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Elway shouldn’t avoid accountability for Denver’s demise

The players supposedly have gotten a little soft, and at times non-competitive. An offensive coordinator who previously coordinated the offense apparently has been deemed insufficiently suited to continue coordinating the offense. A coach who previously didn’t coach the team eventually could be deemed insufficiently suited to continue coaching the team.

Through it all, John Elway will continue to run the Broncos football operations, without any meaningful accountability to ownership.

Elway enjoys a unique set of circumstances. Ownership of the Broncos currently is held in a trust, which means that there is no single owner who can or will ask Elway tough questions about the construction of the roster and other decisions regarding the football team. Ownership will continue to be held in a trust, supervised by a trio of trustees, until one of the children of Pat Bowlen is deemed to be ready, willing, and able to assume responsibility for the team.

Until then, Elway will have the job essentially for as long as he wants it, especially in light of the Super Bowl that the team won two years ago and the new contract he signed earlier this year.

That doesn’t mean Elway will get a free and clear pass. Fans and media can ask tough questions about, for example, the failure to have an effective quarterback plan since the retirement of Peyton Manning. Players can, too.

“Everybody in this organization is accountable for how we are playing right now,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told reporters on Sunday, in response to Elway’s remarks about his perception that the team has gone “a little bit soft.”

Harris is right. Despite efforts to blame the players and, as of Monday morning, to blame offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and possibly to blame coach Vance Joseph, responsibility for the six-game losing goes to every layer and level of the organization, and the buck ultimately stops on Elway’s desk.

Even if there’s no one in the organization who has the ability to ever tell him to clean it out.