Sports

Denver Broncos Resolutions for 2019

Vance Joseph was fired as Broncos head coach mere hours after ending the 2018 season.
Vance Joseph was fired as Broncos head coach mere hours after ending the 2018 season.
Well, six-and-ten isn’t what we had in mind. A losing record is one thing, but losing to both the Raiders and the Chargers in the last couple of games? That’s insult to injury. Even the most stalwart of fans have to admit that something drastic needs to change for the Broncos in the coming season, something that a few front-office band-aids can’t fix. This is a drive that even Elway might have trouble pulling off.

Football is a cyclical game — one year you’re up, the next you’re down, and then your fortunes reverse again. It’s designed to be that way, why losing teams have the advantage in the next draft. So not all is lost, and there’s reason to hope. But there’s also reason to plan, to dig ourselves out of this hole sooner rather than later. So what can the team do? Here are seven resolutions for the Broncos to make in 2019 so Denver can see the post-season again.

click to enlarge The possibly prodigal Mike Shanahan. - KEITH ALLISON AT FLICKR
The possibly prodigal Mike Shanahan.
Keith Allison at Flickr
1. Find a (Much) Better Coach
No hard feelings for Vance Joseph, but wow, back-to-back losing seasons? Joseph's firing first thing only hours after the official end of a second ugly season couldn't have been a surprise to him or any of the Broncos faithful. But it does pose a whole new problem: finding a replacement. The head office might bring Chuck Pagano in — he's a Boulder native and a proven head coach. Or they might roll the dice on the Chiefs' Dave Toub or the Rams' Zach Taylor. There have even been rumblings of the possibility of Mike Shanahan making a Denver comeback. Whoever it is, they need to be someone who can lead the team with vision, make the tough choices at the right time and come to inspire both the players and the fans. (Scaring the pants off the Chargers, Raiders, and Patriots wouldn’t hurt, either.) And speaking of fans…

click to enlarge This is what fandom looks like. - YOUTUBE
This is what fandom looks like.
2. Don’t Blame the Fans
There was a reason that over 12,000 seats were vacant for the last game of the 2018 season: because too many Broncos fans felt let down by a team and a coach and a season that had more promise than results. There’s an important difference, Shelby Harris, between a fair-weather fan and one who chooses to skip what they suspect to be one last massive letdown, especially once we’ve already been eliminated from playoff contention. And as for the homemade signs that (correctly) called for Joseph’s necessary departure? Those are real fans, Mr. Harris. They’re passionate enough to show up to a statistically meaningless game and hope against all hope that we can at least push Philip Cry-Me-A Rivers into the turf a few times. They want things to get better. Like you said, you can’t blame fans for being disappointed. And you also shouldn’t follow up that statement by going off on a rant that totally blames the fans for expressing that disappointment. You ask where the real Broncos fans are, Shelby? They’re holding those signs you’re bitching about.


click to enlarge We feel you, Case. - YOUTUBE
We feel you, Case.
3. Work Keenum
Stick with the kid for now. We’re not necessarily going to be able to land the next great QB picking tenth overall in the upcoming draft, and whether or not Case Keenum can really grow into the workhorse that Elway hoped he might be — someone to effectively bridge the Manning era and whatever Broncos superstar comes next — is still an open question. Give him a shot with a better and healthier offensive line — work on protection and options for the pass — and see what he’s got.