ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- At the moment, the Denver Broncos offense isn't what the team hoped it would be.
It's not what most anyone would want an offense to be, really, given that the Broncos already have benched one quarterback, have been shut out for the first time in a quarter century, have a growing pile of turnovers ... and still have half a season left to play.
As a result, there is little about what the Broncos are doing and how they're doing it that isn't under the microscope. In their current four-game losing streak, they’ve scored 52 points -- or one more than the Eagles had against them Sunday -- and 14 of those points came when they were losing by four touchdowns in Philadelphia, with one of the Broncos' touchdowns coming from the defense.
In short, no potential changes can be off the table and no one can be off limits. The word "truth," which is emblazoned in several places inside the Broncos complex, has to apply to every part of the team's playbook, game plans and game-day structure.
"Am I satisfied with the playcalling? I've said this after every loss: that we've got to coach better," said Broncos coach Vance Joseph. "When you lose, when you lose football games in this league, you have to coach better, you have to play better."
That means the coaches on the offensive side of the ball, Joseph said this week, have to find the combination of personnel and scheme that creates what he calls the "best formula" for the Broncos. And while the execution of the playcalls falls on the players, what makes up that "formula" from week to week falls on the coaches.
"It's a league that's really built and operated to have equal parts, so the difference sometimes is the coaching, the difference is the scheme and the playcalling," Joseph said. "So when you don't win, absolutely you have to coach better. And that starts with me. ... Understand that in this league coaching is very, very important. The better-coached teams win. Leave it at that."
This week the Broncos face the challenge of playing the team generally considered to be the best-coached group in the league, the Patriots. New England has Bill Belichick on the sideline and quarterback Tom Brady leading the seventh-highest-scoring offense in the league, at 27 points per game.
On the other side of the ball, however, the Broncos offense will face a Patriots defense that statistically has been at the bottom of the league's rankings for much of the season. New England is the only team in the league that has surrendered more than 400 yards per game (417). The Patriots are also last in the league in pass defense.
New England has limited opponents' ability to turn all of that yardage into points, however. The Patriots are tied for 16th in scoring defense -- nine spots better than the Broncos. So Denver will have to find a way to close out drives. And that has not been a strong point this season for the Broncos, who have outgained their opponents in four of their five losses.
In the 51-23 loss to the Eagles last Sunday, the Broncos' first three scoring drives ended with field goals while the Eagles' first three scoring drives ended with two touchdowns and a field goal. The Broncos finished with season lows in total yards (264) and rushing yards (35).
"When you get into their territory, you have to find ways to score touchdowns," is how quarterback Brock Osweiler put it earlier this week. "You're not going to beat a team like that on the road by kicking field goals and punting the football all day. Offensively, we know we need to get better, and we are going to work extremely hard to fix the issues that are taking place."