Broncos coach Vance Joseph said on Monday that the team needs to figure out its “brand of football” to maximize chances of winning.
Shane Ray has an idea.
“We just need to get our shit together,” the third-year linebacker told The Afternoon Drive’s Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro on Tuesday.
“It’s just that simple. It’s a lot going on. As a team, the leaders, the veterans, we need to get this together,” Ray added. “3-5 is not Broncos football. We’re used to being a high-caliber championship team and we’re not playing to that level. It’s just unacceptable.”
Ray seemed to put more onus on the players - especially the vets - rather than the coaching, but he didn’t let anyone off the hook.
“Vance is doing everything he can. He brought in a good regime. It’s collective,” Ray said. “You can’t point a finger at this guy or this guy. It’s something everybody on the entire Broncos staff has to do differently or do better. Everybody’s got to step it up to a whole other level. Until we do that, it’s going to be abysmal. We can’t allow that.”
The Missouri native added that there’s a very real awareness by players that this team could miss the playoffs for a second year in a row if in fact the team doesn’t get its sh*t together.
“We have to win eight games to make it to the playoffs. We understand that. There is not time to lose another one,” he said, adding that players had that mentality all offseason after missing playoffs last year for the first time since 2010.
I thought that's what Training Camp was for??? https://t.co/47jMtuzaOi— L.Lattimore-Volkmann (@docllv) November 7, 2017
Urgency to win is not the problem. Being able to put a decent game together consistently is.
“There’s a lot of stress,” Ray acknowledged, noting that it’s translating to undisciplined play on the field too.
“Defensively, we had the problem of giving up a few big plays here and there and but now in this Eagles’ game, it was a lot of big plays,” he said. “There was a lot of miscommunication as far as assignments, situations where we could have been better with, even y’know, coaching. It all goes hand-in-hand.”
And then when you add in the offensive issues, the problems are spiraling out of control.
“Offensively a lot of the issues we’re dealing with there - can’t score any points, can’t get past the 50, the turnovers - the team is so stressed out,” Ray said. “Everybody is trying to make a play, trying to do something. I’m jumping offsides because I’m trying to get a sack. It’s frustrating because we can’t just put our finger on exactly what the problem is.”
But Ray acknowledged that some of these problems have been building since the Super Bowl 50 season.
“You can go back to that Super Bowl year, where we weren’t that explosive on offense but we did an excellent job of managing the game, keeping the ball, having good time of possession,” he said. “But over the years, because of guys we’ve lost, or certain changes, our offense has kind of taken a step back.”
Translation: no more Peyton Manning. No more PFM masking deficiencies on the O-line and in play-calling.
But it’s not as if the offensive players don’t have high expectations to make big plays still, Ray added.
“DT, Emmanuel, C.J. - they want to win, they’re trying to figure out any way to win and get this offense rolling,” he said. “It takes 11 guys on the field at a time, it takes the coaches. There are things going on that we’ve got to figure out.”
Can this team get its sh*t together?
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Yes. I believe. I BELIEVE!
Not a chance.