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Demaryius Thomas: ‘There’s going to be change’ for the Broncos in 2018

Demaryius Thomas: ‘There’s going to be change’ for the Broncos in 2018

“We just can’t give up. We can’t stop playing, because there’s going to be a change. We don’t know what it is going to be,” Thomas told Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post following the Broncos embarrassing 35-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. “We can’t put bad film on tape for nobody, but it’s going to be a change.”

Thomas’ quote says a lot about the current state of the Broncos’ locker room, and it shows that everyone on the team’s roster (with the possible exception of All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller) is on notice.

Players are now in a position where they are playing for their respective careers – either in Denver or with another NFL franchise. The harsh reality of the situation is that putting out below-average film over the next four weeks could result in multiple players seeing their NFL careers come to an end.

When it comes to Thomas, Denver could look to trade or release Thomas, the two-time All-Pro has to convince the Broncos that he is worthy of his scheduled $8.5 million base salary and $12.03 million cap hit in 2018. If he fails to do so, ending his eight-year run with the franchise.

The Broncos are sitting at the bottom of the AFC West standings with a 3-9 record, but according to general manager John Elway, the team is not going to make any coaching changes during the season. 

In a radio appearance on Orange & Blue 760, Elway acknowledged it has been a tough year for the Broncos and said he is "embarrassed" about the team's performance this season. 

"We're gonna finish the season out and, obviously we know the expectations of the Denver Broncos, you know," Elway said . "And this has been a tough year. It's not what the Broncos are about." 

The Broncos are making franchise history, but not for the right reasons. Denver has lost eight straight games,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/aqib-talib-jersey-authentic]Womens Aqib Talib Jersey[/url], its longest losing streak since 1967.  

"I'm embarrassed about it, and the expectations of Broncos fans should be for us to get this turned around, the fact that this has happened and will do my part to hopefully get this thing turned around next year," Elway said. 

First-year head coach Vance Joseph said earlier this week that he's "disappointed in the season" but that his players have not given up. 

" Joseph said. "We want to push forward,"We don't want to just survive this next month, keep studying,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/emmanuel-sanders-jersey-authentic]Womens Emmanuel Sanders Jersey[/url], keep working, keep pushing details. And trying to win football games, we don't want guys just showing up to work and just checking boxes."

C.J. Anderson hears the gripes of fans who are frustrated at the Broncos’ longest losing streak in 50 years. He sees the vitriol pouring daily across social media.

The veteran running back’s reply: Nobody is more angry amid an eight-game losing streak than the players in the locker room.

“We are all sick and tired of losing,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if y’all understand how much losing bothers people. Y’all are not in it, so y’all don’t feel it. It’s like going to a job every day and it (stinks). It just (stinks). You’re talking to other players around the league and you’re seeing fun celebrations that you never got a chance to do. It just (stinks).”

Players are so eager to taste victory, Anderson said,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/chris-harris-jr-jersey-authentic]Womens Chris Harris Jr Jersey[/url], that beating the 5-7 Jets would “feel like a playoff win” for the 3-9 Broncos.

“We might dump the Gatorade on (coach Vance Joseph), confidence-wise. It would be good in the locker room,” he said. “We haven’t won in two months. We haven’t won in 60 days. A win would just be good. It would be good, just playing a clean game of football. That’s what we’ve been asking all season: Can we play just one game of clean football?”

Anderson said Wednesday he’s still determined to hit 1,000 yards rushing this season. To hit that mark, Anderson would need to average 87 yards per game over the final four contests of the season. His current career best his 849 yards during his Pro Bowl season in 2014.

Injury report. Offensive guard Ron Leary and nose tackle Domata Peko were among six Broncos players who sat out Wednesday’s practice.

Leary (back) and Peko (knee) both missed Sunday’s games in Miami due to their injuries. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ankle),[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/c.j.-anderson-jersey-authentic]Womens C.J. Anderson Jersey[/url], running back Jamal Charles (rest) and quarterback Paxton Lynch (knee), who has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jets, linebacker Joe Jones (Achilles), were the others who did not practice.

Joseph said Jones’ Achilles injury is not serious. Linebacker Todd Davis (ankle) and running back DeAngelo Henderson (personal matter) were limited in Wednesday’s practice.

Dolphins in place of the injured Leary and was presented a massive challenge in blocking all-pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

But McGovern held his own in the first start of his NFL career.

“I’ll tell you what, he battled, but as the game went on,” Joseph said. “That’s a tough guy to play against in your first start in Suh. The first couple of series,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/matt-paradis-jersey-authentic]Womens Matt Paradis Jersey[/url], he kind of felt his way through it, he got more comfortable. He graded out (well) against an all-pro player, a veteran player who has played a lot of football. I was proud of ‘Mac’ and how he played against Suh.”

McGovern will make his second straight start Sunday if Leary is unable to return.

