Columnist Calls for Coaching Change Despite Broncos’ Week 4 Comeback

Vance Joseph

Getty Vance Joseph looks on during a Broncos game in 2018.

The Denver Broncos won their first game of the 2023 campaign with a season-saving 31-28 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 4.

Recovering from a 28-7 deficit was nearly impossible for the Broncos, given the poor play from their defense early on.

Forbes columnist DJ Siddiqi wants Denver to move on from defensive coordinator Vance Joseph despite the win in Week 4. Siddiqi cited “inadequate play of the Broncos’ defensive unit” against struggling quarterback Justin Fields as the reason for letting Joseph go.

“Despite facing a quarterback with the fourth-lowest rating in the NFL,” Siddiqi wrote in his October 1 column. “Denver’s pass defense somehow looked just as bad — if not worse — than it did a week prior. Fields faced a defensive unit that allowed blown coverages, committed silly penalties and missed a number of tackles for the second consecutive week.”

The Broncos allowed Fields to set career highs in passing yards (335) and touchdowns (4). Fields had faced criticism over his lack of development as a passer through the first three games.

Fields did his best Patrick Mahomes impression in the loss, having one incompletion through the first three quarters. That was another red flag for Siddiqi.

“A Bears offense that entered the game averaging just 15.7 points per game (27th in the NFL) looked like an unstoppable unit largely because Denver’s defensive coordinator — Joseph — simply isn’t the right man for the job.”

The Broncos still have top quarterbacks like Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Josh Allen on the schedule. Siddiqi knows the defense “is a real issue that’s not going away.”

“The Broncos’ comeback win is a nice band-aid considering everything they’ve gone through this season. But make no mistake about it, until Joseph is fired, the defensive unit will prevent this team from winning games.”

Broncos Defender Comes to Vance Joseph’s Defense

Despite the Broncos going through some growing pains on defense to start the season, defensive end Zach Allen isn’t having any of the criticism towards Joseph.

“He’s been very successful in this league for a very long time,” Allen said to Denver media on October 2. “He’s accomplished a lot. Everybody wants to point the finger at somebody but at the end of the day you watch the Dolphins tape and you watch the first half (against the Bears) it was either guys not tackling or guys just not doing the right assignments. It wasn’t a question of the scheme or anything like that.”

Allen is playing in his first season with the Broncos after spending his first four years with the Arizona Cardinals.

Joseph was Arizona’s defensive coordinator during Allen’s time there. The veteran defender knows it’s still early in the season and believes “we’re going to turn it around.”

“I think a lot of people probably don’t understand the big picture but for us it doesn’t really matter. We know what we’re doing, what we’re working on. Everybody can say whatever the hell they want to say but at the end of the day they’re not in the arena.”

Sean Payton Shares Thoughts on Defense After Week 4 Win Over Bears

The Broncos were noticeably pitiful on defense for three quarters until their final four series changed the game.

Payton spoke to Denver media on October 2 and addressed how more work has to be done before the Broncos can be content with their play.

“I said this to the team just 15 minutes ago, I said I’m encouraged we fought back into that game. I said but, man, let’s not finish today, when we’re done watching this tape, and feel like we’re content at all with how we played.”

Payton continued, noting that the team must clean up their act with the schedule expected to get tougher.

“Too many things that are still disappointing or things that we have to clean up and it’s the same thing offensively. We stalled there for a period after the first touchdown, we went a third of the game struggling. That sense of urgency has to exist again this week. We’re going to play against much better teams here in the next month, month and a half.”

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