The running theme of the offseason was whether or not Vance Joseph and his coaching staff could improve from their poor performance in 2017. After the first four weeks of the season, the short answer has to be no. When the Denver Broncos lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, it wasn’t the blowout some expected, but there was only one glaring issue.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the postgame recap, Vance Joseph and his staff seem unprepared for NFL action. Joe Woods continually puts the defense in the wrong scheme. Bill Musgrave forgets he has a legit one-two punch at running back. It is a disgrace to watch this staff ruin this talented group.
Sure, we could talk about Keenum missing Demaryius Thomas for an easy touchdown at the end of the game. And we could bemoan his accuracy issues. We could discuss how Brandon Marshall continues to be a liability in coverage, or the lack of depth in the secondary. But none of that mattered.
In truth, the Broncos went into their matchup with Kansas City looking like a team that was going to have 50 points scored on them. It was a legitimate concern for this writer. However, the defense was able to hold one of the highest scoring offenses in the league to just 27 points. Just imagine what the score would have looked like if the coaches knew what plays to call.
No. The one big takeaway from this four-point loss is all about the inability of the coaching staff to put their players in a position to succeed.
On the offensive side of the ball, how can anyone think not handing the ball to Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay all day was a good idea. Freeman had 8 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown. That’s 8.4 yards per carry! Am I missing something? Lindsay carried the ball 12 times for 69 yards and a score. Surely I’m not the only one noticing this, right?
Vance needs to reign Musgrave in on passing so much with that ground attack, if the Broncos want to win this year.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 2, 2018
How can Bill Musgrave not notice his stud rookies averaging 6.8 yards per carry? Is it stubbornness? Stupidity? A lack of football knowledge? If I saw it, he must have seen it.
Let’s not forget the pitiful decisions made by Joe Woods down the stretch. The defense scratched and clawed all game, overcoming pitiful offensive series after series. Even still, Joe Woods figured out a way to allow the Chiefs to go from 2nd and forever to getting a first down.
Booger McFarland of the ESPN broadcast saw it, questioning why they were in man to man. Surely Joe Woods understands, right? He understands on 3rd and extra long at the end of the game you play off, and don’t allow a scrambling Mahomes to make things happen, right?
How many times will the Broncos allow Mahomes to escape the pocket and throw the dwn field.
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) October 2, 2018
And did he not notice that Patrick Mahomes was better when he was flushed outside the pocket? Perhaps a little more contain on the kid that seems to love school yard plays more than anything? My confusion just continued to grow throughout the game. No adjustments were made. No changes to try and eliminate big plays. Just relying on the talents of the players.
Don’t get me wrong. Football is played by players, but isn’t the job of the coaching staff to prepare the team? Isn’t it their job to put the players in the best possible position to win? And it wasn’t like Andy Reid outcoached anyone. Vance Joseph et al. just couldn’t make the right call. The real concern is how simple it seemed to be for everyone else, and how difficult it was for the Broncos coaches.
This is an indictment of the head coach, but it does not excuse the offensive and defensive coordinators. The worst part? Having to learn a whole new playbook in 2019.