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John Elway, not Vance Joseph, Is Responsible for Broncos’ Woes

Denver, Colo — The Denver Broncos, and more specifically their fans, are not used to losing. Sunday night in Denver marked the second time in as many home games that the Broncos have been booed as they left the field for half time.

Denver is reeling, and there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Denver entered Sunday night having lost four consecutive games, and they had benched a starting quarterback. Oh, and the Broncos were playing host to Tom Brady.

New England took Denver to the woodshed. The Patriots landed an early haymaker or two, and the Broncos never countered with an uppercut, or even a body blow.

Sure, Denver scored some points, but they never threatened New England – Denver was more of an aggravating fly or mosquito buzzing in Tom Brady’s ear. Speaking of which, Brady and co cruised in Mile High Stadium, which had been a house of horrors for the signal caller in years past.

At halftime, Vance Joseph told Michele Tafoya that the main problem Denver had was special teams.

It is true that special teams was a problem, but horrible special teams play is not why Denver lost. Yes, Denver was down 18 at the half, and 17 could be attributed to special teams, but there were other factors at work.

Denver’s vaunted defense is no longer daunting. At this point in the season, the defense is just average at best.

The offense is inconsistent, and downright pitiful as they approach the red zone. While it is true that Denver doesn’t have an elite quarterback, they also have a porous offensive line, and only two viable receiving threats – Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.

Now back to special teams, Isaiah McKenzie continues to struggle in the return game. McKenzie muffed yet another kick/punt to open the game, which led to a touchdown. Not to be outdone, the kickoff coverage unit soon allowed a kick-return touchdown.

Denver has not lost five consecutive games because of lackluster special teams.

Denver has lost four games because they are simply a mediocre-at-best football team, but there are other factors at play – think bigger, more systemic.

To start, Denver has failed to fill needs through the draft, though not for lack of trying. Draft pick after draft pick continues to underwhelm. The offensive line continues to struggle, and Denver continues to lack offensive weapons outside of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Garrett Bolles is showing flashes of being a franchise left tackle, but he was a first-round pick. You’d want more consistency from a first-round pick.

Secondly, Denver has failed to address the glaring need at quarterback. Heck, Denver doesn’t even appear to have a plan to address the quarterback issue.

Denver let Brock Osweiler walk because they didn’t want to pay him, but he’s ironically their starting quarterback yet again. Also, they panicked and drafted Paxton Lynch in the first-round of the 2016 draft, but he has yet to see extended action.

Paxton has lost the job to Trevor Siemian on two separate occasions, which begs the question: If Lynch is your quarterback of the future, why leave it to chance? And finally, the better question, is Lynch simply not that good? I, for one, feel Denver reached for Lynch.

Finally, Denver made a questionable head coaching hire. Vance Joseph was named their head coach in January over names like Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay.

What exactly has been accomplished under Joseph? Denver has regressed on defense, which was his specialty, continued to struggle on offense, and the special teams are a nightmare. All in all, Denver is a complete and utter trainwreck.

John Elway is revered among Denver fans, and rightfully so. As both a player and executive, Elway has led Denver to Seven Super Bowl appearances, winning three of the seven.

However, the popularity and success of Elway led to a blind trust being placed in him. Bronco fans commonly used phrases like, “In Elway We Trust.”

Before I go further, let me say this: I don’t think Elway is bad executive. However, I do think he is often given more slack than other executives due to his immense popularity.

Every general manager is going to make mistakes, but it is becoming a concerning trend for Elway of late. To recap, he has botched a coaching hire, failed to find a quarterback, and continued to be subpar in drafting of late.

Name a player drafted in the last two drafts that looks like a sure-fire star at a position of need – Quarterback, Wide Receiver 3, TE, O-Line, and Inside Linebacker. I’ll wait, but you will be hard-pressed to find a sure thing.

When assessing Denver’s problems, you must then find the root of those problems. The root of the Broncos problems start at the top. Denver is not losing because of a bad head coach, subpar quarterbacks, or a faltering defense.

The Broncos are losing because of all three things, among a plethora of other issues. The culprit for the continued issues that plague Denver can be found in the front office, and his name is John Elway.

John Gillon

John Gillon

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Denver Broncos Senior Analyst providing - hopefully - non-biased, intelligent analysis. An example: Denver has been less than optimal at the quarterback position.


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