Freud on the NFL: Have the Broncos hit rock bottom yet? No. |

Freud on the NFL: Have the Broncos hit rock bottom yet? No.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) is tackled by Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Shawn Williams during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
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Freud’s Fives

Top five

1. Patriots (8-2) … They enjoyed Mexico City.

2. Eagles (9-1) … Now seeking home-field advantage.

3. Steelers (8-2) … Ate Mariota for lunch.

4. Saints (8-2) … Looking more real by the week.

5. Vikings (8-2) … Kicking off Thanksgiving in Detroit.

Bottom five

1. Browns (0-10) … Hue Jackson is 1-25 in Cleveland.

2. Niners (1-9) … Basking in the glow of their bye week.

3. Giants (2-8) … Lost to the Niners; beat the Chiefs?

4. Bears (3-7) … And they play the Eagles.

5. Broncos (3-7) … Yep.

OK, to the guy outside of City Market in Vail to whom I talked on the night of Saturday, Nov. 18, you were right.

He was worried about the Broncos-Bengals game. I wasn’t. Score one for him.

The Bengals sent Denver to its sixth-straight loss, 20-17, on Sunday, Nov. 18.

The Bungles? (Or the Bagels as I called them when I was a kid.)

In the sports analysis you’ve come to expect from the Vail Daily, this ain’t good.

The after effects

• Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy got canned.

I’m not a big fan of firing the coordinator midseason. Yes, the Broncos’ offense stinks, but how much of this is the coordinator’s fault?

McCoy wasn’t out there blocking, but neither was the Broncos’ offensive line. McCoy wasn’t the guy throwing interceptions.

Remember how much of a genius McCoy was as an offensive coordinator when Peyton Manning was the team’s quarterback?

Control and variable, people. Firing the offensive coordinator reeks of panic. In fairness, the Broncos are panicking.

• Getting rid of a coordinator is the precursor to axing the head coach. Vance Joseph has got to be looking over his shoulder now.

And if Joseph is on the block, then what does that say about the franchise? If the Broncos fire him at the end of this season, then they clearly hired the wrong guy in the first place.

• What happened to Brock Osweiler? Again, he was the heir apparent to Manning just 20 months ago. Yes, he had a horrific year in Houston, but he was a competent quarterback.

Again, all we ask for is competent. He managed the team well in 2015 when Manning needed a break. Where’d you go, Brock?

• General manager John Elway called his team “soft” before the Bengals game. In postgame interviews, it was quite clear the Broncos weren’t too happy about that.

Elway walked that back a bit on Tuesday, Nov. 21, and said that he was “first in line” when it comes to the team.

And, this is the issue, boys and girls.

Elway intended Osweiler to be the heir apparent.

Elway put together this team.

Elway hired Joseph.

As we said last week, he’s not getting fired. He’s John Elway, No. 7, the greatest Bronco of all time. A lot of this is on him, and this is getting ugly quick.

Elway’s tried patching the offensive line with no success. We’ll see if Paxton Lynch was worth a first-round selection. He’s your new starting quarterback.

The inevitable question is, “Are we looking at a rebuild in Denver?” Yes, the defense is great, but it gets worn down as the offense sputters over and over.

The Broncos have six weeks to think on this.

Coming and going

• The Eagles appear to be very much for real. Philadelphia crunched Dallas and essentially wrapped up the NFC East. Speaking of the Cowboys, they clearly weren’t last year’s team. All the drama with Ezekiel Elliott aside, they don’t play defense.

• Case Keenum continues to look like the second coming. I still say bring on Teddy Bridgewater.

• The Rams lost to the Vikings last week and host the Saints this weekend. These games as well as the Eagles in two weeks will tell us if Jared Goff & Co. are for real.

The Rams may win the NFC West by default, as the Seahawks appear to be fading from a great run this decade.

• Fading to black: Raiders, Bills, Ravens.

• Alive: Panthers, Falcons, Jaguars and, maybe, the Chiefs.

Onto Week 12.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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