The Denver Broncos lost to the Cleveland Browns 17-14 on “Thursday Night Football” in Week 7. Here are five quick takeaways from the defeat.
Good news: Von Miller is OK
(AP Photo/David Richard)
Miller suffered an ankle injury that looked like it might have been serious, but coach Vic Fangio called it a sprain and Miller said he’ll be able to play next week. That’s great news for Miller and Denver’s defense.
Denver’s starting linebackers were greatly missed
(AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
Denver was without Josey Jewell (pectoral) and Alexander Johnson (pectoral) against the Browns, and it was quite obvious. Justin Strnad and Micah Kiser simply weren’t good enough, particularly against the run. The Broncos need Strnad and Kiser to improve quickly, or the team needs to look to bring in outside help to shore up the inside linebacker position.
Pat Shurmur is still not getting the most out of his RBs
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Denver was playing from behind for all of Thursday’s game, but the team still should have run the ball more than they did. Despite looking explosive throughout the night, rookie Javonte Williams only had four carries the entire game. Williams did have six more touches as a receiver out of the backfield, but 10 total touches still aren’t enough. Fellow RB Melvin Gordon only had eight carries. Shurmur, the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, needs to start giving Williams and Gordon more carries.
It’s time for change at quarterback
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Look, Teddy Bridgewater isn’t the Broncos’ only problem on offense, but he now has five interceptions in his last three games. Bridgewater is not a long-term solution, and Drew Lock might not be either, but Lock is younger and he has a stronger arm. Lock might not be much of an improvement, but Denver is 3-4 and the season is seemingly lost, so the Broncos should give Lock another chance before potentially making a decision on his future in 2022.
Vic Fangio should be fired
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Fangio was brought into Denver known as a defensive guru, but his defense has been terrible in recent weeks. He has a 15-24 win-loss record, a mark that likely wouldn’t have been acceptable if late owner Pat Bowlen were still running the team.
The Broncos have 10 days before their next game, so if they’re going to make an in-season coaching change, now would be a good time to do so. Mike Munchak, the team’s offensive line coach, has experience as a head coach, so he could serve as the interim coach for the rest of the season.
Denver’s front office needs to make changes. Soon.