David Zalubowski/Associated Press
“At this point, we’re going to stay the course,” Elway said during his weekly appearance on Orange & Blue 760 on Monday (via the Denver Post‘s Ryan O’Halloran). “I’m much more encouraged this year than last year because guys are still playing hard and [we] are in the games.”
Denver started 2-0 but has lost six of its past seven contest. During that span, the Broncos have lost four games by seven points or fewer, including a trio of contests against the Kansas City Chiefs (twice) and the Los Angeles Rams, a pair of 8-1 squads.
Even though the losses have piled, Elway likes the way his team played:
“The frustrating part for everybody…we haven’t made the plays we need to get over the hump. Every game in this league is always competitive and the teams that win are teams that are able to do it consistently. We have not been able to do it.
“I like the heartbeat of this team, the fact they’re competitors and they continue to work hard.”
Being competitive against some of the league’s best teams is an encouraging sign for a rebuilding club. And it’s enough to keep Joseph off hot seat—although at some point, he will have to start winning in order to stick around.
Joseph led Denver to a 3-1 record out of the gates in 2017 before it lost 10 of its final 12 games following a Week 5 bye. Questions about his job security came up amid those struggles, but Elway and Co. stayed patrent, saying he still believed in Joseph.
That’s the case once again.
The bad news for Joseph and the Broncos is the remaining schedule isn’t much easier than the first half of the season. They still have contests against the Los Angeles Chargers (twice), Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. On the other hand, they do have matchups against the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, who are a combined 5-20-1.
When Elway interviewed Joseph in January 2017, he praised the coach for having “strong leadership qualities” and a “strong vision.” The results haven’t shown up for the first year-plus of Joseph’s tenure, but the first-time NFL head coach is still attempting to make his mark.
Sticking with Joseph allows Denver to have some form of consistency that has been lacking in recent years. After parting ways with John Fox in 2014, the Broncos kept Gary Kubiak as coach for just two seasons before moving on to Joseph last year.