Woody Paige: Denver Broncos need coaching changes

Posted at 1:00 PM, Dec 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-26 15:00:56-05

DENVER -- The devastating defeat against overwhelming odds seemed reminiscent of The Battle of Little Bighorn.

It was the Broncos’ Last Stand.

And their leadership, strategy, manpower, determination and offensive and defense effort couldn’t stand against a superior opponent.

The Broncos, like the 7th Calvary, didn’t deserve to win.

Recently, I stared for an hour at a painting depicting the U.S. Army-Native American conflict near the Little Bighorn River in the Eastern Montana Territory. I couldn’t understand what General George Custer must have been thinking.

I had similar feelings on Sunday night watching coach Gary Kubiak in Kansas City, Mo.

Both battles were blowouts.

Obviously, the Broncos’ loss to the Chiefs isn’t significant.

The Broncos merely are a mediocre mess this season.

But, really, to go down like THAT?

They couldn’t stop the rain, or being rained on, by K.C.

Media experts were claiming the quarreling Broncos would use the post-game antics of a week ago to rally together and play well against the Chiefs.

Instead, they just quit. Neither the offense nor the defense played, and they didn’t have sense enough to get out of the rain and get out of the way of the Chiefs.

The final humiliation was letting the World’s Largest Human throw a touchdown pass.


It was very reminiscent of the Broncos’ 2008 season when they were 8-5 with three games remaining and were in great position to go to the playoffs.  Then they fell at Carolina, and at home against the Bills, and went to San Diego, still with an opportunity to win the AFC West.

The Broncos were crushed by the Chargers 52-21 and ended up 8-8 and out of the postseason.

Mike Shanahan, who supposedly had a "lifetime" contract to coach the Broncos after winning two Super Bowls, was fired.

The Broncos did not go out kicking and screaming, as John Elway demands, in Kansas City.

They were crawling and whimpering.

Kubiak will not get fired. He won a Super Bowl last season. But his offensive coaching staff shouldn’t be, and won’t be, as fortunate.

First, Kubiak must push himself aside the real offensive coordinator. If he intends to continue after suffering a second experience with health issues this year, he should concentrate on being the head coach, and not the be-all to end-all on the offense.

Then, it’s time for the offensive coordinator-in-name-only, Rick Dennison, to be the full-time offensive line coach, or leave. Dennison has been a loyal member of the Broncos as a player, an assistant and a coordinator for a long time, but he’s not the future here as the offensive coordinator. He studied as a line coach under Alex Gibbs, the best there ever was, but, truthfully, Dennison has outkicked his coverage. This offense was the worst – worse than the Tim Tebow-coached offense and the Kyle Orton-coached offense.

Truthfully, the others must go, too, and the Broncos have to start anew. Clancy Barone used to be the Broncos tight ends' coach. Under Kubiak, he shifted to the offensive line. The offensive line has been awful for two years.  Others have to share the blame – Elway, Dennison and Kubiak included – but Barone showed us nothing. Nor James Cregg, his offensive line assistant.

Tight end coach Brian Pariani has done little, or nothing, to improve his tight ends – when they are healthy. The Broncos have struggled with eight tight ends in two seasons, and not one has made a dent.

Eric Studesville is a good coach, and has served the Broncos well – even briefly as an interim head coach between Josh McDaniels and John Fox. But the running backs have been most atrocious, particularly this season, and there must be a change.

Same with Tyke Tolbert, the wide receivers' coach. Sure, the Broncos have two 1,000-yard wide receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but what else?  And Demaryius has digressed.

Greg Knapp has worked closely with Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, but is he as good as Adam Gase? No.

How far has Paxton come?

Trevor looked terrible Sunday night.

Look how Brock has turned out.

And Peyton, I think, would say privately that Knapp didn’t help him so much.

Then, there are two others – Marc Lubick, an offensive assistant with the receivers, and Klint Kubiak, who helps with the quarterbacks. These would be tough for Kubiak. One is his son; the other is the son of Sonny Lubick, Kubiak’s old friend.

Tough decisions. But Kubiak must make them because the offense is a failure.

Those who don't study the history of this season are doomed to repeat it.