By Zack Kelberman
DENVER (247 SPORTS) – Anybody who reads my work, follows me on Twitter, listens to my podcast, or watches me on Facebook Live knows I’m a big proponent of coaching. In this business, most games come down to the ability — or lack thereof — of the man under the headset.
And for another week, the Denver Broncos proved they’re hampered by a second-year lame duck who, for the first time, accepted sole responsibility.
Speaking after Sunday’s 19-17 heartbreaker to the Houston Texans, Joseph conceded that his greed ultimately led to the team’s sixth loss of the year, which puts their already slim playoff hopes on life support.
“[Broncos kicker Brandon] McManus has been really good for us. At the half, that’s on me,” he said. “I was trying to get greedy there and get three more points.”
Context: The Broncos’ offense marched in Houston territory in the waning seconds of the first half. But rather than taking a time out and conferring on a decision, or opting to punt, Joseph hastily green-lit a 62-yard field goal attempt by McManus, which was pushed wide. The miss gave the Texans a short field and enough time to squeeze in a FG of their own, taking a 16-10 lead into the half.
It was a six-point swing in a two-point loss. The difference was Joseph, whose situational in-game awareness is continually called into question.
More context: Denver again moved the ball down the field in the closing moments of the fourth quarter. Needing a field goal, they got within range but allowed too much time to tick away before setting up a 51-yard attempt that McManus again missed as the clock expired.
“It was gut-wrenching for our guys,” Joseph said. “I want to win for them.”
The Broncos aren’t going to win until they’re led by example. Joseph has demonstrated zero progression from year one to year two; he’s still the same deer-in-the-headlights coach whose squad melts down in the clutch. Inconsistently is an earmark of the Joseph era, which may end as soon as this week, with Denver entering its bye.
And it extends from the field to the podium.
“I don’t have a problem with how we are coaching and playing,” he said. “We just need to finish.”
He should have a major problem, because the results simply aren’t acceptable. Far from it. This team boasts too much talent to only beat the hapless Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders and not-as-strong Seattle Seahawks. With better coaching, they sits at 6-3, not 3-6.
Fourteen days now separates the Broncos from their next contest: a road meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers. In that span, Joseph said he doesn’t foresee any “major changes” being made to the staff or personnel.