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Vance Joseph lays out a plan for Broncos to start winning more games

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 12, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Forget about tanking.

On Monday, coming back from the team’s Week 10 bye week, Denver Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph made his number one priority crystal clear.

“I just want to win more games,” the head coach stated over and over again Monday. “I want to win more games for our coaches, our players and our city. I want to win more games for us.”

At 3-6, the Broncos are two games out from the final AFC playoff spot and, at the same time, only two games out of the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

During the bye week, Joseph and his staff took an honest internal look at what needs to change in order to be chasing the final playoff spot instead of the No. 1 pick come Week 17.

On the offensive side of the ball, Joseph’s main point on Monday was the team needs to have faster starts and “score more points early.”

“In that first 15 to 20 plays, you can tell right away if your plan is good, if your team matches up well — you just know,” Joseph said, stating the importance of a fast start. “I think in the first 15 to 20 on both sides of the ball we have to play better football.”

As it sits right now, the Broncos actually have the second-most first-quarter points per game in the NFL at 7.3, only trailing the explosive Kansas City Chiefs.

However, take away the team’s 21 first-quarter points in their 45-10 beatdown of the Arizona Cardinals — of which 14 were scored by the defense — and the Broncos sit just above the bottom-ten in first quarter scoring.

“Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. Simple as that. Score more points. Whatever it takes,” Joseph said quickly when asked how the team can get off to faster offensive starts.

Additionally, Joseph identified converting on third down and in the red zone as two other major areas the team needs to improve.

Through nine games, Denver is in the bottom-third in both categories, only turning 53.9 percent of their red zone trips into touchdowns and only converting 35.3 percent of their third-down attempts.

“The numbers don’t lie there,” Joseph simply said.

In this evaluation, Joseph didn’t call out a single offensive player, instead focusing on the group as a whole.

On the other side of the ball, along with quick starts, Joseph acknowledged his team’s up and down run defense, specifically pointing to the nickel run defense as being the crux to their struggles.

Joseph additionally pointed to takeaways, where Denver’s 12 takeaways rank in the bottom half of the league.

“We need more of that,” Joseph frankly stated.

Finally, in the third phase of the game, Joseph and his staff pointed at Denver’s return units as needing to play better.

Through nine games, the team’s longest punt return is a mere 15 yards and their longest kick return is 32 — both courtesy of Phillip Lindsay.

The Broncos haven’t been able to find a consistent returner as they’ve used a combination of Lindsay, Adam Jones, DaeSean Hamilton, Isaiah McKenzie, River Cracraft and Devontae Booker to return kicks and punts through the first nine weeks.

While Joseph didn’t give much insight as to how the team plans on addressing these weaknesses, he pointed to two reasons for optimism heading into the final seven-game stretch.

The head coach is “hoping” to have Darian Stewart, Royce Freeman, Bradley Roby and DaeSean Hamilton back at practice on Wednesday. All four of those players missed the game before the bye week.

Secondly, Joseph pointed to the mentality of the team, saying they are “absolutely” playing desperate.

While the Broncos are playing the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Joseph’s taking a page from another division rival for the remainder of the season: Just win, baby.

“Just winning,” Joseph said on what he wants to do the rest of the season. “We want to finish and win these games… We are battle tested. Our team won’t shy away.”


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