MILE HIGH MONDAY

Everyone in Broncos Country owes Vance Joseph a huge apology

Nov 27, 2023, 6:02 AM | Updated: 12:13 pm

The Denver Broncos are on a heckuva roll. They have now won five games in a row, and their 6-5 record puts them “in the hunt” when it comes to a potential playoff berth.

I like when the Broncos are playing meaningful football in the last half of the season. We’re almost in December, and the Broncos have six incredibly important games left this season – starting with a three-game road trip in Week 13 that could determine whether they make the postseason.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

I’m Sorry, VJ

I was wrong about Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. After the 50-point loss to the Miami Dolphins, I felt Joseph would be fired. Not only did I think he should be fired early in the season, but I also thought the team would move on after such an embarrassing loss. That didn’t happen.

Instead, the Broncos showed faith in Joseph – and he’s responded to their faith in his ability to craft a good defense. The players certainly did not give up on Joseph either. These players have rallied around their coach, and they are playing good football.

In fact, I can say the main reason why the Broncos are winning is the play of their defense – specifically, it’s the number or turnovers these guys are generating. That comes from the execution by the players, but it also comes from the design of Joseph. I cautioned listeners on 104.3 The Fan that we should look at the entire body of work for Joseph this season. After a historically rough start, they have turned things around.

These next six games are huge for the Broncos, and they’re especially important for Joseph. If the Broncos defense keeps playing great football, Joseph will get interest when head coaching opportunities arise next offseason. Think about that possibility after the way this season began for Joseph and his unit – it’s remarkable!

***

Better with Locke

With all due respect to veteran safety Kareem Jackson, the Broncos defense is better when P.J. Locke is starting. I’ve felt this before, but it’s become even clearer every time Locke starts and Jackson does not. With Jackson suspended again, Locke was back on the field as the starter and made an immediate impact against the Browns.
During the week, we had no idea if Locke was going to play. However, watching the injury report and attending practice during the week I felt Locke would be out there on Sunday. He had an ankle injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday. However, he did come back for a limited session on Thursday and Locke fully participated on Friday.

Locke is better than Jackson because he’s more athletic while also bringing the physicality we see from the veteran. Players must monitor how physical they are now (see Locke’s hit on Browns WR Amari Cooper), but Locke does a good job of being aggressive while not being overly so.

The key for the Broncos’ defense has been the turnover differential during this five-game winning streak. That comes from playmakers on the defensive side of the ball like Locke. Hopefully he can stay healthy, stay in the lineup and keep thriving on the football field.

***

The Plan for Perine

The Broncos used running back Samaje Perine early – and certainly more often as a runner than they had in previous weeks. This was a good plan, and it worked for the Broncos early. Perine had been their closer late in wins, but that was mostly as a receiver out of the backfield. Against a tough Browns defense, it made sense to use a big back like Perine as a battering ram between the tackles.

Before Sunday, and in the four-game winning streak leading into Week 12, Perine had just five carries in that time. He did have 15 receptions in those four games, but Perine was noticeably absent when it came to running the rock. On Sunday against the Browns, Perine surpassed those five carries with seven carries on the day. It was just one short of his season-high, eight-carry game from Week 1.

Starting running back Javonte Williams was evaluated for a neck injury, but he was able to make it through the game. Williams is a banger, but as much as he can wear down opponents, he himself can also suffer from wear and tear. Perine is a seasoned veteran you can trust on all three downs. It only makes sense to give him even more carries. It should be effective, and doing so would help keep Williams healthy.

We’ll see what Williams can do as the season winds down. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this turn into a 50-50 running back by committee over the next six games.

***

I’m Worried about the MCU

I can’t believe what we’ve seen from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – both good and bad. As a lifelong comic book nerd, I used to remember the days in the 90s when my friends and I would dream about what a Spider-man movie would look like. Now, superhero movies and TV shows are in the hundreds. It really is a dream come true.

Watching the MCU become the most popular movie franchise in pop culture was also a dream come true. However, after “Avengers: Endgame” things have gone downhill for Marvel. Some would blame superhero fatigue, and there’s likely some truth to that (unfortunately not everyone is a huge nerd like me). I will blame the lack of direction in the MCU, and that’s why a movie like “The Marvels” is a flop. That movie was never going to be successful, especially with the weak villain and general lack of direction.

In 2024, the only MCU movie slated to be released is “Deadpool 3” which should be a billion-dollar movie. After that, there are upcoming projects we’re all waiting for like the debut of the X-Men in the MCU or a proper Fantastic Four movie. However, movie leakers are revealing some information about these projects after Deadpool that have me nervous that Marvel doesn’t get it. I’m not going to potentially spoil anything here, but the lack of direction that has plagued “Phase Four” of the MCU (aka Phase Bore) still resonates in the early stages of these movies.

Are you worried about the future of the MCU? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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