Musings From The Mile High Report – Week 16

Thomas RitchieMusings From the Mile High ReportLeave a Comment

Ian St. Clair from The Mile High Report joins us for his latest article on, ahead of potentially the Broncos’ final game in Oakland.

Vance Joseph has turned into the prevent defense of the Denver Broncos. He prevents this team from winning. On the rare occasions Denver has won the last two seasons, 11 times at the moment, it’s been despite Joseph and his efforts to lose those games. In the 19 times the Broncos have lost, the players on the field have not been able to overcome Joseph and Co.’s horrendous coaching. The decision to not go for it on fourth down and rather kick the field goal in the 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns is the latest example of just how out of his element Joseph is. When this season mercifully comes to an end, John Elway and the organization need to move on.

The end of Shane Ray in Denver?

The decision to bench Shane Ray and Su’a Cravens versus the Browns all but ends their time in Denver. When a team would rather get a look at younger players on the roster, in a game you’re still “alive,” you don’t get a clearer sign than that.  

Ownership problems

As someone who was in newspapers for close to a decade, what stands out to me the most about the Elway, Joe Ellis and Mike Shanahan news is the timing. This was neither an accident nor a coincidence. Let the speculation begin as to why all of this came out this week. The other big takeaway from this is the meddling from Ellis. As the president and CEO of the Broncos, he’s the defacto owner. He also runs the business side of the organization. To give you an indication of how that operation is functioning, the stadium in which the team plays in still can’t get a corporate sponsor to put its name on it. Now he’s interfeing on the football side of the organization. Regardless of how you feel about the Shanahan rehire report and Elway trying to get the band back together for a second time, Ellis meddling on the football operations side reeks of dysfunction. I’ve said for well over the last year that there is no leadership at the top, and here is the latest example.   

That lack of leadership at the top is a major reason why the franchise is in the position it’s in right now. Not only does no one know the path to take, there’s no one to find a path or create a new one. I often highlight the (horrible) history Joseph has made as the Broncos coach, but that falls on the entire franchise. Joseph didn’t hire himself and decide to keep him for a second year. Here’s a look at some of the history made so far, and history that the team is on the verge of making:

  • Longest losing streak in 50 years (eight games)
  • First shutout loss in 25 years (21-0 to the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017)

  • One more loss in 2018 will make this the first Broncos team since 1971-72 to have back-to-back losing seasons

  • Since Pat Bowlen became owner in 1984, Denver has more Super Bowl appearances (seven) than losing seasons (six). That unbelievable accomplishment vanishes with another loss.

That’s not just on Joseph, that’s on the organization. Broncos Country is used to this franchise making history, just not like this.

The Lindsay story continues…

The story Phillip Lindsay continues to write is remarkable. If we were to see this on Netflix, we wouldn’t believe it. “Too good to be true,” some might say. What makes the story even better, is the main character makes it fun to root for him. The fact that Lindsay is now the first undrafted offensive rookie to make it to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season in NFL history, is just the latest chapter. It must be the number he’s wearing. As for Von Miller, we’re seeing the greatest defensive player in franchise history strap on his helmet and do his thing. For an organization that has some of the best defensive players in the history of the game, that says it all about Miller. But as with Lindsay, Miller makes it so easy to pull for him. What Miller is doing to better the Denver and Colorado community is so much more valuable than what he’s doing on the field. I use the phrase “Pat Bowlen Bronco,” and both Lindsay and Miller fall into that category.

Two games to go…

As long as Joseph is no longer the head coach come New Year’s Eve, it doesn’t matter what the final record is. Elway and the Broncos can begin the process to fix this aspect of the franchise that is broken. But I fear as long as the organization doesn’t have leadership at the top, not much will change.

On to Oakland

As Adam Malnati and I discussed on the latest MHR Radio Podcast, the fact that there are fans and media members who say this is no longer a rivalry bothers me to no end. The Oakland Raiders are and always will be the Broncos’ biggest rival. One way the organization can help this rivalry remain so strong is to have former linebacker Tom Jackson speak to the team, either at training camp or before the first Raiders game, on the importance of this rivalry, how it came to be and why it matters so much. Heck, for those who say this isn’t a rivalry anymore, try telling that to Jackson and see how he responds. Think of it this way: Have you ever heard a Chicago Bears or Green Bay Packers fan say, “Welp, this isn’t a rivalry anymore?” I was born and raised to do two things: Be a fan of the Broncos and hate the Raiders. So what better way to send that joke of a franchise to Las Vegas than on a beautiful loss? I’ll go Broncos 27-17.

You can listen to Ian and the rest of the Mile High Report gang on iTunes and Spotify.

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