Broncos mailbag: Fans seek blame for team's fall

ENGLEWOOD - Know how sometimes, you open the mailbox and all you get are bills?

This Broncos’ mailbag is the equivalent.

Want cheery letters? Read the Eagles’ mailbag. The Broncos are in a four-game losing streak in which they’ve been outscored by an average combined score of 31-13. They’re committing more than three turnovers a game during their skid and their only ray of hope, the Denver defense, just got steamrolled for 197 rushing yards.

People want to assign blame. Luckily for Broncos fans, the New England Patriots are not as good as the Philadelphia Eagles. They can’t be.

Perhaps, home field and a primetime start will inspire the Broncos to deliver a competitive performance Sunday night (6:30 kickoff, 9News) against Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots.

Until then, this mailbag, like my bills, is not going away.

I read where it’s time to for Vance Joseph to go. I realize they have problems other than QB, but do you really think he's on the hot seat just half-way into the season?

--Dennis DeJulio

Dennis—No. He’s not. I like the way Joseph has been handling this woeful stretch. He remains authoritative but composed. It’s his first test in crisis management as a head coach. I do believe at some point this season the Broncos will bring some encouragement to their fan base by winning a couple games.

Not sure when. He must get his team playing way better, and showing more gumption, than they did last Sunday at Philly. Starting with this Sunday night against the Patriots.

It doesn’t matter if the Broncos are huge home underdogs against the defending Super Bowl champs. The Broncos have to at least give their fans a competitive game.

Not a win, necessarily. That may be asking too much of a team that has been the league’s worst the past month.

That’s right, the worst. The Browns have lost, 17-14 to the Jets and 12-9 to the Titans among their last four games.  The 49ers lost 26-24 to Washington within the last month.

The Broncos have lost four in a row by at least 10 points. You have to go back to Jack Faulkner’s Broncos -- from the last game of 1963 through the first four games of 1964 -- to find a more embarrassing stretch of bad Denver football.

The Broncos must make the Patriots sweat on Monday night so that they can have some confidence going into the following week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. That home game against the 3-5 Bengals is becoming a must win not because of playoff implications, but to prevent an unthinkable collapse.

From my couch, it seems like blame for the Broncos failures are being pushed in many directions. In the past 5 or 6 years the only success I’ve seen was when Peyton was playing.  I’m going to guess that he brought a great deal of confidence to the locker room. I also think the way he ran his offense by calling his own plays helped to bring about winning seasons.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the problem seems to be with Elway.  He may have been a good QB but once again from my couch he seems to be failing at putting together a competitive team. He seems to be the one responsible for hiring and firing of players and coaches.

--Bob Clode

Bob—Five weeks ago, Elway as a general manager constructed teams that won five AFC West Division titles through his first five years, made two Super Bowl appearances, won Super Bowl 50 and was off to a 12-8 start without Peyton Manning.

To me, Elway’s most impressive work was how he built a fast-break, high-scoring offense that reached the Super Bowl in 2013, and then just two years later built a defensive-dominant team that won it all in 2015.

No one does that.

However, this awful, month-long stretch where the Broncos haven’t been competitive during their skid has exposed some flaws in the roster.

It begins with the fact first-round quarterback Paxton Lynch hasn’t come along as quickly as hoped.

Lynch still has a chance. Should the Broncos suffer their seventh or eighth loss before they get their sixth or seventh win, Lynch would figure to get his chance in the final month or so.

Until then, the line is long with NFL franchises who suffer when their first-round quarterback doesn’t work out.

I'm calling B.S. on the Eagles running out of fireworks. Unless fireworks expire, they should have had plenty left over from all the times they lost in the NFC championship game. 

--Art Mensing, San Antonio

Art—That’s the spirit. Bronco fans may be down but they can still throw a few haymakers while falling on their backsides. Too bad the Denver defense didn’t show the same fight against the Eagles.

Now that we know Trevor is not the reason, what is your recommendation for the next step.

Brock should have had 3 interceptions in the first half if the “Philly Boys” did not have slippery fingers.

The Broncos look flat. No spark for the last 4 games.

I am thinking the unthinkable, but you know the situation much better than this old sideline fan.

--Woody Miller

Woody—I can critically analyze what did happen with the best of them. But I’m not very good at predicting what will happen and, therefore, I have no recommendations on what should happen next.

For now, Brock Osweiler is the Broncos’ quarterback. If he plays well Sunday night against the New England Patriots, he’ll remain the Broncos’ quarterback.

If he doesn’t play well, Joseph will reassess. He could stick with Osweiler for the following week’s winnable game against the Bengals on Red Miller Ring of Fame Day, Nov. 19. Or he could go back to Trevor Siemian.

