De­spite los­ing streak, it’s sta­tus quo in Den­ver

Bron­cos stick­ing with Osweiler, be­lea­guered spe­cial teams coach

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - SPORTS - BY ARNIE STA­PLE­TON

“We’re not bro­ken by any means be­cause we be­lieve we can win.”

Den­ver Bron­cos head coach Vance Joseph

Both Brocks are keep­ing their jobs in Den­ver, where the Bron­cos are mired in their worst funk in decades.

Coach Vance Joseph said Mon­day that quar­ter­back Brock Osweiler will start against Cincin­nati next week­end, get­ting his third con­sec­u­tive start de­spite be­ing 0-2 since re­plac­ing Trevor Siemian.

Re­ally, Osweiler has been the least of Den­ver’s wor­ries in 28and 25-point blowouts.

Joseph gave his be­lea­guered spe­cial teams coach Brock Olivo a vote of con­fi­dence, too.

Olivo’s units were di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for 24 New Eng­land points in a 41-16 loss to the Pa­tri­ots on Sun­day night that dropped the Bron­cos to 3-6 with their fifth con­sec­u­tive loss.

Osweiler threw for 221 yards and a touch­down to go with one in­ter­cep­tion and no sacks.

“Brock played a solid game yes­ter­day,” Joseph said. “I was very pleased with how he played.”

So, Siemian won’t be get­ting his job back this week, and for­mer first-round pick Pax­ton Lynch re­mains a non-fac­tor be­cause, Joseph said, he’s still work­ing his way back from a sprained throw­ing shoul­der he sus­tained in the pre­sea­son and still hasn’t turned it loose on deep passes.

“We want to make sure he’s to­tally healthy be­fore he plays again,” Joseph said. “I’m not sure when that’s go­ing to come.”

The only one who might lose his job is Isa­iah Mcken­zie, but Joseph wouldn’t com­mit to bench­ing the rookie from Georgia whom the Bron­cos drafted in the fifth round and handed the punt re­turn job be­fore the pre­sea­son.

His muffed punt Sun­day night set the tone for Den­ver’s fifth straight dou­ble-digit loss. It came af­ter the Bron­cos forced Tom Brady into a three-and-out on New Eng­land’s first drive. Af­ter the turnover, the Pa­tri­ots scored five TDS and two field goals be­fore punt­ing again.

“He has five fum­bles in 28 at­tempts, but he’s also top 10 in re­turn yards,” Joseph said. “With that be­ing said ... we have to fig­ure out how to min­i­mize those huge er­rors and play a cleaner brand of foot­ball. If that means hav­ing some­one go in, just get­ting the ball caught and pos­sess­ing the ball af­ter a de­fen­sive stop - if it hap­pens, it hap­pens.”

The Bron­cos also gave up a 103-yard touch­down re­turn on a kick­off and suf­fered a blocked punt . Plus, they had 12 men on the field dur­ing a punt on fourth-and-5 that re­sulted in a Pa­tri­ots first down that led to a touch­down. (An­other time, they had just 10 men on the field when Dion James scored on an 8-yard run).

Line­backer Bran­don Mar­shall caught that punt - his first in a game since high school and ad­mit­tedly for­got he could run with it

Joseph said he still has faith in Olivo, 41, who was Dave Toub’s as­sis­tant spe­cial teams coach in Kansas City the last three sea­sons.

He praised Olivo’s energy, smarts, pedi­gree and hard work.

De­spite the 24 points his units cost the Bron­cos, “I’m fine with Brock,” Joseph said. “Brock works hard, he’s a young coach and he’s a bright coach. He’s go­ing to be a great coach in my opin­ion.”

Joseph said the coaches need to sim­plify the game plans start­ing Sun­day against the Ben­gals (3-6) “so we can play more ef­fi­cient be­cause we’ve spot­ted teams in the last three weeks 14 (points) in K.C., 14 in Philly and yes­ter­day 24 points on spe­cial teams.

“You can’t beat NFL teams spot­ting them 14 and 24 points.”

Joseph said he didn’t see any quit in his team even though the Bron­cos have been outscored 165-68 dur­ing their five-game rut.

You have to go all the way back to 1961, the fran­chise’s sec­ond year of ex­is­tence, to find a five-game stretch in which the Bron­cos were outscored by more than 97 points.

“We’re not bro­ken by any means,” Joseph said, “be­cause we be­lieve we can win.”

When he met with his team to go over the latest film Mon­day morn­ing, Joseph said, “I didn’t yell. I told the guys that I’m dis­ap­pointed of where we are right now be­cause we’ve played good enough foot­ball out­side of the huge er­rors to com­pete. Un­til we find a way to not spot good teams 14 points, we can’t win.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHOTO/DAVID ZALUBOWSKI

Den­ver Bron­cos quar­ter­back Brock Osweiler (17) looks to throw as New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots out­side line­backer Elan­don Roberts (52) pur­sues dur­ing their NFL game against the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots on Sun­day in Den­ver.

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