John Elway shares your pain, Broncos Country.
In his weekly interview on Orange and Blue 760, Denver’s general manager ruminated over the team’s blowout loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, terming it “very, very disappointing.”
“I will tell you this: I was as disappointed as everybody out there is disappointed … I thought we’d go into New York and play a heck of a lot better than we did,” he said.
Favored against a spiraling 1-3 Jets squad, the Broncos proceeded to lay an egg at MetLife Stadium. The score (34-16) does little to reflect how they were outplayed, outcoached and outclassed by Gang Green. It was the type of loss — their third in a row — that brought about unhinged fan criticism and outward player frustration; the psyche-damaging type that lingers throughout the course of the year.
Head coach Vance Joseph and defensive coordinator Joe Woods have come under the most intense fire after New York logged a single-game franchise record 323 rushing yards, absolutely dominating Denver’s previously-stout run defense.
Elway didn’t give a glowing endorsement to either coach. He lamented the Jets executing “some things motion-wise” that crippled Denver.
“Coaches, like players, have bad weeks, too, and I don’t think it was the best scheme that we had set up last week,” he said. “There’s not a quick fix.”
This echoed Joseph’s Monday press conference in which he explained what went wrong in Week 5.
“It was all of it,” he said. “They had a pretty good scheme where they were pushing the ball to the outside corner. We’ve got to tackle better there. In the first touchdown, we had two guys unblocked. We didn’t tackle the guy, he goes for 70-plus yards. They ran the same scheme three or four times, we adjusted on our end to push the ball inside and it still bounced to the corner. They had a good scheme to make the corners tackle and that play is designed to do that. We’ve got to tackle better at corner and obviously keep the ball inside the defense. We can help those guys schematically also. At the end of the day, one-on-one with a halfback in this league, you’ve got to tackle him.”
Elway’s criticism extended to both sides of the ball, however. The offensive ground game, though dominant when (sparingly) employed, was ineffective in short-yard situations as the Broncos finished just 4-for-14 on third downs.
“If we’re going to run the ball like we’re going to run the ball, you’ve also got to be better on third-down situations,” Elway said.
More disconcerting than any one issue is the Broncos’ propensity to shoot themselves in the foot. Penalties, turnovers, missed tackles, blown assignments, and coaching mismanagement doom the club on a weekly basis. They’re underachieving despite a massively improved roster and a relatively easy schedule — part of the reason why Joseph’s seat is scalding hot.
And Elway isn’t handing out aloe.
“We’ve got to play football like we’re capable of playing,” he said. “We haven’t played up to our capabilities yet, in my opinion … As I told Vance [Joseph], if we don’t stop beating ourselves, we’re not going to beat anybody.”