Again, I don’t think the Broncos consider starting Lynch unless they suffer their seventh or eighth loss. To date he has not been getting reps other than for the scout team in practice.

Mike - Literally as I write this Booker almost kneels kickoff inside the 1!

I scream at our special teams to just take a knee.  I would love to know what the NFL average is and what the Broncos average is (including penalties). There’s no way we can be averaging better than 25 yards.

At a time where the Broncos need almost everything right to win a game and a struggling offense, why put yourself in the hole right away?!

--Dave Pennington

Dave—The Broncos are averaging 24.9 yards per kickoff return, which ranks 5th in the league. Many of those returns have a starting point of a few yards deep in their end zone, so you’re right, in most cases, accepting a touchback is the prudent play.

However, when you’re down 10 points or so, the reward of a potential long return far outweighs the risk of starting field position behind your 20- or 15-yard line.

You’ve got to take it out if you’re playing catch-up. But in the first quarter, it more often than not is best to take the touchback and the 25-yard line.

Broncos returners may not get a chance to settle for touchbacks this week, though, because Patriots’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski is perhaps the league’s best at the pop-up kicks that land between 1 and 10 yard lines. Maybe, he will struggle gauging the carry of the ball in altitude.

Last (week) I watched a small part of "Next" and Kyle Clark read a statement from you regarding Trever Siemian.  I want to thank you for saying that about Trevor.  I have liked him from the start but I feel that the press hasn't given him a fair shake.  All you ever heard was Paxton Lynch, Paxton Lynch.  Then, to my great dismay Elway brought Brock Osweiller back.

Brock thumbed his nose at the Broncos and went to Houston. I have no respect for him. So, sadly, even though I am a huge Bronco fan, I will not watch the games as long as Brock is quarterback.  I understand that Trevor made some stupid mistakes in his last game -- he is, however, a young, learning quarterback and people seem to forget that.

I truly enjoy listening to your comments about the Broncos.  Also, enjoy listening to Crockett and the Crib on 760 AM.  Keep up the great work.

--Judy Meier

Judy—Consider yourself lucky for not watching the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. If you got a chance to meet Brock Osweiler you’d change your opinion. He’s a good guy. Personable. Polite.

As for his decision 20 months ago to leave the Broncos for Houston, the Texans did offer close to $2 million more a year than Denver did. And the Broncos could have made a stronger attempt to sign him back before he reached free agency.

But it worked well for both sides. Osweiler will collect $37 million in 2016-17, he’s playing quarterback for the Broncos, and Denver is only paying $775,000 of his earnings.

What you missed, Judy, was Osweiler did do some good things against Philly. He does have to play better Sunday night against the Patriots.

It seems the Broncos’ quarterback situation is quite fluid. We might not have seen the last of Siemian.

I do hope you watch the game Sunday night, Judy. Don’t you want to watch Tom Brady play quarterback one more time in Denver? It’s on NBC.

I have a different slant on Trevor Siemian - what do you think? Trevor is injured.  Not physically, but his confidence is injured and as such, he should be treated the same as if he has a physical injury.

Had he suffered a torn muscle in his throwing arm, he would have been replaced by Brock.

Then he would take a few days off for rest and rehab.

Same for his psychological injury.

Right now, he has lost confidence in the offensive line’s ability to protect him.  He has taken more punishment than he should have been allowed to take (the psych injury should have been diagnosed earlier) and he is second guessing every move he makes, like holding onto the ball too long. 

Time to step back and heal himself.

He should feel, and he should be repeatedly told, that he remains the starting QB and that Brock is backing him up until he is healed and able to come back onto the field again no matter how long it takes.  No one should say “he’s lost the starting job” or “he’s blown it” or similar sayings as this will only restrict his healing.

He should not feel like a failure or that he has let the team down, but accept that he has been injured and needs to heal.

Remind him that when Peyton was injured the Broncos did the same thing - send in Osweiler until the starter healed.  Get him back to basics.  Have a few receivers on the practice squad to work with him on routes to restore Trevor’s confidence and then in a couple of weeks when he practices with the starters we can consider a return to the field.

Your thoughts?

--Howard Davis

Howard—You’re thinking, Howard. I like a man who thinks. I agreed with the first-half of your essay. Siemian has lost confidence and it is best, as Joseph said, that he take a step back.

However, there is no sugarcoating the fact he has lost his job. He was benched. Siemian is man enough to take it.

Is he hurt? Sure. Does he feel like he failed? Without using that word, I’m guessing so.

But let’s not worry so much about Siemian’s feelings. He is tough mentally and emotionally. He’s not a woe-is-me person.

If he plays again this year, I would not be surprised if he plays some of his best football.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment