ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos have dipped below .500 three different years during John Elway’s tenure as general manager.
Before Monday night, the Broncos hadn’t had a losing record in over 260 weeks, dating back to Week 5 of the 2012 season. Sitting at 2-3, following a 1-2 slump to start the season, Peyton Manning quickly righted the ship, rolling off 11 straight victories to finish 13-3 on the year.
The year before, as Denver sat at 1-4, Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton, and magic simply ensued as the Broncos finished 8-8 and made the playoffs, upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round.
Now, with a 3-4 record, Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph is making drastic changes, similar to those made in 2011. Along with Brock Osweiler replacing Trevor Siemian as the team’s starting quarterback, Joseph is evaluating every starting position, specifically on the offensive side of the ball, in the week leading up to the team’s Week 9 battle against the best team in football, the 7-1 Philadelphia Eagles.
“Right now, everything is being explored after losing three in a row,” Joseph said without reserve to the media. “Having five turnovers [against the Kansas City Chiefs] I think it’s fair to evaluate everything there. With our team working so hard, the guys putting in max effort [Monday night] and not having a chance to win the football game, I think it’s fair to evaluate the quarterback and all positions.”
After pulling the plug with Siemian at the team’s most important position, Joseph proved he isn’t afraid to make other bold changes, specifically on the offense. During Joseph’s press conference, he reiterated the same message over and over again, all centered around upcoming change.
“I think everything is up for discussion at this point of the season,” he said. “I think it’s fair to say that right now everything is being discussed… I think it’s fair to examine [the quarterback] and all positions.”
For the past month, Joseph and the coaching staff have preached that the offensive woes weren’t merely a “Trevor” problem, but more so a “unit” problem, thus giving more credence that just switching quarterbacks won’t be enough.
“I said this ten times, it wasn’t all Trevor’s issues that made this happen,” Joseph explained after announcing the switch at quarterback. “We could have coached better, we could have played better around Trevor, and we understand that.”
Nearing the halfway point of the season, the Broncos have allowed the fourth-most sacks and are in the bottom-third in scoring—averaging just over 18 points per game.
According to Pro Football Focus, nearly half of the offensive starters have played worse than Siemian through the team’s first seven games—Bennie Fowler, Max Garcia, Menelik Watson and Virgil Green. To go along with these starters, role players Jordan Taylor, Jamaal Charles, Allen Barbre and A.J. Derby have all graded worse than the now-benched quarterback as well.
To put this in perspective, don’t forget Siemian had a below-average 76.8 passer rating to go along with a terrible nine touchdown to ten interception ration on the season.
When Joseph was asked if the team is evaluating these other positions to potentially replace, he simply said “Absolutely.”
“It depends on what we see on tape. There have been some positions that haven't been consistently played well. You always consider that. That's the NFL,” he said bluntly. “You have starters, but if a guy isn't getting his job done, you have to change it out for the sake of your football team. So, I'm not opposed to that. If we have a guy that can play better at that position, then we will do that.”
At 3-4, sitting two-and-a-half games back of the Chiefs for the AFC West lead, Joseph has the motivation and proven gumption to put other starters on the bench right next to Siemian.