DENVER -- Heraclitus advocated that “there is nothing permanent except change.”
Vance Joseph should have realized that the Greek philosopher’s hypothesis still is true 2,500 years later.
Permanency is temporary. Particularly with NFL quarterbacks.
Sometimes permanent means only “five-seven weeks” or until after a Broncos game with the Chiefs.
Three consecutive and four of five, Broncos coaches learned the awkward way.
In 2006, following a 19-10 loss in Kansas City, Mike Shanahan switched from quarterback Jake Plummer to rookie Jay Cutler.
In 2010, in the Broncos’ fifth game, John Fox benched starter Kyle Orton and inserted Tim Tebow. The next week Tebow was named the starter. The previous season, once Josh “Mistake” McDaniels was fired a day after the Broncos fell in K.C., Orton was replaced by Tebow for the final three games.
In 2015, when the Broncos were trailing at home to the Chiefs, Gary Kubiak sent in Brock Osweiler in the second half and, historically, removed the legendary Peyton Manning. The backup started the last seven regular-season games, then was pulled from the finale in favor of Manning.
And, on Monday, Trevor Siemian, after a third straight defeat, in Kansas City, was essentially demoted by Joseph.
In mid-August, the Broncos’ Cerberus (a multi-headed mythological Greek monster) – Joseph, John Elway, Matt Russell, Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave – chose Siemian as the Broncos’ quarterback to start the season.
I was not amazed by Joseph’s announcement. I was stunned, though, when he declared: “It’s a permanent decision. Obviously, outside of injury, that’s different. But, as far as Trevor being our guy, he’s our guy . . . It was just getting it right so we’re not back-pedaling in two weeks.”
That assertion was a rookie mistake.
As a newspaper columnist, radio talk show and national TV commentator, and regularly contributor to The Denver Channel (KMGH-TV) during two different eras, I knew he was wrong. I’ve witnessed 14 different seasons in which the starting quarterback was not “permanent.” Change is constant, and usually inevitable, unless the quarterback is Elway or Manning – and even Manning was taken out.
At least, Joseph didn’t back-pedal after two weeks. The Broncos did win their first three games of 2017.
But Joseph should have erased Siemian’s “permanent” status in the second half of the Giants game. Osweiler suddenly was thrust into action late in the second quarter when Siemian re-injured his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was hurt last season and required surgery in the off-season.
Instead of keeping Osweiler in the game for the second half, Joseph returned to Siemian, and the Broncos were upset by one of the three worse teams in the NFL.
Joseph should have swallowed hard in Los Angeles at halftime and yanked Siemian. But he left the mediocre QB in, and the Broncos were shut out by the Chargers.
Then, on Monday night, although Siemian was experiencing the worst game of his two-year stint as a starter, Joseph never made a switch.
The Broncos had scored three touchdowns in 18 quarters, and were averaging 18 points a game in six (including 42 points against the Cowboys).
In the 29-19 defeat, Siemian regressed. He threw for a rare touchdown, but gave up three ridiculous interceptions (and has 10 interceptions with nine touchdown throws) and had a 43.5 quarterback rating.
After the game, Joseph was critical of Siemian.
And the coach had transformed from August’s “It’s permanent” to October’s “Anything’s possible” about the quarterback situation.
As everyone awaited Joseph’s media conference at mid-day on Tuesday, national football authorities disagreed about whether Paxton Lynch -- who was injured in the next-to-last exhibition and hadn’t played since, and only practiced three days (last week) – or Osweiler -- who had been signed after the Lynch injury as an emergency measure – would be selected the fresh starting quarterback for the game in Philadelphia Sunday after a short week of preparation.
Presumably, Joseph met with the Broncos’ brain-trust on Tuesday morning. He certainly talked with Elway, who makes all the major organization decisions.
And here’s the BIG PROCLAMATION from Joseph:
“Nothing is done yet. Everything is being explored. It’s my job to do what’s best for the football team, and that I will do,’’ the coach stated through denverbroncos.com before his press briefing.
BoncosCountry is peeved, and Heraclitus would be, too.