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NFL: Denver Broncos seek fix by firing offensive coordinator Mike McCoy

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Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy walks the field before a game against the Eagles on Nov. 5 at Lincoln Financial Field.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Vance Joseph’s switch of quarterbacks didn’t stop the Denver Broncos’ skid, so the rookie head coach changed offensive coordinators.

Joseph on Monday fired Mike McCoy, his first hire when he got the job, and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.

“Moving to Billy I think we’re going to have a chance to have a more efficient pass game with simply simplifying the concepts and helping our quarterbacks have a cleaner progression on where to go with the ball,” said Joseph, who promoted Klint Kubiak to take over Musgrave’s position.

McCoy joined Joseph for a second stint as Denver’s offensive coordinator after a middling four-year run as the Chargers’ head coach.

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Musgrave, who was John Elway’s backup in Denver in the late 1990s, is a 20-year coaching veteran with nine seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Vikings, Jaguars, Panthers, Eagles and most recently the Raiders in 2015 and ’16.

Joseph wouldn’t commit to keeping Brock Osweiler as his starting QB, saying he’d huddle with Musgrave and the rest of his staff.

The Broncos (3-7) have lost six straight — three under Osweiler, who has three touchdown passes and four interceptions, and three under Trevor Siemian, who had nine TDs and 10 INTs when he was benched.

These changes might be a precursor to giving former first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch an audition. Elway moved up in the 2016 draft to select Lynch with the 26th pick, but the former Memphis star was beaten out by Siemian two summers in a row.

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Lynch spent the first two months of this season recovering from a sprained throwing shoulder he sustained in the preseason. He returned to practice a few weeks ago and was active Sunday for the first time as Osweiler’s backup in the Broncos’ 20-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

McCoy had increasingly drawn scrutiny for his overly complex game plans and insistence on using three wide receivers as his base formation to both pass and run, even though the vast majority of the Broncos’ penalties, sacks and turnovers have come out of that formation.

Joseph stressed that he wasn’t scapegoating McCoy for Denver’s myriad problems.

“Mike didn’t fumble the ball. Mike didn’t throw interceptions,” Joseph said. “But ultimately it falls on Mike’s plate.”

Injury updates

New Orleans Saints defensive end Alex Okafor will miss the rest of the season after tearing an Achilles tendon Sunday. He has 4 1/2 sacks. ... Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah fractured his right foot Sunday and needs season-ending surgery. ... Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (ankle surgery) and running back Chris Thompson (broken leg) are headed to injured reserve. ... Houston Texans rookie running back D’Onta Foreman, who scored his first two touchdowns Sunday, likely will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury, coach Bill O’Brien said. ... Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, sidelined early in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, did not sustain any ligament damage to his right knee, coach Sean McDermott said.

Etc.

Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert has been suspended four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancers policy.... The Chicago Bears waived kicker Connor Barth, who missed a late field goal in Sunday’s 27-24 loss to Detroit, then signed former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos. ... Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and center Ryan Kalil returned to practice after extended absences due to injuries.

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