ENGLEWOOD—He teaches as he answers. He can be direct and he’s almost always insightful.
The more Vance Joseph is on the job as the Denver Broncos’ head coach, the more his press conferences become must attended events.
Joseph was particularly enlightening during his media gathering following the Broncos’ practice Wednesday that began the players’ preparation for their game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
Rule vs. catch
Joseph was asked about the NFL’s catch rule in light of Emmanuel Sanders’ grab, turn, stride, stride, then have the ball poked out by a trailing defender. It was initially ruled a completion for a 44-yard gain but overturned into an incompletion upon replay review.
Joseph did not blame the rule or the system.
“They made a point about him not finishing the catch. I could see that,’’ Joseph said. “He caught the ball as he was turning. He never really gathered himself as far as being upright. I can see that point. That call can go both ways. That doesn’t bother me. Guess what I would say about that? He should have caught that ball. If he caught the ball, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Howard “Tell Like It Is” Cosell would have loved this guy.
Mack vs. Miller
Oakland’s pass-rushing outside linebacker Khalil Mack was voted the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season even though he had 11.0 sacks to Von Miller’s 13.5.
Joseph on the difference between Mack and Miller: “It’s not much in my opinion. He’s a bigger man than Von. I think Von is a better space player than he is. They’re both guys who can wreck a game.’’
Who lost more?
Joseph can be funny. He was asked about how the Raiders’ struggles last Sunday night at Washington would impact their game this Sunday.
“They struggled?’’ Joseph said. “We struggled. I don’t want to hear about their struggles. We struggled, also. That won’t be an issue for both teams. It’s a big game for both teams. It a divisional game. It’s a home game for us, so for us, it’s a two-for-one.
“I don’t want to hear about their struggles. We struggled enough for both teams.”
Kneeling for … what again?
Many Broncos took a knee during the National Anthem last Sunday at Buffalo. Many players stood at attention.
The reason players took a knee was to protest the harsh rhetoric President Trump uttered during a political campaign rally last Friday in Alabama. Unless they were protesting the continued social injustice issues in this country.
“I’m not sure if we know what it’s about anymore,’’ Joseph said. “That’s the issue in my opinion. Our players have great respect for the military in my opinion. That was not the initial cause. It’s getting to be a confusing topic and I said on Monday that politics and football don’t mix. I want to keep it separate from our team, but it’s an issue and we need to address it.”
Where have you gone, Paxton Lynch?
Second-year, first-round quarterback Paxton Lynch still hasn’t practiced and it’s been 38 days since he suffered a right shoulder injury in a preseason game at San Francisco.
It appears he won’t get back on the practice field until after next week’s bye. And then probably another two weeks before he’s ready to compete against Brock Osweiler for the backup quarterback role to Trevor Siemian.
“It’s a throwing shoulder, so we want to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy before we bring him back to the field,’’ Joseph said. “So, I’m not sure. But, he is rehabbing hard. He’s getting better every day.”
Big pass plays
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor only threw for 213 yards against the Broncos last week, but two completions for 56 yards came on one touchdown drive in the second quarter and another two completions went for 56 yards on a touchdown drive in the third quarter.
The completions went for 28 and 28 yards on one drive; 31 and 25 on the other. Joseph was instructive in explaining the big-play breakdowns.
“Most teams, if they play us in normal splits, we can go out there and jam those guys and win our one-on-ones,’’ Joseph said. “But they condensed the splits, and forced us to have great eyes on the pass game. We didn’t have great eyes. That lead to big plays in the pass game.
“Their boot action gave us issue as far as our defensive backs not putting their eyes in the right spots. Seeing the run, it wasn’t a run, it was a pass. They did a great job of game-planning against us.”
Maybe last week’s contest against Buffalo wasn’t a trap game, but a week later, Joseph admitted his team didn’t properly get up mentally and emotionally each day to prepare.
“I thought today was better than last Wednesday,’’ Joseph said. “Last Wednesday was not good. We practiced, but it wasn’t with the spirit we had practice with today. We got back to that. I can feel it. They can feel it. Hopefully our urgency is back to win. We’re desperate to win again. That’s the key.”