The Jets are somewhat of a surprise at 5-7 this season. Many expected New York to be competing for the No. 1 pick on the 2018 NFL draft. Instead, they enter Week 14 on the far edge of the playoff race.

Their relative success has been tied to the right arm of a 38-year-old quarterback. Josh McCown has been among the league’s most efficient passers. He leads the league in third-down completion percentage (70.8) and has eclipsed a quarterback rating of 100 in eight of his 12 starts. He’s closing in on 3,000 yards and has thrown 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He also rushed for two of his team-leading five touchdowns in a comeback victory over the Chiefs on Sunday.

“He’s playing well, he’s doing that. Their running game was really good last week, but he is making good decisions with the football. Their quick game has been good and he’s also been hitting big plays. He’s playing well for them. As he’s played,” Joseph said. “When you speak about a game manager, they’ve won.”

Footnote. The Broncos worked out 10 players Tuesday, Jordan Leslie, including quarterbacks Mitch Leidner and Wes Lunt. They also worked wide receivers Keyarris Garrett, Josh Magee and Alonzo Moore; offensive guards Darrell Greene and Tre’ Jackson; and tight ends Colin Jeter and Beau Sandland.

Nearly two months ago, Trevor Siemian had done the unthinkable. He had guided the Broncos to wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys and defied the odds stacked high against both him — a seventh-round pick out of Northwestern — and the Broncos’ offense, which was still in transition since the retirement of Peyton Manning.

In the first two weeks of the season, Siemian led the league in passing touchdown percentage (10 percent), their defense ranked in the top five in total yards allowed and yards rushing, ranked fifth in passer rating (106.9) and had the Broncos averaging 33 points per game, tied for third the NFL. Their run game was clicking, and finally the Broncos appeared to have the complete package. With a star in the making at quarterback, no less.

The Broncos have lost their way in nearly every facet and are searching for their identity. Just as significant, Siemian, has taken a sharp fall as the team has rotated through three starters, their once QB on the rise, fired an offensive coordinator and lost eight consecutive games by an average of nearly 17 points.

From the outside, it’s perhaps easy to assume that Siemian — like his team — is broken.

” he said Wednesday. “You look around the league,“I’m good. It happens, no doubt. But it’s all on me. I’ve been reckless with the ball at times, you see quarterbacks take their licks. I feel like I’ve taken my fair share, made some bad throws. I can own up to that. I’ve got to improve, no doubt.”

As the Broncos’ season has tumbled, there has been a familiar pattern from the offense: Turnovers lead to an early deficit, a poor throw there, forcing them to move away from the run game and often prompting Siemian to press to make a big play and stop the bleeding. Often that has backfired, setting the Broncos further into a tailspin with another turnover here, and before they know it, an even larger deficit.

It’s a vicious cycle the Broncos have been unable to stop since they returned from their Week 5 bye, and one that cost Siemian his starting job midway through the season.

“When things aren’t going well, you want to do something — fit a ball in, you want to make a play, you want to make sure you don’t miss a play — and that’s when bad things happen. For me I just kind of go back to feeling the flow of the game and not trying to do too much.”

For Siemian, Siemian engineered a pair of long scoring drives to spare the Broncos of a blowout loss. Had Denver gotten one more defensive stop, the flashes of potential have often been masked by critical mistakes. When he took over for an injured Paxton Lynch in the second half at Oakland, Siemian would have had a chance to lead the offense to a tie and force overtime.

 his first start since getting benched,But when he returned to the field last Sunday at Miami, with misreads,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/aqib-talib-jersey-authentic]Authentic Aqib Talib Jersey[/url], Siemian appeared a different quarterback, off-target passes and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Though he’s struggled under pressure throughout the season, Siemian went 15-of-31 passing for 176 yards, zero touchdowns, it was his play with no pressure on Sunday that was alarming. According to Pro Football Focus,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/emmanuel-sanders-jersey-authentic]Authentic Emmanuel Sanders Jersey[/url], all three picks and a 26.5 passer rating when operating with a clean pocket at Miami.

Even more concerning is the drop-off in Siemian’s play from his impressive first two weeks, he had a clean pocket on 68 percent of his dropbacks and completed 75 percent of his passes for five touchdowns, to his last six as a starter. In Weeks 1 and 2, one interception and a 127.5 rating on those plays.

In his last six starts, has completed 67.7 percent of his passes,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/chris-harris-jr-jersey-authentic]Authentic Chris Harris Jr Jersey[/url], tossed two touchdowns, hehas had no pressure on 62.8 percent of his dropbacks, been picked off five times and recorded a 79.7 rating.

Under pressure, and he’s thrown six interceptions to one touchdown. He’s also taken 22 of his 29 sacks in that stretch. Though he completed only 37.5 percent of his passes under pressure in the first two weeks, his numbers have plummeted. His rating is a paltry 14.4 in his last six starts, his touchdown-to-interception ratio was 1-to-1.

