ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The “Sunday scaries” were real for the two Brocks in the Denver Broncos organization during and following the team’s 41-16 beatdown at the hands New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.
Monday, however, all of the “scaries” from the day before disappeared, at least for now, as head coach Vance Joseph not only put his confidence behind the two Brocks, but said their jobs were safe for another week.
Special teams coordinator Brock Olivo undoubtedly had the worse night of the two Brocks, as his unit had four costly mistakes that led to 24 Patriots points. The special teams performance was so bad, in fact, that after the game Joseph said he had never witnessed a worse special teams game in his entire life.
Not even 16 hours later, the same head coach backed Olivo, saying “I do” when asked if he still has confidence in the man leading the special teams unit.
“Here’s why,” Joseph said as he put all of his faith in Olivo. “I’m in his meetings everyday—he’s a detailed guy. I mean he goes over those guys assignments over and over again. Lots of energy. He’s a very, very bright guy. He’s learned under a guy who’s the best in the entire league. So I watch him work every day and the mistakes that we had obviously Brock’s responsible and I’m responsible.”
Although Joseph didn’t free Olivo, or even himself, from criticism for the performance, he pointed to the execution of the players as the main reason for the multiple errors on special teams. Not only did Joseph say “He hadn’t muffed a punt” in reference to Olivo, he said the kickoff returned for a touchdown on Denver was the responsibility of the coverage.
“I am not down on Brock. Obviously that game yesterday was bad for us as far as the team—we had three errors, actually four errors, that lead to 24 points,” Joseph continued his explanation. “I’m fine with Brock. Brock works hard. He’s a young coach. He’s a bright coach. He’s going to be a great coach in my opinion.”
On the offensive side, quarterback Brock Osweiler received similar backing from his head coach after a losing performance the night before. When asked who will be the starting quarterback next week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Joseph simply said, “It’s Brock again.”
“In my opinion, Brock played a solid game again yesterday. Offensively, we moved the ball. In the red zone, it wasn’t great, we were 1-for-4, but as far as moving the ball it was efficient, it was right, we made some explosive plays yesterday on that side of the ball,” he said, explaining the ups and downs of the offense that put up 16 points. “I was very pleased with how he played.”
Osweiler’s underwhelming final stat line—18-for-33 for 221 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a 72.9 passer rating—was actually right on par with the team’s 73.5 cumulative passer rating this season. In his second start, Osweiler did show improvement from his previous start—in which he threw two interceptions to only one touchdown—but with first-round pick Paxton Lynch sitting on the sideline and the team’s playoff hopes dwindling fast, Osweiler’s chances to prove he’s the right guy for the job are running out.
After already making a quarterback change from Trevor Siemian to Osweiler just two weeks ago, the next logical move Denver would make at the quarterback position is to turn the keys over to Lynch. Joseph, however, said on Monday he’s “not sure” if we can expect to see him play this season as he recovers from a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason.
“Health-wise, he’s still recovering from his shoulder. I think it’s going to be almost two weeks now coming to this week of practice and we will see where he’s at,” Joseph said in what has turned out to be a weekly Lynch update. “He’s still recovering from his shoulder injury. He’s still throwing intermediate passes, not really deep passes yet. We want to make sure he’s totally healthy before he plays again. That timeframe I’m not sure when it’s going to come.”
Mere hours after it looked bleak to be a Brock, things started to look up for both Brock O’s after the Broncos’ brass gave them their blessings.