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Vance Joseph: ‘We gave Raiders’ offense too much respect’

It was earned respect, but Joseph admitted on Orange and Blue Radio that the Broncos’ backend defense played too soft.

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Vance Joseph knows what went wrong with the defense on Sunday.

Call it the Aretha Franklin Effect.

Too. Much. R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the Raiders’ offense.

“We gave those guys a lot of respect. ...It was earned respect, but we can’t play that way because we’re not built to play that way,” coach Vance Joseph told Dave Logan on Orange and Blue Radio’s First & 10 @ 10 podcast. “We have a great pass rush. The two times we made [Derek Carr] hold the ball, we actually sacked him two times. The other times, we were so soft in coverage, the ball was out so fast, we couldn’t contest the throws. ...We were too cautious.”

So hopefully Joseph and defensive coordinator Joe Woods learned a valuable lesson Sunday:


Joseph explained that the Raiders had a handful of matchup issues for the Broncos with Jared Cook, Amari Cooper and Marshawn Lynch in particular that encouraged the defense to play off-man for fear of giving up the big play.

Instead the Broncos gave up first and second down easily, allowing the Raiders offense to march down the field.

“We showed early we couldn’t get them stopped on first and second down,” Joseph said. “Third down we were fine because we went back to being aggressive. Our defense is based on press coverage, rushing five, being aggressive. That offense pushed us into an uncomfortable zone.”

Joseph elaborated on the point during his Monday presser, noting that the pass rushers couldn’t have done more than they did.

“[Carr] held the ball twice, and we got two sacks. At halftime, he was 18-of-19 and it was really quick passes. That falls back on the corners,” Joseph said. “We have to press the receivers because if [the quarterback] holds the ball, we know that we can get pressure. ...With our pass rush, as a corner, you should have confidence that if [the quarterback] is throwing a nine-ball, a seven-ball or a deep in-cut, that our pressure will get there. We were really too soft, I guess I should say, at corner with our coverage.”

As for the offense, Joseph liked the comeback mentality in the second half, but he definitely wants his quarterback to avoid the turnovers.

“It’s a fine line. [Case Keenum’s] nature as a QB is to be aggressive. Obviously it’s a time and placement issue. We’re in red zone territory, to throw a seam down into the middle of cover 3, that’s not smart. You can’t do that,” Joseph said, adding that Keenum knows that. “Case is a confident guy, so after the mistakes, he came out and made plays for us. We had four straight scoring drives, so it didn’t soften Case up, but he understands he cannot give the ball away, especially in scoring areas of the field.”

The game ended with a ‘W,’ and that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day, but Joseph said he’ll feel better about the wins when the team stops hurting itself in games.

“We have to play better. We have to coach better. We have to coach like we’re 0-0,” Joseph said, adding the goal is to keep improving, peak at the right time and avoid self-inflicted wounds. “Because right now it’s about Broncos hurting Broncos. If we do that, I’ll feel better about our wins.”