The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs really put on a show Sunday. I was in attendance at Arrowhead (my first time there), and for those who watched in person or on television, it was no doubt a spark of excitement for Broncos Country to get that close and to have played so well on both sides of the ball.
It’s almost like we saw what our offense could look like, under the correct leadership.
It was, of course, still a loss. Keeping that in mind is important because we’re not here to get excited about our team playing like professionals. That should be a given. We’re here to be excited about wins.
Interim head coach Jerry Rosburg understands this concept. The way that entire team and staff carried themselves yesterday was barely recognizable from the Broncos of this entire past season. We had an organization.
“Trust and respect must be earned in this league and everywhere else. I told the players when I met with them in the locker room that to whatever degree they had confidence in the vision that laid forth this week, I am hoping that as a result of that contest they may have a little bit more,” Rosburg shared in the post-game conference.
The interim coach added that he understands what the team has been through, and that he’s heartbroken for them.
“There are a number of guys in that room that unequivocally bought in and sold out the vision I had with how we play,” he explained. “I saw evidence that guys were listening.”
"I have the deepest respect and gratitude to those men in that room because they fought. They fought to the very end. And that means a lot to me." - Jerry Rosburg on how HIS #Broncos played today.— Doctor of Words (and tights) (@docllv) January 1, 2023
Rosburg also saw evidence of the players and coaches all pulling together as one unit and showcasing their support for one another, working to make a win happen. Justin Outten called offensive plays from the box, Klint Kubiak was on the sideline for Russell Wilson, and Ejiro Evero commanded a tight defense just as he has all season.
The praise for Evero was high, as is deserved.
“The structure of the defense is so sound. I love it,” Rosburg stated, “It fits into what I see football being. He is not afraid to make corrections.”
Rosburg also noted that not a lot of coaches are as direct in correcting issues as Evero is.
“He will confront everything, which I love that about him. He is not going to let things slide because he doesn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings,” Rosburg added. “We have to win football games, and he is willing to engage in a relationship in an honest fashion that gets us to that point.”
Outten and Kubiak spared no effort this week, either, from the way that it sounded, and we saw evidence of that in the way the Broncos played yesterday.
“I said this earlier, this is an example of what a team looks like where two men, Justin and Klint, can sit in a room with me and everyone can put their egos aside,” the coach recapped, “They are not worried about their resumes or how it looks on the outside and the social media world.”
Ultimately, of course, they all came up short. Three points short, to be exact.
“That all said, it was not good enough,” he admitted, drawing attention to the losing streak against the Chiefs that I need not remind anyone else of, but I will: we have lost to Kansas City for 15 games straight, and we have never beaten Patrick Mahomes.
Rosburg outlined that the only way to stop this streak and change the trajectory of beating them from a fantasy to a reality is tightening the game play.
“[If] we stop making errors down the stretch in the game, or we stop making errors at the beginning of the game that put us behind the eight ball,” he said.
Broncos fans need to see that management is invested in becoming a winning franchise again. Broncos athletes need to be pulled out of the losing culture mentality that they’re currently swept into, before it becomes too comfortable for them. From my perspective, making these drastic changes before the end of the season sent the message that the new ownership is serious.
“I made a commitment to those men in that room to be a better coach this week,” Rosburg said, “I have one week to coach this team, and I have to be better this week. They have to be better. They have to pay more attention to the details that put us in those situations.”
Speaking of needing to be better, Rosburg highlighted the main downsides of today’s contest — the areas they really need to work on before facing the Chargers.
“We have to do a better job of protecting our quarterback. There was too much pressure on that. It has to work in a more cohesive fashion,” he insisted, adding critique for the QB position as well: “We can’t throw picks. For whatever reason and why it happened, it doesn’t make any difference.”
Despite the issues, Rosburg knows there is a high level of talent in Denver right now.
“These players have been getting ripped. One of you asked me about what I see there. I see a bunch of talented players that need to come together and need to play with fundamentals and need to understand complementary football,” he said. “That was my mission this week. We made some progress, but it was not nearly good enough.”