Sometimes, it’s not how you practice but when.
The Broncos started the season converting 7 of 9 red zone opportunities into touchdowns. That’s great. In their last two games, the Broncos have gone 1 of 7. That’s awful.
Vance Joseph, the Broncos’ head coach, hopes he can resolve his team’s red-zone slump by moving it up earlier in his practice on Thursday.
“Our last period is red zone,’’ Joseph said. “I’ve watched it for the last two weeks and it’s not very good. That’s my fault. I’m going to move red zone up in practice so we can get more energy there. That part we’re going to fix. We’re going to spend more time in red zone. We’re going to apply more detail and focus there as coaches and players. We’ll fix that. But the concepts are there, and running the football is there. It’s just more self-inflicted wounds.’’
It’s going on seven weeks since second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch suffered an injury to his right throwing shoulder in a preseason game at San Francisco. And it’s going to be at least a couple more before he’s ready to play again.
Lynch has been doing some light throwing in the trainer’s room, but has yet to the toss the football on the practice field. And there are no plans for him to start throwing during the bye week or next week, when the Broncos resume preparations for Game 5 against the New York Giants.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating because I want to be playing,’’ Lynch said Monday. “But at the same time, it’s an injury and I trust what the trainers have me doing.’’
Brock Osweiler will remain the Broncos’ backup quarterback to Trevor Siemian until further notice.
Frustrated receiver duo
The Broncos still may have one of the league’s best receiving duos in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Just not on paper. Not, yet, in 2017, anyway.
Thomas is tied for 18th in the NFL with 247 receiving yards and Sanderson is tied for 45th with 190 yards. Yes, they’re a tad frustrated, especially when they believe they can resolve the team’s recent red zone woes.
“Receivers? They’re always frustrated,’’ Joseph said. “They want to catch want to catch 10 balls a game. I like that. Especially from No. 10 (Sanders). I like his personality. He wants the ball every play. That’s cool. He should want the ball every play. He’s a competitive dude.”
A special ray of Sunshine
Who says Jordan Taylor can’t play special teams? Taylor got his first game uniform of the season Sunday and came up with the biggest special teams play, tackling Oakland punter Marquette King for a 3-yard loss when the fake attempt needed 11 yards for a first down.
“Perfect call by Brock,’’ Taylor said of special teams coordinator Brock Olivo. “I was spying the punter. When he tucked it and ran, that was my job. He definitely didn’t see me. He thought we were doubling outside and we were going to run out there. So, like I said, it was a great call.’’
Taylor’s specialty as a receiver is the back-shoulder catch on go-routes, but he was inactive the first three games largely because the Broncos’ other backup receivers – Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler III and Isaiah McKenzie – are more valuable special teams players. Latimer missed the Raiders’ game because of a right knee injury.
“I knew coming into everything I was going to have to make an impact on special teams and that’s what I was trying to go do,’’ Taylor said. “Glad I was able to make a couple plays.’’
Bye week schedule
The Broncos lifted weights, watched film and had meetings Monday. They’ll lift and have meetings against Tuesday. There will be one practice on Wednesday and then the team will be dismissed, by collective bargaining agreement rule, Thursday through Sunday.
The Broncos will resume work Monday for their Sunday night game, October 15 against the New York Giants.