KUSA - For an NFL team that has lost two in a row, all should be well.
Gary Kubiak, the Denver Broncos’ unquestioned No. 1 leader, returns to work Monday.
“We miss Kub like crazy,’’ rookie nickel safety Will Parks said after the Broncos lost to the San Diego Chargers, 21-13, Thursday night. “All we’ve been talking about is Coach Kub this week and getting the win for him.
“Obviously, we didn’t get it done but I can tell you that we played our heart out, that’s for sure.”
And the Broncos’ next opponent has Brock Osweiler at quarterback. It’s difficult to imagine the Kubiak-led Broncos bowing to an Osweiler-led team at their home stadium of soon-to-be-renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High next Monday night.
“We’ve got to win regardless of who it is,’’ said Broncos’ strong safety T.J. Ward. “We’re playing the Texans, not Brock and the Texans. The complete
team has to be there -- offense, defense, special teams. If we don’t do that, we’re not going to win.”
Let’s start with Osweiler. He was the Broncos’ backup quarterback to Peyton Manning the previous four years. Osweiler sat his first 3 ½ seasons before finally getting his chance in the final seven games of 2015.
He performed well, too, leading the Broncos to a 5-2 record. But he was pulled among a five turnover debacle in the regular-season finale against San Diego, and replaced by Manning.
Osweiler stayed on the bench through the postseason as Manning took his farewell bows.
When Manning officially retired on March 7, everyone in Broncoland figured Osweiler would replace him. Two days later, the Broncos failed to secure Osweiler, who instead signed a four year, $72 million contract with Houston.
An $18 million a year contract for a quarterback with seven career starts? The Broncos adjusted by drafting Paxton Lynch in the first round while last season’s third stringer Trevor Siemian moved into the starting position.
Siemian has been a pleasant surprise this year, starting 4-0 until he suffered a left shoulder injury that knocked him out of the Broncos’ game last Sunday against Atlanta.
The Broncos lost that one with Lynch at quarterback, then again when Siemian returned Thursday at San Diego.
Both games played out similarly with the Broncos falling behind by 20-3 and 21-3, respectively, before rallying to make it close late.
The difference between the two was Kubiak wasn’t around for the Chargers’ game. He suffered a severe migraine after the loss to Atlanta and had to be transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he stayed overnight Sunday.
Doctors ordered Kubiak to stay away from his job for a full seven days. Monday he will be cleared to return to coach against the Houston Texans’ team where he was the head man from 2006 until he was fired late in the 2013 season.
Kubiak returns to a team that is struggling on offense and suddenly not so dominant on defense
“It’s always hard when you don’t have your leader, but it’s on us to make plays,’’ said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. “It’s on us as a team. We’ve got a veteran team. Even if coach is out, we’re still expected to handle business.”