The Denver Broncos lost their eighth straight game of the season on Sunday, a 35-9 beatdown in Miami. The losing streak is the second-longest in franchise history (nine consecutive in 1967).
Despite his team crumbling in all three phases, first-time head coach Vance Joseph said he doesn’t want players going through the motions the final month of the season.
“We don’t want to just survive this next month,” Joseph said, via ESPN.com. “We want to push forward, keep working, keep studying, keep pushing details. And trying to win football games, we don’t want guys just showing up to work and just checking boxes.”
With few guarantees in NFL contracts, players are still fighting for their next paychecks, and you can bet coaches and GMs around the league will take note of how a player finishes in a lost season.
In his first season as a head coach, Joseph is also fighting to keep his job. Denver is lost on offense, atrocious on special teams, and slowly capitulating on defense. By any metric and any eye test, the Broncos are one of the worst teams in the NFL right now.
Joseph defended his team on Monday, saying he didn’t see players give up during Sunday’s blowout.
“I don’t believe that at all,” Joseph said. “If you watch our football games, I always watch [the] last five to 10 plays, I show the guys those plays, I show the guys flying around, that’s proof that guys are still playing to win. … The guys we put on the field are trying to win football games and no one has given up.”
With four games left — including two at home — Broncos players will get a chance to prove they haven’t quit on Joseph. However, if the eight-game losing streak turns into a 12-game skid, John Elway might be looking for a new coach, again.