After a season in which the Broncos effectively fell off of the map, it seemed that this weekend was all about the Broncos. From Vance Joseph’s blowout loss in the Senior Bowl to Von Miller’s performance in the Pro Bowl, it was a roller coaster of a weekend for Broncos fans. What should Broncos fans really take away from these two games?
Takeaways From All-Star Weekend For Broncos Fans
Josh Allen played the best of Vance Joseph’s quarterbacks in the Senior Bowl, posting a 9-for-13 for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a handful of series. However, most of these stats came in the second half after a rough first half.
Baker Mayfield was unable to really do anything in the game, going 3-for-7 for 9 yards. Granted, the balls were perfectly thrown and most of the incompletions were dropped by receivers. However, while Josh Allen came back out in the second half, Mayfield left the game during halftime to go and spend time with his mother, who is currently in the hospital with an undisclosed illness.
While Allen had the better game, Mayfield was the most impressive quarterback during the week of practice leading up to the game, according to the Broncos coaching staff.
Vance Joseph’s Appraisal
Vance Joseph’s Senior Bowl performance should worry pro-VJ fans. Up until this game, the main defense for Vance Joseph was that he didn’t really have a quarterback. Well, he had multiple first-round quarterbacks for this game and was still blown out. The game just felt like a bad Broncos loss from earlier this season. The North got behind early and never came back, losing 16 to 45.
In defense of Vance Joseph, he was thrown a totally new roster and given about a week to prepare them for the game. On the other hand, his opponent had the same amount of time and had arguably worse players, at least at the quarterback position.
It is worth mentioning that Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield only played a few series, and Josh Allen was starting to get into a rhythm in the second half. If he was not pulled, it might have been a different game.
Also, the point of the Senior Bowl really is not to win it, but to get more tape on these players for evaluation purposes. However, that explanation really sounds like an excuse, similar to the classic: “I wasn’t really trying.”
The most overwhelming piece of evidence against Joseph is that he has coached around half-a-dozen games this year that looked just like the Senior Bowl. The second biggest piece of evidence is that Joseph had a team that was just as good as the other and still found a way to get blown out.
Although this is an extremely small sample, and with very little preparation, after this blowout loss, Broncos fans could find themselves worried about next season, even if General Manager John Elway manages to get a top-tier free agent QB.
While Broncos fans should be worried about the head coach, they should not be worried about Von Miller. The Pro Bowl showed that he is still really, really good. Miller was one of the faces of the AFC on Sunday, posting three tackles, one sack, two QB hits, one pass defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery sealed a seventeen point comeback victory for the AFC after being down 20 to 3 at one point. The sealing play came when Miller pushed Seattle’s Duane Brown back with one arm and knocked the ball out of the hands of L.A.’s Jared Goff and dove on the ball, reminiscent of his famous strip-sack of Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50.
Von’s forced fumble, while not a Super Bowl victory, did allow the Broncos’ season to end on a good, if inconsequential, note. It is worth noting that Aqib Talib did play but he was a ghost, with no big plays given up but no other stats to speak of. It’s clear who the face of the franchise is at this point in the post-Manning era. It’s Von Miller.