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Reboots are generally bad. For every Xmen: First Class, there’s a thousand Ghostbusters or Terminator Salvations. According to new Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph, the Broncos are rebooting, not rebuilding. That should either thrill you with joy like the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming or fill with you dread like Jaden Smith’s Karate Kid.
The Broncos have rebooted and while we wait for the operating system to load, how was that first Sunday without Broncos football? Strange huh? It’s been awhile since the Broncos haven’t been in the playoffs. We enjoyed a sustained stretch of playoff football since 2011 and now we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
Oh yeah, those were the days. But this year, the Broncos enjoyed the playoffs from the comfort of their own homes as the bid to repeat as Super Bowl Champions fell flatter than a Dan Nainan joke about Tom Brady’s balls. That’s ok. We’ll always have Super Bowl 50 and the euphoria that it produced will be with us forever. Some people may not feel that missing the playoffs is acceptable, but if I told you this time last year the Broncos would have to miss the playoffs a year from now but would win the Super Bowl in 2016, you’d want to know where to sign and where to drop off your first born child.
We can let those good memories keep us warm this offseason as the team navigates uncharted waters with a new (again) coaching staff. But will this new direction get the Broncos back on track or see the team laying in a ditch like Josh McDaniels was at the helm? Believe it or not, the fan base is divided on this.
Some believe that new head coach Vance Joseph has no idea what he’s doing and will run the team into the ground like a rookie coach is destined to. But the idea that’s creeping into the conversation about the Broncos centers around the belief that John Elway may actually be the one who doesn’t know what he’s doing. For every seemingly great decision, there is a “well, actually” counter that seems to cast doubt on the Duke’s ability to make decent decisions.
You can second guess Elway all day but, for the most part, he’s gotten results. It’s like when a coach goes for it late in the game on 4th-and-3 from his own 40. If they make it, he’s a hero. If not, he’s second guessed to death and literally dies from the shame. Elway has made some mistakes, but the sweet, sweet nectar of winning has patched those over like the hole Odell Beckham punched in the wall at Lambeau. For now.
I don’t know Vance Joseph from Bob Vance. But I do know the Broncos were very interested in him when he was an assistant for the Cincinnati Bengals. And interested in him enough that they passed over the assumed heir apparent Kyle Shanahan to give him one of the most prestigious coaching jobs in all of sports. The Broncos really, really wanted Vance Joseph to coach this team.
It very well could be that Elway is looking for the right combination of youth and “yes” man to get his team back on track. After all, it was Elway who fired John “Division Titles Are Enough” Fox because he didn’t instill that “kicking and screaming” attitude in his team. Elway, very comfortable in his role as Broncos GM, now has the freedom to do what it takes to get back to the promised land quickly and not have his vision trickle down to a coach who will only take it under advisement. Because if Elway is where the buck stops, he needs to have everyone on board with his plan going forward.
Trying to get John Fox to pull his head out of his ass probably required a tow truck. And from what we saw in Gary Kubiak’s last game, it seemed like Elway’s ideas for the future were subverted just a tad. But he’s the boss and for better or for worse, he’s going to either drag the team back to the top very quickly or die trying.
If the Broncos could have put together even a slightly consistent offense this season, we’d be watching them play this weekend. Joseph already said that he’ll be coaching to the strengths of the players which means Paxton Lynch may get his moment in the sun and the running backs will stop crashing straight into the line and falling down. The defense will still be top notch and if Joseph and his coaches can inject some life into the offense, they’ll be back. Fans forget the Broncos still possess some of the best players in the game. That will count for something on this climb back to the top.
We get too sentimental about players and now coaches like the freshly departed Wade Phillips. I get that, but if you’re not moving forward, you’re the Browns. If Elway is as meticulous as I think he his, and the right (or decent) offseason moves are made, keep your schedule clear because you’ll be making plans to watch a Broncos playoff game a year from now. Because we all know that whether it’s restarting a computer, a movie franchise or a sports dynasty, a reboot is required for changes to take effect.