Through three weeks of the NFL season, the Denver Broncos have the worst scoring defense in the NFL, giving up slightly over 40 points per game.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Broncos gave up a near record-setting 70 points to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Yet, despite that, Sean Payton did not make a change at Denver’s defensive coordinator position after the team’s 0-3 start.
What would have to happen for the Broncos to make that change and move on from Vance Joseph?
The DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.
All odds below are courtesy of bet365.
What would have to happen for the Broncos to move on from Vance Joseph?
Zac: One more poor defensive performance in the next two weeks — If Justin Fields and the Bears or Zach Wilson and the Jets burns the Broncos’ defense, Sean Payton will have to make a move, even though it will be only four or five weeks into the season.
Fields and Wilson are arguably the two worst quarterbacks in the NFL. If either of them have success through the air or on the ground then all confidence in the defense will be lost. The only way to try and regain it will be to have a new defensive coordinator.
Not only did Miami drop a whopping 70 points on Denver’s defense, but the week before, Sam Howell looked like an All-Pro quarterback against the Broncos in Denver. The following week, against the Bills at home, Howell had more interceptions (four) than the Commanders had points (three).
So far, it’s been a dismal reunion for Joseph and the Broncos.
RK: Before he hired him — Let’s be brutally honest here, nobody knew what Sean Payton was doing when he hired Vance Joseph to be his DC. It was honestly the beginning of the end of what may be a world record for shortest honeymoon period for a head coach.
Fans were concerned when he was hired and now any cautious optimism has been completely washed away.
With Ejiro Evero already in the building and Vic Fangio being one of Sean Payton’s guys, this is a misstep that simply should not have happened. Now, this is not to say that Vance Joseph is to blame for all of the defensive struggles, eventually players have to make plays, but it’s clear that Sean Payton made the wrong decision here.
As for a more direct answer to the question, Denver should move on from Joseph immediately and give Christian Parker a real chance to show how he can help this defense improve over the course of the next 14 games.
In the words of former Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, ”What will be done eventually must be done immediately.”
Hank: After the season — Call me crazy, but I find it tough to imagine a scenario where the Broncos should fire Vance Joseph before the season ends.
In my mind, there are two potential realities:
- The Broncos bounce back from a slow start and play respectable football for the final 14 games of the year. Maybe they don’t reach .500, but they come close. In this scenario, Joseph solved his defense’s problems—at least for the most part—and there’s no reason to pull the trigger.
- The Broncos don’t bounce back, and the season turns into the disaster that it’s currently on track to be. The Broncos could have good reason to move on from Joseph at the bye week if they’re 1-7, for example, but they’d be better off holding serve. Why try to fix a disappointing defense on the fly in a dead season when you could ride it to a top pick in the draft instead? Denver would be better off embracing the tank once the season is dead and rebuilding in the offseason.
Maybe there’s an in-between scenario in which Denver’s offense gets hot despite a struggling defense and manages to win four shootouts before the bye week. In that universe, it might make sense to try to repair the defense by handing the keys to Christian Parker, Joe Vitt or Greg Manusky and fighting for a playoff spot, but that just doesn’t seem likely. I can’t imagine the Broncos winning four of their next five games if the defense continues to play poorly.
As it stands now, Denver’s defense is either going to fix itself, or it will struggle and cost the Broncos more games. Either way, keeping Joseph in charge probably makes the most sense.
Picks Picks Picks
Russell Wilson passing yards over/under 232.5
Russell Wilson passing touchdowns over/under 1.5
Justin Fields passing yards over/under 185.5
Justin Fields rushing yards over/under 57.5
Javonte Williams rushing yards over/under 53.5
Russell Wilson rushing yards over/under 11.5
Jerry Jeudy receiving yards over/under 52.5
Courtland Sutton receiving yards over/under 54.5
DJ Moore receiving yards over/under 43.5
Broncos-Bears total points over/under 45.5
Broncos (-3) @ Bears
Raiders @ Chargers (-5.5)
Chiefs (-9.5) @ Jets