The first half of the 2018 NFL season is in the books. Through the first eight games, the Denver Broncos currently sit at 3-5 and second to last in the AFC West division.
As October comes to a close, so does the first half of this NFL season. Heading into the season there were high expectations for the 2018 Denver Broncos to have a bounce-back campaign from their 2017 disappointing season. However, after eight games and a 3-5 record, the Broncos seemed destined to fall short of those expectations.
Let's take a look at the analysis I've seen from the Broncos through this first half of the NFL season.
Heard these storylines before? “Quarterback play has been below average.” “Offensive line needs major improvement.” “Skilled players aren’t getting the ball in open space.”
Sounds like the Broncos offense over the past few years, huh? If you took away the name on the back of the jersey, this is the same offense that Trevor Siemian ran the previous two seasons. Case Keenum has yet to provide any “spark” to this year’s offense and after eight games so far, I’m not holding my breath expecting much to change for the rest of this season.
On a more optimistic note, some of the younger players, such as Phillip Lindsay and Courtland Sutton, have been playing very well which does give the Broncos offense a hopeful future. My suspicion? Moving forward, we can expect to see the younger players to get more playing time during the second half of the season.
Unfortunately, this must be the most disappointing part of the Broncos 2018 season. What once was a daunting defense is now looked down upon and is one that the opposing offense is eager to face. For the second straight year, the Broncos' defense against the Run ranks among the bottom of the league.
The No-Fly Zone was dismembered over the offseason and is no longer feared amongst opposing quarterbacks. Players who’ve been considered dominant on this defense in the past, like Brandon Marshall, Derek Wolfe, or Darian Stewart, can be argued to have become former shells of themselves. The defensive game plan is incredibly predictable and in-game adjustments are minimal, at best. The defense used to be the identity of this team. Now? The defense can’t even find its own identity as a unit.
This is where Broncos fans want to be the most critical, amid yet another lackluster season. Yes, Vance Joseph seems to be in-over-his-head with this job; but this isn’t surprising. We saw the exact same thing play out last year. Last season, Elway decided to give Joseph “one more chance” to prove his worth to the organization. I can only imagine the amount of sleep that Elway is losing, as week after week, the Broncos coaching staff continues to look discombobulated on game day.
Vance Joseph was brought in to be a leader of men, yet, as that leader, he’s allowed the Broncos to become one of the most penalized teams in the entire league. On top of that just last week, players were discussing their Halloween costumes and Chad Kelly’s dismissal from the team, instead of their game plan for Kansas City. Where’s the leadership we were expecting?
If the Broncos lose to Houston this week, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see Vance Joseph get fired. If that doesn’t happen? Then I suspect Joseph will finish out this season as head coach and upon its conclusion, we’ll see a full sweep change of coaches. It just seems inevitable, at this point.
Second Half Prediction
The Broncos recent trade of Demaryius Thomas is the writing-on-the-wall for this year’s team. Unfortunately for fans, the Broncos are in rebuild mode. For the remainder of this season, I believe we’ll see younger players out on the field, veterans appearing on injury reports more often, and coaches starting to consider their next gig. What’s the record prediction? It won’t matter. This clearly isn’t a playoff team and that’s what our expectations are around here. As Broncos fans, we’re now looking forward to the 2019 season instead of the second half of this season.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.