ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Trevor Siemian is keeping his starting job as the Denver Broncos try to emerge from a prolonged offensive funk that has plunged them to depths not reached in a quarter century.
Coach Vance Joseph said Monday that benching Siemian isn’t the solution for the team’s myriad problems that have resulted in just one touchdown in their last 35 possessions.
The Broncos (3-3) were blanked 21-0 by the Chargers on Sunday, snapping their 394-game scoring streak that dated to Nov. 30, 1992. It was the longest active streak in the NFL and second-longest in league history.
Denver has now managed just 16, 10, 16 and 0 points in their last four games.
Joseph said the blame for the monthlong funk falls on coaches, linemen, receivers, tight ends, running backs and even poor special teams decisions that are putting Siemian in precarious positions.
“He can’t play well if he’s not being protected in certain spots,” Joseph said. “Now, he hasn’t been perfect, either. He can play better, absolutely. But it’s not a Trevor problem; it’s a unit problem.”
Joseph reiterated that the formula that works for Denver is to establish the run and get a lead, something the Broncos haven’t been able to do.
So, Brock Osweiler isn’t the answer.
“It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is if he’s not being protected or the run game is not effective,” Joseph said.
The rookie coach said he’s puzzled by how the Broncos can prepare so well during the week and play so poorly on game day.
“We have to coach and play better,” he said. “Something is not clicking with our players as far as doing things right. So we have to coach differently. We have to do more walk-throughs and spend more time on the field so we can get this thing rectified.”
Joseph said the Broncos’ poor play is “puzzling because we’re having great weeks of work. I watched the coaches install all three phases and it’s so detailed. We’re blowing basic concepts in all three phases, not just one phase. It’s puzzling. We have to revamp how we’re teaching these players and get more positive play out of some guys.”
General manager John Elway fortified his offensive line after watching Siemian get sacked 31 times last year. But Siemian is on pace to get sacked 58 times this season behind an injury-ravaged, mistake-prone line that includes first-round draft pick Garett Bolles at left tackle and a revolving door on the right side.
Ten-year veteran guard Allen Barbre started at right tackle Sunday after the Broncos lost three tackles to injury last week.
Both Bolles and Barbre were manhandled by Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. The Broncos fell behind early and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy stayed with his heavy diet of three wide-receiver sets that provided no blocking help for either of the struggling tackles.
It’s not just pass protection that’s the problem, though.
“It’s the running game,” Joseph said when asked to pinpoint what’s missing on offense.
The Broncos have averaged 153 yards rushing and a TD in their victories. In their losses, they’ve averaged just 75 yards on the ground and have just one TD in three games.
Joseph is also sticking with running back C.J. Anderson as his starter even though he’s averaging just 30 yards over the last two weeks.
“Again, it’s not just C.J. We have three backs playing and I thought the backs ran the ball hard yesterday,” Joseph said. “When there was space to make yardage they did. When there wasn’t they didn’t. I’m not down on C.J.”
“Absolutely not. We’re a team and we have a strong locker room,” he said.
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said, “We just have to worry about ourselves. We have to worry about being better and try to give up zero points. We can be more dominant and make more turnovers. … We can’t control what the offense does. That’s on them. They meet in a totally different room than us. We have to control what we can control on defense and be more dominant.”
INJURIES CONTINUE: The Broncos could be without one of their leading tacklers against the Chiefs as inside linebacker Todd Davis was on crutches and in a walking boot Monday after suffering a high right ankle sprain in the game.
“If it’s past a couple of weeks we’ll have to make a move,” Joseph said.
Zaire Anderson replaced Corey Nelson, who went on IR after hurting an elbow at practice last week and had four tackles in 10 snaps Sunday.
Notes: WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie both ditched their walking boots Monday, a glimmer of hope for a team that’s been unable to free up Demaryius Thomas, whose career-long stretch without a touchdown has reached a dozen games.
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