Broncos Mailbag: Fallout from Mike McCoy firing

This always happens, at least in the NFL.

A guy gets fired and reflexively people point blame at the person who fired.

Does this happen at the corporate office, too? Probably.

And so the firing of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has stirred plenty of reaction in this week’s Broncos Mailbag.

Broncos fired the wrong guy. Joseph has to go.
--John Figal

John—Vance Joseph will be the Broncos’ head coach in 2018, but there may be a few more changes to his coaching staff. And so it goes in the NFL.

I would add that when one target is removed, in this case McCoy, then the bulls-eye gets bigger on other targets.

The Broncos must start playing better. They must win two of their final six games. Is that too much to ask?

They can’t lose out or Joseph and just about everybody else employed by the Denver Broncos will be in trouble.
 
You guys need to stop being nice.  The problem with the Broncos is Elway.
--Bob Clode

Bob—The bulls-eye didn’t just grow a few rings on the head coach’s back.

Two years ago, Elway’s general manager accomplishments were unprecedented. Five division titles in five years. A Super Bowl appearance with a record-setting offense in 2013, a Super Bowl title thanks to a historic defense two years later.

That type of successful transformation may never happen again.

And yet the Broncos are 12-14 since that Super Bowl 50 title and Elway does deserve critical examination for his run of second- and third-round draft misses. It’s come back to haunt the depth on the current team’s roster.

Elway also outmaneuvered the Dallas Cowboys to move up in the first round of the 2016 draft to select quarterback Paxton Lynch.

The early returns have been slow, but we’ll see how that pick turns out starting Sunday at Oakland.  
When I heard about the firing of Mike McCoy, my first thought was that he was a scapegoat for the failures of the head coach.  Then I read comments Vance Joseph made last summer regarding his offensive coordinator - he had to put players first and scheme second.  He said it several times.  If McCoy was truly putting scheme first, as you mentioned this morning, then he either had to adjust or he had to go.  Guess we know how it turned out.
--Dennis DeJulio, Aurora

Dennis—This is the type of astute observation that explains why you’re a consistent contributor to this mailbag. That and the fact you're one of the most prolific contributors.

It was a scheme, by the way, everyone was excited about when McCoy was hired. The concepts of the scheme seem to work well for Tom Brady as McCoy is a disciple of the Josh McDaniels’ offense.

But a big difference between the Patriots and Broncos’ offense – besides Brady – is that New England has mastered the mismatch of the tight end and running back in the passing game.

McCoy didn’t have favorable matchups with his tight ends, but he didn’t use his running backs, particularly Jamaal Charles, as much as I thought he would. Devontae Booker has also emerged as a nice receiving running back. Maybe, they weren't used more because too often McCoy needed a back to chip the edge rushers.

But the more I dig into this, McCoy’s real issue seemed to have been excessive play-sheet volume. The Broncos never formed a core, 15 plays to master and become their offensive identity.

There were too many missed assignments, as I understood it, including wrong routes. It’s easier to remember 15 pass plays than 30. Not all of Siemian's interceptions were on him.

But whether it was scheme, game plan, or volume, the frustration the bosses upstairs at Broncos headquarters had was really about the offense’s lack of execution.  

We’ll see in time if this was a good move. I think it's about to be emphasized there is no magic dust that can be sprinkled on the offense to make it better. This offense has many issues.

In the meantime, I wish McCoy well. He was philosophical about his dismissal. He’s been cut as a player, fired as a coached. Even if you never get used to hearing such horrible news, he understood that when a prideful organization like the Broncos loses six in a row, changes must be made.

He’ll be fine. He has nearly 2 ½ years left on his contract. He can rejoin his wife and kids in San Diego. Here’s hoping he gets another NFL coaching job and will be successful again. 
 

Tyrod Taylor -- make the trade Elway! Tyrod Taylor has the lowest interception rate in NFL history (at least 1,000 attempts)
--Mina Kimes

Mina—You made me look it up. Counting his Baltimore Raven days, Taylor has a 1.50 interception percentage (17 picks in 1,130 attempts). The recognized career leader in this category is Aaron Rodgers who has a 1.54 pick percentage (75 interceptions in 4,850 attempts).

You know your stuff, Mina.

For others, the trading period for this season has expired and won’t reopen until March 14, 2018. Taylor has $1 million of his $16 million salary in 2018 fully guaranteed. 

But I think Elway will first explore the free-agent market before a trade, especially if the likes of Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Kirk Cousins become available.

If one of those three potential free agents don’t wind up Denver, then I’d like Elway to strongly consider using that top 5 draft pick (as it stands now the Broncos are tied with John Fox’s Bears and the Colts for the league’s fourth-worst record) on Baker Mayfield.

You want a 6-foot Brees at 39 next year, or 6-foot-1 Mayfield at 23?

OK, so 68,894 career passing yards and 480 touchdowns make Brees more of a sure thing.

I think Elway made two huge mistakes this year. First, going after a rookie coach in a year the team was fractured. Second, if they went through all the hate and discontent to get Brock back, they should have started him from Day 1. It makes no sense whatsoever that they got him and then didn't plan on playing him.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. But keep in mind I have never been an Elway fan even as great as he was, Joe Montana was always my guy. 
--Nancy Stewart

And so now Elway has thrown the team under the bus, by declaring they have become “soft?” Let Elway stand by his man, the coach, who was supposedly hired to walk the walk and talk the talk.

And the beat goes on while the Broncos sink further towards their demise via Elway.
--Paul Sundberg

Nancy and Paul—I want to urge people to stop saying, “Why isn’t Elway getting any blame?’’ Sometimes, I think the criticism is harsher because he is Elway. Know this: Tom Telesco doesn’t hear it from pro-Montana fans. 

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