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The No Bull Review: Vance Joseph is not head-coach material

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The Denver Broncos lost to the upstart Cleveland Browns in a game that cost them any chance at a playoff appearance. Here are my thoughts, opinions and analysis on the game.

New York Giants v Denver Broncos
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 15: Defensive end Adam Gotsis #99 of the Denver Broncos celebrates a sack against the New York Giants at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 15, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

It isn’t that this loss was more disappointing than the one against the 49ers...it wasn’t. The 49ers are a very injured, low talent NFL team as it stands today. You can’t say that about the Cleveland Browns of 2018. They aren’t quite an above average team, but they are young, proud, and aggressive on both sides of the ball.

I knew we could easily lose this game.

But I was really bugged by the outcome of this one. I mean, completely bent. I was ranting to the rest of the fine writers here at MHR about the decision to kick the field goal. I was fighting with Pete about Von and his effort (Pete was right for the record). I was mad...far more than I usually am when my beloved Broncos team loses a close game.

I ranted to the wife about it.

I ranted to some co-workers as well.

So as I prepared to write this tonight, I thought, “What’s bugging you, dude? You aren’t being your normal self. Your inner dude is not abiding at all.”

Revelation

This isn’t a big revelation by any means, but the crux of all my emotions about this game comes from understanding with absolute clarity that Vance Joseph is not an NFL head coach. Many of you have known this for well over a year.

I probably could have guessed this a year or more ago...but as a person, I’m a forgiver...I’m a believer in chances, and I want to see evidence for myself, not just supposition based off of irrelevant assumptions.

Most head coaches need a few really great abilities or talents to be able to hack it at the NFL level. Things like game management, game planning, charisma, motivational vocality, player development, or extreme proficiency at designing either the offense or defense of your team.

Vance Joseph has none of those tools at anything close to what I would call “great”. He has some at average level...and a bunch at far below average level.

His career in Denver is over and my No Bull take on him is that his career as a NFL head coach is over as well. I’m not even sure he is a competent defensive coordinator at this point.

I thought we couldn’t get a worse situation than Josh McDaniels at the head coach position. I honestly think I’d take McDinglewhompus over this joke of a coach at this point.

Defense

The injuries at cornerback were not nearly as devastating as they could have been. Joe Woods used everything he could to keep the defense functioning, and I honestly think as a whole they did a pretty spectacular job.

A couple big plays really hurt us, but that’s nothing new and the fact that we didn’t see more big plays to the outside against our safeties playing corner and our 5th and 6th stringers is quite an accomplishment.

Front 7

Did anyone else notice Von Miller mostly playing passive this game? Sure he did pass rush in obvious situations, but he sure didn’t look like a guy giving his everything every play to get to the ball. I’m not going to fault him though...I’d do that too if my boss threw me under a bus to the whole universe in a press conference for something that should have been handled in the locker and meeting rooms. Congrats on the record, Von. We love you and are thankful you are a Bronco!

Adam Gotsis is turning into a damned beast up front. The guy was dominating at the line of scrimmage and could have had the game-turning play if only we had an offense / quarterback that was capable.

I liked what I saw from Brandon Marshall on the field. I’m one of the guy’s biggest critics, but he was flying around everywhere and was supremely good in pass coverage most of the game.

Secondary

Losing Bradley Roby for a cut sucked.

Losing Brandon Langley to a concussion sucked too.

Getting our new corner who we brought in directly because we were light handed because he couldn’t keep himself from shoving some dude in the helmet was a disgrace.

I applaud the effort of the back-end defenders for making it work being so short handed...especially Justin Simmons. I’m not saying he was awesome because he wasn’t...he kinda sucked at times to be honest. But the guy was a champ playing slot corner and gave it his all and that’s all I can ask for from any Bronco.

I also really liked what I saw from Will Parks. I think his game has quietly taken a step forward this year. He’s really starting to read the field better and is definitely getting better at timing his play whether he’s crashing down on a runner or defending a pass.

What happened to Darian Stewart? The guy’s game has taken a very big step back. He sadly looks like a guy that is running in molasses this year. As a safety, that is a very bad thing in today’s NFL.

Offense

I’m not sure how you don’t have your team ready for a Gregg Williams defense. He coaches them aggressive, blitzes often, and loads the box on obvious running situations.

Hot routes, play action, and quick timing routes are the order of the day...this is football 101 level stuff for an offensive coordinator.

Well, the last play of the game was about everything you need to know about the ability of Bill Musgrave to have his guys ready for the moment. In an obvious blitz situation, with a blitz look, and a blitz on 3rd down right before there was no hot read at any point on the field, the Browns were in essentially cover-0 and Keenum had nowhere to go with the ball.

Quarterbacks

I feel bad for Case Keenum honestly...he has to realize that this was it. He’s made his big money with us on a two-year contract and now the world knows he’s not even a mediocre NFL QB...at least not with this kind of scheme and personnel.

The glaring problem with Keenum over the past couple of weeks has been his inability to get more out of the young players than he has. He seemed even more hesitant than normal to throw the ball against the 49ers, then when his coach put him on blast, he came out and threw a couple of bad picks (and yes, both were bad decisions).

He’s just not the guy. He is an NFL quarterback, but not one you want to be your starting option going into a season. He’ll of course be back next year and I’ll cheer for him as our team figures out what they are doing...but I don’t have hope in this guy making things happen.

Line

The problems we had last week continued...not to the same level of awful, but the blocking just couldn’t hold up just the same. It isn’t necessarily that they blocked poorly though...many times there were more people coming than the line could block. But what was missing was some really well-blocked plays that allowed some big runs to happen up the middle.

At the end of the day, the Broncos ran for a whopping 1.6 ypc. That’s pathetic. That’s on your line or your coaches, depending on the box count.

Running Backs

Meh and blargh. I love the talent of both our top two rushers in Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. I believe that both can be special. But they didn’t show much special in this game...not enough to win it anyhow.

I will give Davontae Booker some props though. He looked like the best NFL player of the 3 of them with blitz pick-ups and a couple of really nice receptions in the passing game.

Receivers

We got to see more of the young guns in DaeSean Hamilton (led team in targets and receptions), Tim Patrick (wow...this kid is legit...just needs polishing), Courtland Sutton, and Matt LaCosse. I thought they did a pretty spectacular job outside of a couple of bad drops. I wish the QB could have gotten more out of them though. All of them should feel like 16 points isn’t enough for the effort they put into the game.

Special Teams

Booker had what I thought was a pretty darn good return. It is worth a shout-out for sure, but I didn’t see anything there that makes me think he’s a future returner for the team that is going to pop.

Final Thoughts

Sadly, by this time we all know the Broncos have been eliminated. In the No Bull world I chose to live in, that makes this season a failure. I don’t care if we win two more games or not. I don’t care that it sounds petulant.

This is the Denver Broncos and the team we love and cheer for is about success. That means playoff football.

I know I’ll still be cheering hard for the players in the next two weeks, but it is a bummer to not have anything to play for other than pride.

Still..,screw the faders and the sparklers. I hope we put a 40-burger on both of those teams.

Go Broncos.