With the game still in hand, Osweiler’s stats looked a hell of a lot better before the offense had to go one-dimensional.
Brock Osweiler is 11/19 for 168 yards with a QB Rating of 87.2. Emmanuel Sanders has been targeted 10 times, with six receptions and 127 yards. Demaryius Thomas has three receptions for 28 yards.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) November 13, 2017
The special teams also continued to be a screw up. That would be the last effective drive the offense would be able to muster.
Paxton Lynch is a name you are going to hear a lot of and he’ll probably get some action on the field soon. When that happens, we’ll all know the front office has embraced the tank and we’ll all be looking forward to 2018.
4. Isaiah McKenzie must be benched immediately.
After his fifth fumble on a kick return in nine games, most coaching staffs would bench the player for good. Not the Denver Broncos. McKenzie is their returner after all. It’s his job.
So they trot him back out there again for a kickoff return and he gets destroyed at the fourteen yard line.
Hopefully, they finally see the light and place the rookie on the bench where he should have been since about a month ago.
EXCLUSIVE: Screenshot of the #Broncos Special Teams playsheet this half: pic.twitter.com/PGvlKaCOJl— Ryan Greene (@RGMileHigh) November 13, 2017
5. John Elway needs to go all-in on a quarterback next season.
All three active quarterbacks on this roster should be sent on their way to become a distant memory next offseason. Elway needs to either pursue a guy like Andrew Luck if the Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay continues to be an ass towards his franchise quarterback or he should trade up in this draft and get a legitimate franchise quarterback. One that has the work ethic that Lynch doesn’t appear to possess.
The 2018 quarterback class has the look of something special, so Elway could work his way up in the draft to snag a top-tier guy and begin the full rebuild process.
Make no mistake Broncos Country, this team needs a full rebuild. There is none of this reboot nonsense anymore.