MIAMI — Not a single player was living on this planet the last time the Denver Broncos were in the situation they are right now. In fact, their head coach, Vance Joseph, was still five years away from being born.
It wasn’t since 1967 that the proud franchise with three world championships in their possession lost eight-straight games. That all changed Sunday when the Broncos were beat down 35-9 at the hands of the Miami Dolphins to lose half of a regular season's worth of games in a row.
And thus, the not so impressive accomplishment has led them to be as lost as lost can be.
“Everything is tough right now. Everything,” said Broncos’ franchise player Von Miller after the game, before posing the most important question of his own press conference to himself. “What is Bronco football? We got to find that. We got to grind and get back to whatever it is. We can’t say Bronco football is what we did in 2015. That’s two years ago. We got to find our identity.”
But before the big picture soul-searching can commence in the offseason, the 3-9 team needs to find answers to the most pressing questions that still exist for them this season—starting first and foremost with their most important position on the field.
“We’ll see guys,” Joseph said when asked who Denver’s starting quarterback will be moving forward, posing yet another question without an answer from a member of the organization. “It was our fourth starter of the year today. It’s been hard to find a guy to operate efficiently for us so we can win a football game. So, we will see. We will watch the film and see who is the best option for us next week.”
Sunday was a miserable game for the Broncos in nearly every single facet, including starting quarterback, Trevor Siemian, who—by nearly every measure—had his worst game of the season. While only putting up one offensive score on the day—a 31-yard field goal from Brandon McManus at the beginning of the second quarter—Siemian threw three interceptions to go along with 46.3 completion percentage for a dismal passer rating of 30.5. A few points below the Dolphins' final score.
Now, what used to be the most pressing question to the team, is just another typical question and far from the most important questions facing the organization.
Along with Siemian, one of the worst parts of Denver’s offense was their inability to convert on third down—a problem that has haunted the team all season long. Against the Dolphins, Denver went 1-for-13 for an incomprehensible eight-percent conversion rate. The reason for this? “I’m not sure,” Joseph said, before only adding “We converted our first third down in the fourth quarter.”
Even with inadequate performances from the offense, defense and special teams, there was one play that was inexcusable. After Denver’s only touchdown on the day—a Justin Simmons pick-six off Jay Cutler in the third quarter—the Broncos were flagged for a delay of game on the ensuing kickoff.
What was even more shocking, however, was the question Joseph asked after being asked about that mishap.
“On the onside kick? On ours? I don’t think we did,” he said in near disbelief standing at the podium seemingly not remembering the penalty before conferring with a staff member on the side. “Did we? Did we really? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don’t recall that.”
Even with all of these unanswered problems remaining for the Broncos, the most important question facing the organization may be not only the most uncertain, but the most daunting answer, no matter what the answer may be.
“Does this team not have enough talent to win or are these players not responding to your coaching,” a reporter asked Joseph after the game.
“Well, that’s a good question,” Joseph responded. “I can’t speak to our talent—that’s an offseason question. We can’t fix that now. We’ll see after the season, we will look at all of our games and see where we are as far as talent.”
The one question that doesn’t remain is the quality of the 2017 Broncos.