It’s official. Pick up your Bud Light and cheers. The 2017 Broncos are getting an extended tour of the Pit of Misery. Dilly dilly!
Was it not that long ago when Peyton Manning told the world that, “I’m going to drink a lot of Bud Light tonight,” to celebrate his team’s victory in Super Bowl 50? Now we’re reduced to making jokes involving Bud’s most recent advertising campaign because it helps distract us from how miserable this season has been. What else can you do to mask the pain of your team losing to the lowly Bengals? I guess you could join me in embracing the tank, but if you’re not down for that then I don’t know what else to tell you.
This week’s poor excuse for a game was preceded by John Elway, the architect of this disaster, calling his team “soft” in public. Some players took that comment as constructive criticism while others took it personally, but regardless of whether or not such a comment was warranted, Elway isn’t wrong.
When you drop six games in a row, that’s the reputation that you earn as a team and everyone is to blame. The coaches, the players, John Elway, everyone.
1. Mike McCoy
Yup, everything is ugly this week. As I was preparing to take some shots at Mike McCoy for the Broncos’ terrible offensive output this season, I saw the news that he has been fired as offensive coordinator. Way to steal my thunder, Broncos.
I’m not a big fan of kicking a guy while he’s down, so I’ll just say that it’s hard to object to that decision. When your unit is underperforming and contributing to your team’s losing streak week after week after week, it’s not a surprise when you take the fall. After all, a head coach isn’t going to fire himself, but I think it’s also important to point out that McCoy didn’t pick the quarterbacks on this team. He didn’t let his quarterbacks face constant duress. He especially didn’t tell his receivers and tight ends to drop all those passes.
It would be ignorant not to admit that the playcalling and the lack of in-game adjustments have been appalling this season, but it’s naive to think that this mess is all McCoy’s fault. We’ll see if interim coordinator Bill Musgrave can jumpstart this bucket of bolts that the Broncos call an offense and get something (anything!) out of Paxton Lynch. If he can’t, I promise you that McCoy’s head won’t be the first to roll in part due to bad personnel.
2. Virgil Green
On my lengthy Christmas list for the Broncos this year, a new tight end or two is pretty close to the top. I’m not going to be greedy and ask for a Rob Gronkowski or a Travis Kelce. I understand that we’re on a budget, so really I just want someone who can catch the god damn ball on a consistent basis and pose as any sort of receiving threat at the tight end position. Is that too much to ask?
Virgil’s dropped pass yesterday was really just salt in the wound for a weakness the Broncos have had for years. If a quarterback’s best friend is a tight end, then Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler must be pretty lonely this season. Will someone go play video games with them or something over the holidays? Tis the season to think of others.
3. Vance Joseph
Mike McCoy’s dismissal is a clear message to Vance that it’s his head on the chopping block now. I’ll say this for John Elway: he has zero tolerance for losing. How much longer is he going to let the head coach wander through the abyss before he cuts him loose too?
I’m of the belief that it takes about two years to fully evaluate if a coach is the right fit for your team. The exception to that rule is when a coach takes over a team that is used to winning and then watches everything unravel around him. I mean, it’s crazy to think that Elway would fire Joseph so quickly and after working for so long to bring him to the Broncos. Even Josh McDaniels got more than one season to try and prove himself, but nothing would surprise me at this point. Every time the camera shows Elway scowling as he watches his team piss away another game, it seems more and more unlikely that Vance will get a stay of execution in Denver (barring some heroics from Bill Musgrave and Paxton Lynch, that is).
4. Brock Osweiler
Against the Bengals, Brock completed just over 50 percent of his passes with a touchdown pass and an interception. He has three touchdown passes to go with four interceptions in three starts this season. In other words, he’s playing exactly like the Browns are paying him to play quarterback without actually being on the Browns. The Broncos probably should’ve taken that hint before they picked him up back in September.
With Brock having likely started his last game in Denver, and possibly in his career, I’d like to commend him for turning a 5-2 run in 2015 into a nearly $40 million payday. After he retires from football, he should definitely get into public speaking or write one of those how to get rich quick books. I guarantee that people would tune in.
5. John Elway
As Chris Harris Jr. said yesterday after the game, “Everybody in this organization is accountable for how we are playing right now.” I agree with that 100 percent and I think it’s time that Elway took ownership for what’s been happening on the field. Here John, I’ll even help you write your statement.
“It’s my job as general manager of the Broncos to put the organization in the best position to succeed, and I haven’t been doing anywhere near good enough at my job lately. I’ll do my best to adjust how I scout and evaluate players, so that I can help get this team back on track and in contention for Super Bowls once more. Also, I agree with all of you that if Mike McCoy can be fired, then Brock Olivo should’ve been canned weeks ago. I mean, seriously, what the hell are we thinking?”
I mean it’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Give it some thought, John.
Next week’s prediction: Broncos 23, Raiders 17
It’s not unprecedented for a bad team to come out and put up a good performance following the dismissal of a coordinator, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Musgrave coached the Raiders’ offense last season, so maybe he’ll have a chip on his shoulder and his players will want to help him get even. Or maybe the Raiders are secretly about as shitty as the Broncos and will play even more terribly. Whatever the reason, I have a gut feeling the Broncos will come through in Oakland this weekend, followed by instant reactions from fans and media like, “Why did we wait so long to fire McCoy and start Paxton?!!!”
And if they lose, well, just be glad you don’t have to watch them do it on Thanksgiving.