Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton met with the media today via conference call after this disastrous 70-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins and told reporters that he would not be firing defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
He told reporters “No” when asked if there would be any firings or moves made after this loss and continued by saying “that wouldn’t be something I’d share on a conference call”.
Sean Payton, on whether there would be firings or moves made: “No, and that wouldn’t be something I’d share on a conference call.”— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 25, 2023
Calls for Joseph’s job were loud after the defense looked awful, gave up on their coach, and allowed the Dolphins to score 10 total touchdowns on the afternoon. I was among the people calling for Joseph to be fired because of this embarrassing showing and someone needed to be held accountable. Well, that move is not coming today, but they are just delaying the inevitable here with Vance.
His defense struggled in the season opener when the Raiders had no issue driving up and down the field and in week two, Sam Howell and the Commanders shredded the Broncos' defense. Both teams and offenses have struggled in their other games this season and have had their most productive outings against the Broncos' defense. So, when the Broncos went up against what many believed to be the best offense in the league, you knew it probably was not going to go well, but nobody saw a 70-point effort happening.
Later in that conference call, Payton seemed to call out his coaching staff a bit when he stated “the attention to detail of what we’re doing at practice has to improve”. He continued by saying “We as coaches have to look closely at what we’re asking them to do”,
“The attention to detail of what we’re doing at practice has to improve. We as coaches have to look closely at what we’re asking them to do … you take a butt-whupping like that, you find out a lot about everyone.” — Sean Payton— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) September 25, 2023
Payton is not blame-free here, but he seems to be publicly questioning his coaching staff, specifically the defensive coaches after this effort. He should be questioning them because this defensive unit has taken a large step backward from last year. They did have their issues in the second half of the season last year but they did not look this bad. You have your corners consistently playing off coverage, Pat Surtain was not shadowing Tyreek Hill, the pass rush who Joseph claimed to be the best he ever had is nowhere to be found, and the tackling, execution, and discipline are not there either. The players themselves deserve plenty of the blame, but a lot of it falls on the laps of Joseph.
So, where do the Broncos go from here? Well, they have two matchups against weak offenses where they can bounce back. Next week, they head east again to play Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears. A franchise that might be even more of a dumpster fire than the Broncos right now. They have been struggling badly on offense and if they can find success against the Broncos defense, that will be very telling. Then in week five, they host Zach Wilson and the New York Jets. They did beat the Broncos last season, but they are struggling on offense this year and if they too have success, that could be the final straw for Joseph.
After those two games, the Broncos play the Chiefs at Arrowhead on Thursday Night Football, host the Packers, host the Chiefs, and then play in Buffalo on Monday Night. That is a tough stretch where I do not see the Broncos winning any of those games, especially with the way their defense is looking right now. So, these next two games will be very important for the Broncos and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.