Broncos look to avoid repeat of last season

Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange
Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph reacts after a play during the second half of a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2018. Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph reacts after a play during the second half of a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2018. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

To say the Denver Broncos' season is at the precipice might be underselling their situation. Three straight losses, an ineffective defense and an anemic offense have Denver sitting at 2-3 with the undefeated Los Angeles Rams coming to town next week.

It's Groundhog Day at Dove Valley. Last year, the Broncos won their first two, started 3-1 and then lost eight straight on their way to a 5-11 finish in head coach Vance Joseph's first season. It's starting to look like the 2018 season will be a repeat of last year, and the players aren't happy.


"Something -- something much deeper -- is happening here that I can't even really understand," defensive end Derek Wolfe told reporters after Denver's 34-16 loss at the New York Jets on Sunday. "Obviously, I'm pissed off. We come off a short week, we're busting our ass, we're playing hard, practicing hard, lifting hard, doing everything we can to be a good player.

"To come out here and lose, the investment is too big. You invest so much money into your body just to take care of your body all week long, thousands of dollars to make sure you're healthy for the game, and come out here and lose, that s-- pisses you off, yeah. It really pisses you off."

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"It's the same s-- every week, I'm tired of talking about the same s-- the last two years."

General manager John Elway built this team on a strong defense, and it won a title in 2015. But attrition, time and coaching changes have taken a toll on the unit. Although linebacker Von Miller and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. are playing at high levels, teams are still running roughshod over Denver's defense.

To wit: The Jets' offense was ranked 29th in the NFL before Sunday and then amassed 512 yards, 323 on the ground.

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Joseph said on his weekly show on KOA radio that "something has to change, we won't move forward as we are, we won't stay the same," and clarified Monday that he was referring to the play on the field.

"We're not going to play how we played (Sunday)," he said. "We're not going to do that, so something's got to change. You don't play that kind of brand of football and keep it all the same. I won't share what we're going to change, but there're going to be changes."


SUPPORT FOR WOODS: One coach who seems to be getting most of the fans' ire is defensive coordinator Joe Woods. Harris said he still has confidence in Woods.

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"I think so. We just watched the game and I think I can honestly say, yeah, one or two bad calls," Harris said Monday. "The rest was poor execution."

KEENUM STRUGGLES: Quarterback Case Keenum passed for 377 yards on Sunday but much of it came after New York built a big lead. Keenum said he had to play better, while Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams said Keenum seemed "scared."

Joseph didn't agree.

"That's Leonard's opinion," Joseph said. "I didn't see that from Case."

KING RELEASED: As expected, the Broncos released punter Marquette King. King was placed on injured reserve with a thigh injury before Sunday's game. Colby Wadman was the punter against New York and fared well.

King sent out a classy tweet thanking the Denver Broncos for his spot on the team: "I'd like to thank John Elway, and the Broncos organization for the chance, injuries suck..."

--CB Adam Jones left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and is considered day to day. Jones has struggled with injuries since signing with Denver just before the start of the season.


--T Garett Bolles was subbed out of Sunday's game with a right ankle injury. Coach Vance Joseph said the second-year player is day to day.

--T Jared Veldheer was inactive due to a left knee injury. His status for Sunday's home game against the 5-0 Los Angeles Rams is unknown.

--P Marquette King was released a few days after being placed on injured reserve.

--QB Case Keenum threw two TD passes on Sunday. They were his first since the season opener against Seattle. He now has five on the season.

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