Woody Paige: The Denver Broncos should fire Vance Joseph after fifth straight loss

The coach’s initials are VJ. They should be reversed.

Vance Joseph is functioning more like a Junior Varsity coach than the leader of a National Football League team.

He should be fired, demoted or shifted to the scouting department.

Joseph, sadly, is not worthy of being the head coach of the once-mighty Denver Broncos, who have fallen on hard times, and their swords.

Not one of the past eight Broncos coaches started their careers in Denver with a worse record than Joseph’s 3-6. Not even Josh McDaniels (6-3).

Frank Filchock, the first Broncos coach, had one of the worst groups in the history of pro football, and his team began 4-5, and his successor, Jack Faulkner, who inherited the 3-11 Broncos in 1962, was 7-2 after nine games.

This is Mac Speedie kind of stuff, and his time as Broncos coach passed quickly. He replaced Faulkner after four games in ’64, and the Broncos went 2-7-1. They were 4-10 in 1965 and lost their first two games in ’66. Speedie was fired.

What took so long?

Sometimes you have to cut bait immediately when you realize you’re fishing in the wrong spot.

When asked on Sunday night why Isaiah McKenzie, who fumbled for the fifth time on a return this season, was sent back out later, Joseph replied: “Because he is our return man.”

Those are grounds for dismissal for the rookie head coach.

The rookie “return man,” or “Butterfingers,” has 186 yards on 20 punt returns (a 9.3-yard average). It’s not as if he’s been valuable, or competent.

The Spuds McKenzie in the opening minutes of the game led directly to the Patriots’ blastoff and eventual blowout of the Broncos.

Before the Broncos’ game in Los Angeles against the nomadic Chargers, I told two prominent Denver mediarites: “The Broncos will end up losing five games in a row.”

Both scoffed.

The Broncos have lost five in a row.

The ludicrous streak already was underway with a home defeat to the winless Giants – after the Broncos had barely beaten the Raiders following a pathetic defeat in Buffalo.

In their last seven games the Broncos have scored 100 points.

Exactly 1-0-0.

That’s an average of 14.2 points per game. And the 16 measly points against New England was not an anomaly, but a trend.  It was the third time the Broncos scored only 16. They also had nil in the soccer stadium in that Chargers game I just mentioned and 10 in another.

And a defense that was once this season, and the two before it, considered the best in all of the league has been lit up for more than 90 points in the past two games – albeit against two teams that could meet in the Super Bowl.

The Broncos won’t meet anyone at the Super Bowl unless it’s to tailgate in the parking lot or to attend pre-game parties in Atlanta.

John Elway won’t fire Joseph. He wouldn't admit he made a mistake.

However, Joseph could be assigned to help Joe Woods coordinate the defense. Perhaps the two of them could try to replicate what Wade Phillips accomplished here. Wade currently is coordinator of the one of the NFL’s hottest four teams – the Rams.

Mike McCoy should be promoted to interim coach, and Bill Musgrave should be named the interim offensive coordinator. At least, both have experience in those jobs. And notice I didn’t say “permanent coach.”

Brock Olivo must be fired as special teams coach while I’m writing this column. That lack of effort by the non-special (awful) teams, which provided the Patriots with 24 points, was the worst I’ve seen while covering the Broncos since 1974.

Chris Gould, the assistant special teams coach, can take over. He can’t be shoddier than a guy whose prior experience primarily was with an Italian Football League team and the Italian national team.

I tweeted during the Broncos game with the Eagles that our local lads stink.  Derek Wolfe offered this appraisal after the Patriots game: “We stink.”

The 2017 season is a lost cause. The Broncos should shift to Paxton Lynch for the home game with the Jets. They should go to a no-huddle, hurry-up offense. They should throw over the middle. They should bring up guys from the practice squad and cut McKenzie and six others. But nothing much will matter.

The Broncos probably are doomed to finish last in the AFC West, tied with the equally hopeless Chargers.

Elway said to me years ago he was assembling a team for “now and now on.” He liked the line, so he continues to use it. He should abide by his slogan now.

The JV coach, VJ, should go. And take BO with him.

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