Broncos coach sticking with Osweiler for Patriots

  • Denver Broncos' Brock Osweiler (17) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez) Michael Perez

  • Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz, right, and Denver Broncos' Brock Osweiler meet after an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Matt Rourke

Associated Press
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Jake Butt won’t be rescuing the Denver Broncos’ faltering offense, at least not this season.

The rookie tight end is headed to injured reserve along with quarterback Chad Kelly, the seventh-round draft pick from Mississippi who is still working his way back from knee and wrist surgeries.

“Chad Kelly came back to practice last week and numbers-wise it doesn’t make sense for our football team” to carry four quarterbacks, coach Vance Joseph said. “We were hoping that Jake could come back and help us at this point, but he’s not ready yet.”

The former Michigan star was a projected first-round pick before tearing his right ACL in the Orange Bowl. He slipped to the fifth round and the Broncos were hoping he’d give them a much-needed boost at the midpoint of the season.

Going on IR “doesn’t mean I’m going to be checked out of these meetings and waiting on next year,” Butt said. “I’m still going to be locked in and trying to learn as much as I can this year. But in terms of the overall health of my knee, yeah, that probably is going to help me long-term just having extra time to rehab and strengthen it and get back to full health.”

Joseph also announced Monday that he’s sticking with Brock Osweiler as his starting quarterback despite his pair of costly interceptions in Denver’s 51-23 flop in Philadelphia on Sunday. Next up for the 3-5 Broncos is the 6-2 New England Patriots, who invade Sports Authority Field at Mile High in the nationally televised Sunday night game.

“I’m only concerned about the Patriots this week and we’ll see where we are next Monday,” Joseph said.

Despite making many mistakes and completing just half of his 38 throws, Osweiler energized the team after taking over for a turnover-prone Trevor Siemian and made several good decisions, such as his audible on his touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, Joseph said.

“So, I think Brock deserves one more week to kind of prove that he’s the guy for us,” Joseph said. “Because he had a great week of preparation.”

If Osweiler has another middling performance, Joseph might go back to Siemian or give former first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch a look, although he was quoted by the CBS crew Sunday as saying the ex-Memphis star wasn’t ready physically or mentally to play after getting hurt in the preseason.

Joseph explained Monday that he wasn’t talking about “a lack of football IQ,” but “I was talking more about time on the job. He’s missed so much time. So, to put him in an NFL game in Week 10 wouldn’t be fair to our football team or to Paxton.”

No matter who’s calling the plays, Joseph said the coaching staff has to do a better job preparing them.

Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has stuck to a steady diet of three-wide receiver sets even though 18 of the 21 sacks and all 10 interceptions over the last six games have come out of that formation.

“Am I satisfied with the play calling” on offense? Joseph said. “I’ve said this after every loss, that we’ve got to coach better.”