CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The idea for a change began after the Philadelphia game. The Eagles routed the Broncos, and Brock Osweiler looked like a taller, turnover-prone version of the benched Trevor Siemian. The Broncos stuck with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy through two more losses, including the first at home to the Cincinnati Bengals since 1975.
Coach Vance Joseph's patience expired Monday morning. They say the eye in the sky in the NFL does not lie. After watching the game film, Joseph called in McCoy and fired him, replacing him with Bill Musgrave.
McCoy was Joseph's first hire, the man Broncos country believed could revive Denver's awful offense. Ten games into the season he is gone, and oddly, few are surprised. The players liked and respected McCoy, but did not mesh with his game plans. His call sheet on game day often featured more than 250 plays, a dense model that proved inefficient, particularly in the passing game.
"It's our fault we are in this position," right guard Ron Leary said. "But something needed to happen because obviously what we were doing wasn't working. I am not saying it needed to be coach McCoy because he's a great coach. But that's the decision they made."
The reality is that three months into the season, and six straight losses and counting, the Broncos have no offensive identity. Their best attribute remains running the football. Yet, McCoy used three-receiver sets that exposed the quarterback to pressure and endless interceptions. Only the Cleveland Browns have thrown more picks, and no team has more turnovers than Denver over the past six games. It remains to be seen whether Musgrave can make a difference, and whether he will turn to Paxton Lynch. Sooner rather than later Lynch is expected to play. Joseph said that decision will be made after talking with Musgrave on Monday night.
For C.J. Anderson, the news of McCoy's firing hit hard. McCoy consoled him after Sunday's loss, which left Anderson in tears.
"It's just tough. It was my mistake on the fumble and I have owned it," Anderson said. "I text him, and he said I played my (butt) off for him. I thanked him. We will see how it changes. We can go back and look at the Oakland tape. Billy has been doing this for a long time. We trust him just like we trusted Mike."
McCoy's dismissal raises questions about Joseph. Linebacker Brandon Marshall was asked how the players felt about their first-year coach.
"Vance is a great guy, a great coach. This 3-7 record has masked the kind of coach he is. A lot of guys respect him and enjoy him as a coach. He keeps it real and tells the truth. We play good in spurts but we just haven't played great the entire game," Marshall said. "I know how much he cares, and how detailed-oriented he is. It's sad because as a head coach it falls back on him."