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Vance Joseph confident in Broncos special teams coach

It's easy to look at Denver's 41-16 implosion against New England and ask if the team's playoff-worthy defense is a thing of the past.

Allowing 40-plus points in back-to-back games is concerning, but Sunday night's thrashing was centered on a rash of special-teams gaffes that sunk the Broncos out of the gate:

  1. Denver shut down New England on its opening drive only to have Isaiah McKenzie botch the punt return. The Patriots recovered and scored a rapid-fire touchdown on the ensuing march.
  1. Minutes later, New England's Dion Lewis returned a kick 103 yards for the score, putting the Patriots up 14-3.
  1. Denver then suffered a blocked punt that set up a field goal to give New England a 20-6 advantage.
  1. Finally, in the fourth quarter, Denver was flagged for a late substitution on a fourth-down punt by the Pats. Given new life, New England rolled down the field for another touchdown to seal the final score.

While Broncos passer Brock Osweiler remains a figure of suspicion in Denver, it was another Brock -- special teams coach Brock Olivo -- who came out of the game with questions about his future.

On Monday, coach Vance Joseph put those concerns to bed, telling reporters, per The Denver Post, that he maintains full confidence in Olivo.

"I do," Joseph said, per The Denver Post, "... He's a very, very bright guy. He's learned under a guy who's the best in the entire league (Kansas City's Dave Toub). ... I am not down on Brock."

Joseph argued the game tape revealed adequate effort, but too many mistakes, saying: "I think we're disappointed in where we are, but we're not broken by no means ... We have to figure out how to minimize those huge errors and play a cleaner brand of football."

Jospeh acknowledged Sunday that he couldn't recall an NFL game with so many special-teams struggles, but he isn't about to blow the machine up after one error-filled outing.

Either way, this sinking Broncos team has plenty to fix over the final month-plus of the regular season.

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