Thank Goodness It’s Orange Friday because I have many random thoughts about the Broncos.
The Broncos’ two finalists for the head coaching jobs during the off-season currently are a combined 4-15 as head coaches this season.
If John Elway, who is a world-class amateur golfer, was given a mulligan, would he now pick Vance Joseph or Kyle Shanahan, or somebody else? A national TV NFL analyst recently said in a private conversation he would “buy stock in the 49ers’ future, but not the Broncos’.”
Dave Toub, the Chiefs special teams coordinator, and the third man out for the Broncos’ lead job, still is coaching on a team that leads the AFC West (6-3). The Broncos’ defensive coordinator from last year, good ol’ Wade Phillips, has the same job with the Los Angeles Rams, who are first in the NFL West with a 7-2 record. The Broncos declined to sign him to a new contract. Last season’s special teams coordinator, Joe DeCamillis, is in that capacity this year with the Jaguars, who are 6-3 and lead the AFC South with a 6-3 record. He was fired by the Broncos.
Clancy Barone, who was released as the Broncos’ offensive line coach following the 2016 season, is tight ends coach with the Vikings. Minnesota leads the NFC North with a 7-2 record. And Rick Dennison, ousted as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, was hired to the same position with the Bills, who are 5-4 and second in the AFC East.
The Broncos are 3-6.
Do you think all those coaches would rather be with the Broncos or their present teams?
Two of Joseph’s predecessors are coaches on teams with a combined mark of 10-8. Josh McDaniels has been in Colorado Springs all week after the Patriots’ imposing victory against the Broncos. He is, of course, New England’s offensive coordinator, and has won five Super Bowl rings before and after his short time with the Broncos.
John Fox is the embattled coach of the Bears, but his record this year is identical to the Broncos’, and he has won one more road game than his former team. Adam Gase, who was turned down as the Broncos’ coach when Gary Kubiak was hired, has a 4-5 mark as the Dolphins this season, but did guide Miami to the playoffs last year, an achievement the Broncos did not duplicate.
Kyle Sloter, who was cut by the Broncos after an impressive stint during the exhibition season, is with the 7-2 Vikings as a backup quarterback (now third on the depth chart with the return of Teddy Bridgewater).
T.J. Ward’s change has turned out to be somewhat a downgrade. The Broncos’ former starting safety has started only one game in the seven he’s played for the Buccaneers. He was limited earlier by an injury. Ward has one fumble recovery and 16 tackles. The Bucs also are 3-6.
Since beginning 2016 with four consecutive triumphs, the Broncos have lost 13 of 21 games. In their past 15 games the Broncos are 5-10.
Rather alarming, the Broncos, dominant in the past at home, have lost five games in 2016-17 at Mile High Stadium. Over two seasons they are 2-4 against teams from the division, and have games left at Oakland and in Denver against the Chiefs. The Broncos were 28-4 at home from 2012-2015.
The Broncos have been outscored on the road in four games 127-58, with the defense allowing almost 32 points a game, and the offense averaging 14.5.
At home the Broncos have been outscored barely, 112-108. The Broncos are averaging 21.6 points at home. The Broncos’ defense is second overall in yards allowed, but 29th in points permitted per game.
The Broncos have the NFL’s best streak of 31 consecutive victories when they win the turnover stat. However, they are last in the league this season in giveaways/takeaway ration at minus-14, having dropped below, ye gads, the Browns (minus-13).
Yet, the Broncos are favored by 2½ points over the Bengals, who also are 3-6.
Here’s some very good news: Before the season, based on NFL teams’ 2016 records, the Broncos confronted the most difficult schedule. However, of their final seven opponents, only one (the Chiefs) has a winning record now. The rest are in Broncos’ territory at 3-6, 3-7, 4-5 (two) and 4-6 (two), but four games are on the road against teams similar to the Broncos.
Would Elway prefer a do-over on coaches and the draft?