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Vance Joseph sticks with Trevor Siemian as starting quarterback

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Posted at 1:08 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-23 16:10:09-04

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Picture him walking off the field after the Dallas Cowboys game, standing at the podium, smiling in the locker room. With six touchdowns and a 2-0 record, Trevor Siemian had arrived.

A month later, everything has changed, with increasingly disgruntled fans wanting him removed as starter in favor of Brock Osweiler.

And yet Monday, Joseph continued to stick with Siemian, insisting many share the blame -- coaches, players -- for an offense that has scored three touchdowns in four games.

"We have to do a better job as a unit. It's not just Trevor. Now he can play better. He hasn't been perfect. But, it's a unit problem," Joseph said. "If we get better as a unit, he will get better. We've seen it. I'm not concerned about Trevor. It's a unit deal."

Whispers for a pocket change morphed into roars following Sunday's embarrassing loss.

Siemian guided the Broncos to their third defeat in four games against the Los Angeles Chargers, stamped with the indignity of going scoreless for the first time since 1992.

Siemian was 1-year old when the Raiders shut out the Broncos. He is two years into his life as an NFL regular, but has created a compelling case to be benched.

Make no mistake, the Broncos' offensive issues go well beyond Siemian. When they can't run, they can't win. Their tackles require improvement in pass protection -- Allen Barbre and Garett Bolles struggled mightily against the Chargers -- the red zone is a buzzkill, and receivers continue to lose one-on-one battles with alarming regularity.

"We are losing on first down," Joseph said. "We have to coach differently. We will do more walk-throughs. We have to get better. Something is not clicking with our players as far as doing things right, so we have to coach differently." 

In the aftermath of the worst offensive performance in decades, Siemian remains the target of criticism. He has turned the ball over nine times, including six over the last four games. The Broncos have one touchdown in their last 34 possessions. The way the slump has changed Siemian is tangible.

For the first time since at Kansas City last season, he appeared skittish, uncomfortable, and, predictably, inaccurate. He finished 25 of 35 for 207 yards, artificially bloated stats given his 89 yards passing after three quarters.

Joseph explained he never considered sitting Siemian, who hurt his left shoulder against the New York Giants and absorbed a cannon-blast shot from Melvin Ingram that left Siemian's nose scraped and mouths agape at StubHub Center.

Siemian is capable, Joseph said, if the Broncos achieve balance. That has vanished. After averaging 159 rushing yards per game the first two weeks, Denver has averaged 57.5 the past two weeks.

Why?

Opponents are defending the Broncos differently, loading defenders near the line of scrimmage. And with Denver showing no ability to throw down the field, there's no reason to switch up.

And for now, the Broncos are not making a quarterback change, either.

Footnotes

If nothing else, the Broncos will be healthier this week. Emmanuel Sanders (ankle), Isaiah McKenzie (ankle) and Menelik Watson (calf) are day-to-day, opening the possibility they will play Monday at Kansas City. ... Cody Latimer (knee) is making progress and could practice this week. ... Tight end Jake Butt (knee) will be an interesting candidate to be ready for his season debut this week. ... Joseph has no plans to change the order of runningbacks. C.J. Anderson remains the starter. "I am not down on C.J.," Joseph said. 


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Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.