Vance Joseph and the Denver Broncos have pulled off the impossible.
They have now, somehow, some way won two games in a row after the 25-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night. Now those happy feelings Broncos Country is used to have returned. All snark aside, at least we got that game out of the way and can enjoy football that matters this weekend. If you haven’t taken a gander at the rest of the Week 15 schedule, do yourself a favor and check it out. There are some good games on the slate this weekend. Or you could catch the newest “Star Wars” movie if you’re so inclined, though based on the attendance in Indy, most already did so Thursday night.
In terms of the Broncos, it’s great they decided to beat two terrible teams. Congrats, though this should have happened regardless of how terrible Denver is. It just solidifies what some said after the shutout win over the New York Jets: Where was this during the eight-game losing streak? Sorry, but beating two awful teams when the season is over doesn’t change how it felt to watch the Broncos (5-9) put forth a historic losing streak. It just hardens those emotions.
Here are the five things we learned from Denver’s win over the Colts (3-11).
Joseph needs to get fired
As Adam Malnati and I said on the MHR Radio recap, the play of Brock Osweiler hammers that message home. Joseph’s insistence to stick with Trevor Siemian makes him look even worse. It’s been clear to just about everyone, save for the Broncos head coach, that Osweiler is the best quarterback on the roster. Who knows where this team would be right now if he was the starter for 2017. We don’t know that because Joseph fell in love with Siemian and wasted another season on a terrible quarterback. That’s incompetence.
It was unfortunate that Siemian suffered such a cringe-worthy injury, though you are left to wonder if Denver would have won the game with him at the helm. The awfulness of Joseph, yet again, was in plain sight for the nation to see. Nothing screams “I have no idea what I’m doing” like continually trotting out a terrible quarterback, yet thinking he gives you the best chance to win and being proven the exact opposite is the case.
But it’s not just the quarterback he’s done that with.
Siemian is finished in Denver
If there was any question what the future holds for Siemian, we got the emphatic answer on Thursday. If – and that’s a huge “if” right now – he remains in the NFL, it will not be with the Broncos.
Siemian’s not a good quarterback, and hasn’t been since he was named the starter in August 2016. He’s not a starter. He’s not a capable backup. It’s a shame this organization wasted so many games on him given we knew all of this prior that initial decision last year.
Have the Broncos found their answer at right guard?
As it stands now, yes, but let’s not get carried away. That guy is, of course, Connor McGovern. One could make the argument he was the best player on the field for Denver on Thursday. McGovern was a huge reason C.J. Anderson and the Broncos were so effective on the ground. Of course, it’s imperative to point out that this happened against the dreadful Colts whose defense might be even worse.
Cris Collinsworth on #Broncos Connor McGovern:— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) December 15, 2017
“They may have found something”
At the very least, Denver has the option now to roll into 2018 with McGovern at right guard and could move Ronald Leary back to left guard. That takes a huge priority off the list for holes John Elway has to fill on his roster - through free agency or the NFL Draft.
But as I mentioned earlier, that’s yet another indictment on Joseph and shows his raging incompetence. The only reason McGovern is on the field is because of an injury to Leary. If Leary was still healthy, we would not see McGovern on the field. We wouldn’t see that he could, emphasis on “could,” be the answer at right guard.
Joseph has shown no interest in giving a look to younger players, even after hope of a playoff run faded. Look at the players who were inactive for Thursday’s game — all in a similar situation as McGovern. So we’re left to ask: Who else is Denver failing to get answers on and giving a chance to because Joseph wants to protect his job and win games?
Why is Jamaal Charles on the roster?
Coaches always roll with the “hot hand.” Well, usually. Those coaches aren’t named Joseph. But Broncos offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave did on Thursday ... in large part because of the play of McGovern.
Anderson and Devonate Booker were those guys in Denver’s running game. Charles, meanwhile, didn’t get a single touch in this game. Why is he on the roster? Why is he wasting a roster spot? I made the call after the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals for the Broncos to release him. At this point, give him the courtesy and the chance to sign with a different team since he won’t get a chance in Denver (despite Joseph saying over and over and over and over and over that Charles would).
It’s always a pleasure to watch Adam Vinatieri
Three days after Christmas, the Colts kicker will turn 45 years old. He’s still one of the best, if the not the best kicker in the NFL. That’s incredible. Did you see the extra point he made last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills?
When you consider Brandon McManus' inconsistencies for the Broncos this season, it gives you a deeper appreciation for how outstanding Vinatieri has been, and for how long.
Players like Vinatieri don’t come around that often so you have to enjoy the times you get to see them. If he’s selected for the Pro Bowl, he would be the oldest player in history to play in the game. That currently belongs to John Carney, who was 44 when he played in the Pro Bowl in 2008.
Add it to the list of accomplishments the best kicker in NFL history has on his resume.