It’s almost over.
There are only four games remaining on the Denver Broncos’ schedule, and those four games can’t seem to come quickly enough. In what has been one of the weirdest, most disappointing seasons to date, the Broncos are almost out out of their nightmare for the time being.
What’s been most disappointing about the 2017 season isn’t necessarily that the Broncos have lost so many games, but it’s been the way that they’ve lost those games. In the middle of their longest losing streak in 50 years, the Broncos have really only been competitive one time.
For a team that paraded through the streets of Denver with a Lombardi Trophy in their hands not even two years ago, that’s embarrassing. But what’s been most frustrating about the 2017 season is that it has felt, from an outsider’s perspective, like it hasn’t been embarrassing enough for the Broncos to do something about it.
Every Sunday feels like deja vu. You can almost count on at least one special teams mistake a game. There were a handful during the Miami Dolphins’ 35-9 blowout victory over the Broncos. Until Monday, Isaiah McKenzie, the snakebitten rookie punt returner, kept being placed in a position to hurt his team.
They fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy three weeks ago, but that hasn’t made much of a difference. We expect the turnovers and penalties to compound and the defense to break its back as a result. We’ve watched the same movie eight times in a row, and until Tuesday there was no reason to believe we won’t watch it four more times before the curtain officially falls on the season.
Adam Gase going for the Broncos’ jugular on Sunday was the best thing that could’ve possibly happened. When John Elway spoke to the team’s radio partner on Tuesday, he said what Broncos Country wanted to hear.
“We’re going to finish the season out,” Elway said. “Obviously we know the expectations of the Denver Broncos. This has been a tough year. It’s not what the Broncos are about. I’m embarrassed about the fact that this has happened and I will do my part to hopefully get this turned around next year. The expectations of our Bronco fans should be for us to get this turned around. That is fair. I’ll say that is fair.”
Sticking with first-year head coach Vance Joseph through the remainder of the season makes sense. On one hand, there is no point in beating around the bush. If he’s going to go, why not do it now? But on the other hand, the season is over. It has been over. If Elway were to fire Vance Joseph at this point in time, the bad would outweigh the good. They’ll probably put themselves in a better draft position if they don’t win any more games in 2017, but finishing the season strong is important to build momentum, if that’s at all possible, heading into 2018.
“My thoughts to the players were we have one quarter to go here and we want to finish strong,” head coach Vance Joseph said on Monday. “We want to do something positive for this season so we can move forward in the future here. I think everyone’s in. Everyone’s eyes were up, everyone’s feeling the same way and we get it. It’s been hard on the fans, the city and you guys — us and our families. It’s been hard. We get it. We have to continue to go to work and to make something positive here.”
It’s fair to assume that no one aside from John Elway knows what he’s going to do when the season ends on New Year’s Eve, but his comments on Tuesday should provide Broncos country with a little bit of hope in what has otherwise been a hopeless season. You’ll just have to wait for four more weeks.
For the first time in two months, the Broncos seem embarrassed enough to do something about it.