Ian St. Clair from The Mile High Report joins us for his latest article on DenverBroncosUK.com, ahead of final game of the season.
The Christmas Eve Nightmare was a perfect storm where anything and everything that could go wrong, did. It also highlighted the biggest problem with this team right now: Vance Joseph. The Denver Broncos on the field looked like their head coach on the sideline — wholly incompetent and out of their element. I feel sorry for anyone who had to watch that garbage, Broncos fan or not.
Since Joseph became the head coach, Broncos Country has had to stomach a lot of putrid history. But that game on Monday night versus the Oakland Raiders is the pinnacle. Not just because of how the team looked on the field but because of the history Denver could have avoided and made. Had the Broncos shown up, played well and won, they would have increased the odds of not being the first team in 46 years to have back-to-back losing seasons. They would have kept alive one of the most amazing accomplishments in sports the last 35 years under Pat Bowlen — more Super Bowl appearances (seven) than losing seasons (six). That’s now gone. And Denver could have sent the hated Raiders to Las Vegas having lost the last game in Oakland. Alas, not even that was enough to motivate this team.
Gotsis Showed Up
Adam Gotsis played a helluva game along the Broncos defensive line. At least the Aussie showed up. The defensive end finished with two tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, one pass defended and one quarterback hit. But the biggest positive is we’re so close to Joseph no longer being the head coach, we can almost touch it.
If John Elway does it right, he’ll leave the decisions on the coaching staff to the next head coach. There are arguments for receivers coach Zach Azzanni, offensive line (guards/centers) Sean Kugler, running backs Curtis Modkins, linebackers Reggie Herring and defensive line Bill Kollar. I for one would not want to inform Kollar he no longer has a job in Denver given he wrestled a bear.
A Chance For Freeman?
The wrist injury to Phillip Lindsay is added salt in the eyes and a stomach punch to the franchise and fans. Though I think Lindsay should just club his hand up and still play in the Pro Bowl. I know it won’t happen, but that would be fun. As for who gets the reps now that Lindsay is out, it has to be Freeman. The way he flashed brilliance before his high ankle sprain against the Arizona Cardinals is enough for me to want him to get every touch. I think the struggles of Freeman are connected to his ankle injury, so hopefully he can give the franchise a good look on Sunday. In the process, that will give him confidence to bust his ass in the offseason to become a running back who makes a difference any time he’s on the field.
The Nightmare comes to an end…
What I want to see most on Sunday is Joseph coaching his final game in Denver. Aside from that, look and play like you care. At least pretend, because against the Raiders, that’s wasn’t the case at all. In terms of individual accomplishments, I’d like to see Bradley Chubb get as close to the rookie sack record (14.5) as he can. Entering Sunday’s game, Chubb sits at 12 sacks. To stick with the Orange Rush, Von Miller sits two sacks from 100 for his career and would be the fourth-fastest player in history to reach that mark. If all of that happens, it means Philip Rivers will be hit often on Sunday, which is always a good thing.
Given what happened the last time these two teams played and how the Los Angeles Chargers responded (see Keenan Allen saying the Broncos “suck”), and all that Rivers and Co. are playing for, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chargers blow Denver out of the building on Sunday.
An inevitable end?
Since his arrival in Denver, Joseph has made (horrible) history a far too frequent occurrence. Why stop on Sunday versus the Chargers? You thought the back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in 46 years was nauseating, how about the first back-to-back double-digit loss seasons in 51? Joseph might as well go out in a blaze of glory to solidify his place in Broncos’ history. Chargers 31-17.
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