Broncos holding out hope in face of embarrassment, injuries
By ARNIE STAPLETON
Oct. 26, 2017
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) — Trevor Siemian is sporting a black and blue nose courtesy of his latest trouncing and the rest of the Denver Broncos are red-faced over their poor play.
"Yeah, it's good. I got a little bruise," Siemian said, but "I probably should have broken it. I deserve it the way I played."
Siemian was sacked five times and committed two turnovers in Denver's 21-0 loss to the Chargers last week that marked the franchise's first shutout since Nov. 22, 1992, when the 25-year-old quarterback was still in diapers.
It also extended a month-long funk for the Broncos (3-3), who have lost three of four heading into a brutal three-week stretch in which they'll face the Chiefs (5-2), Eagles (6-1) and Patriots (5-2), three of the top four teams in this week's AP Pro32 poll.
Unlike his center did a week earlier, Siemian said he never got after his bumbling teammates Sunday in Los Angeles because "I wasn't holding up my end of the bargain," either.
"It's tough to get on guys when you're not playing well," Siemian said. "I have to play better. It starts with me. We have great leadership on offense. Guys are frankly embarrassed with what we put out there last Sunday."
Siemian didn't blame his makeshift line that includes a rookie left tackle and a guard playing right tackle. Nor did he point the finger at his defiant offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, who stubbornly stuck with three-receiver sets even while Siemian was getting pummeled by Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa and Chris McCain, who sometimes reached the quarterback untouched.
Coach Vance Joseph said Thursday that Siemian is showing leadership by holding himself accountable.
"He can still lead our football team because our locker room respects Trevor and he's our quarterback," Joseph said Thursday. "But that's just Trevor being hard on Trevor."
Joseph reiterated that the blame for Denver's offensive woes is widespread.
"Our offensive issues are not all Trevor. He won't say that, but I will, for him," Joseph said. "He's hard on himself because he has high standards and he wants to play well for this football team. But he's fine as far as his confidence."
Emmanuel Sanders, who missed the game with a sprained ankle, told a local radio station that he told both Siemian and the offensive linemen to step up their play because the defense has carried the offense for much too long.
Sanders said he told Siemian in a meeting this week that he needs to get the ball out quicker.
"Sometimes you've got to be hot potato with that thing," Sanders said. "... And at the same time, I told the offensive line, man that's (expletive) that he has to deal with that. You guys take pride in what you do. You've got to go out and know your responsibilities. I mean we see every single look every single week. Nobody's throwing any major surprises at us."
Despite their slide, the Broncos know they can climb out of their funk Monday night with a win over the Chiefs that would tighten the AFC West race.
"I think as a team, we're in this weird spot where we're frustrated with the way things have gone, but shoot, we're excited, too," Siemian said. "We have a chance to get right back in it."
Complicating that task is a rash of injuries, including those to inside linebacker Todd Davis (ankle), whose ability to shoot the correct gaps was key to Denver's goal line stand in L.A. last week, and defensive end Derek Wolfe (hand, foot), a big reason the Broncos are No. 2 in run defense.
NOTES: The Broncos practiced outdoors with temperatures in the 30s ahead of a snowstorm Thursday. "It's cold. I'm not used to it yet. Being in Florida last year, man, I am soft," Joseph said. ... WR Cody Latimer, whom Joseph termed a top-tier receiver and returner, is practicing for the first time since spraining a knee a month ago. ... After participating in the walkthrough Wednesday, QB Paxton Lynch participated in his first true practice since injuring his throwing shoulder in the preseason. ... Injured QB Chad Kelly showed off his arm strength this week when he threw dozens of passes after practice between 50 and 65 yards.
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