By Zack Kelberman
DENVER (247 SPORTS) – At a Habitat for Humanity event on Thursday morning, Denver Broncos president Joe Ellis huddled with the media and, inevitably, unavoidably, discussed the status of the team’s embattled head coach.
Is this the dreaded “vote of confidence” for Vance Joseph?
“They know the deal. They experienced last year and they know what needs to be done to fix it, move forward, try and improve and get better and play some good football for the remaining 11 games,” Ellis said, via the Denver Post. “We’re all pulling for him and supporting him and we’ll see where this goes.”
Not exactly a glowing endorsement from Ellis, who admitted he’s spoken with general manager John Elway “a couple of times” and “there was a lot of frustration that came out last week,” when Denver was shellacked by the New York Jets.
In a thinly-veiled effort to cull optimism, Ellis claimed “I’m not concerned about spiraling downhill” despite facing a potential four-game losing streak with the undefeated Los Angeles Rams coming to town.
“… I’m looking forward to us bouncing back this week,” he said. “That’s where our focus is. I believe we’ll be ready for the Rams on Sunday. A big challenge for us. A lot of football to be played. Five games in, obviously, disappointed with the last three weeks because we set high standards for ourselves. Last week (a 34-16 loss at the Jets) was very disappointing, but you move forward from it. You have no choice. I think our players, our coaches and all our football staff understand that.”
Favored against a spiraling 1-3 Jets squad, the Broncos proceeded to lay an egg at MetLife Stadium. The score does little to reflect how they were outplayed, outcoached and outclassed by Gang Green. It was the type of loss that brought about unhinged fan criticism and outward player frustration; the psyche-damaging type that lingers throughout the course of the year.
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. They also picked apart the secondary formerly known as the No Fly Zone, which has devolved from a pillar of strength into a source of weakness.
Elway, in his weekly radio interview Tuesday, didn’t praise either coach. He lamented the Jets executing “some things motion-wise” that crippled Denver amid a “very, very” disappointing defeat.
“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.”
“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.
Ellis can preach positivity all he’d like, but, reading between the lines, Joseph’s seat is white-hot. If the Broncos are embarrassed at home Sunday, and follow that with a Thursday night road loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the team’s brain trust would have no choice other than to say uncle.