“He’s the same guy. He’s a confident quarterback and he’s a smart guy. He studies and works at it,” coach Vance Joseph said. “I would say this: Decision-making and seeing different defenses as the season progresses,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/c.j.-anderson-jersey-authentic]Authentic C.J. Anderson Jersey[/url], guys play you differently. That can be a reason that he hasn’t played consistent. Our focus now is Sunday and I’m looking forward to Trevor playing better this Sunday.”

The Broncos’ final four games mean little for their standing. The hope of a playoff return was crushed long ago. But the final stretch means everything to the players and coaches fighting for job security in 2018.

“A lot of bad breaks in Miami. One thing I know about Trevor is he will move on,” running back C.J. Anderson said. “He understands it’s tough. I think it’s a re-evaluation for all of us, still calm and collected like the Trevor he was when he started competing for this job last year, [url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/shelby-harris-jersey-authentic]Authentic Shelby Harris Jersey[/url],what we need to do in the offseason for our personal career to push through times and situations like this.”

The Denver Broncos will head into 2018 looking to shed some money on the salary cap. The Broncos have too many cap dollars going to former stars whose level of play isn't justifying their cost.

Aqib Talib is one of those players. Scheduled to count for $12 million against Denver's cap next year, Talib has become an albatross weighing down the Broncos salary cap. The Broncos can save all but $1 million of that money by releasing him before June 1st.

When things are going good, Talib is one the best players a team can have. But when those cracks begin to show,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/matt-paradis-jersey-authentic]Authentic Matt Paradis Jersey[/url], the four-time Pro Bowler can become a liability and really cost his team.

In his time as a Bronco, take players down by the facemask, and rip off gold chains. He's an intense and emotional player, we've seen Talib poke opponents' eyes, but sometimes Talib's explosive nature gets turned onto his own teammates and friendly fire ensues.

Talib has pushed his own teammates on the field, Talib can be a good influence and a leader. But when it goes off the rails,[url=http://www.broncosfootballauthentic.com/shelby-harris-jersey-authentic]Womens Shelby Harris Jersey[/url], as we've seen this year, shouted down teammates in the locker room and has gotten into trouble off the field. When things are going good and the Broncos are winning, he can exacerbate the issues.

If Talib were still playing at an All-Pro level, Denver's decision next year might be more difficult. But he hasn't been. In fact, there have been times where Aqib Talib hasn't been giving 100 percent on the field.

Either that, or Father Time is catching up to him quickly. That's simply my take.

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The Broncos have Chris Harris, Jr. locked down contractually beyond 2018. He's not going anywhere.

Denver exercised Bradley Roby's fifth-year option, which keeps him around through 2018. From there, the Broncos will have a decision to make.

But it's looking like Roby is on pace to not only take over for Talib as a starter, Roby has flashed elite ability at times, but also to break the bank with a new contract. In his three-plus years with the Broncos, but he hasn't consistently sustained it.

That's the way it goes for No. 3 cornerbacks playing behind two All-Pros. The opposing quarterback is always going to look his way first, which puts a unique type of pressure on him many fans don't fully appreciate.

Roby has produced a solid — if unspectacular — 2017 campaign. He has defensed 15 passes this year, with one interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Last week, Roby saw an uptick in snaps and he didn't disappoint. Roby was targeted nine times by Jay Cutler, allowing just three receptions for 53 yards, with Talib serving his one-game suspension for the sideline brawl that erupted the week before in Oakland, according to Pro Football Focus.

Roby also had two passes defensed and broke up another by laying a hit on the wideout to break it up. He finished as one of Denver's highest-graded players on the day, per PFF.

The Broncos have been blessed with an embarrassment of riches at the cornerback position, with easily the best trio in the NFL over the last four seasons. It helped the team bring home their third Lombardi Trophy, while establishing the No-Fly Zone as one the elite defensive units in the NFL.

But you can't keep the band together forever, while Harris is still playing at a Pro Bowl level. With all of the needs the Broncos have going into 2018, especially in the modern NFL. Talib is well over 30 years old, they don't have the luxury of keeping Talib around at the cost he's currently locked in at.

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the front office and perhaps the coaching staff have become a bit tired of Talib's antics to boot. He gave the Broncos three elite seasons, and helped them win a Super Bowl and might even be destined for the Hall of Fame, considering his production and profile on winning teams.

But Talib's time in Denver is coming to a close, while Bradley Roby is continuing to showcase his talent. Roby is a real diamond in the rough the Broncos can push to the forefront more in 2018 and beyond. He has the talent to match up with the best wideouts in the business.

“As long as his technique’s right, he can cover anybody in this league, athletically," defensive coordinator Joe Woods said on Thursday.

Is Roby ready to replace Talib? Sometimes we can't forecast the answer without seeing a player thrust into a given situation. Last week gave us a glimpse, however.