clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

HT: Open letter from Broncos Country to Vance Joseph

Welcome to the Denver Broncos! Here’s a guide to embracing our passionate - but often insane - fan base.

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

A lot has happened in the last 24 hours - Broncos hired a new coach; Broncos lost a defensive coordinator; Broncos may have hired an offensive coordinator; Broncos "parted ways" with the rest of the offensive staff; and the Chargers moved to L.A. after choosing the worse logo in the history of logos.

But of all these things, the most important is that the Broncos have a new head coach - former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. And since he is not quite as familiar with Broncos culture as the previous coaching regime, I thought we could help him understand us.

Dear Mr. Joseph:

Congratulations on being named head coach of the Denver Broncos!! You have just joined the greatest franchise in the NFL, boasting the best owner in all of sports and claiming perhaps the most competitive and successful former player as GM. You just can’t do any better than that for solid leadership.

Based on your presser Thursday, you clearly get "the winning culture" that is not just expected but demanded in Dove Valley. And based on comments from a slew of coaches and players around the NFL, it would appear you also are all about demanding the most out of players – which will serve you very well here.

But you’ve also inherited one of the most finicky yet passionate fan bases in all pro sports, so I want to give you a little primer to understanding and embracing what is known around here as "Broncos Country" (kudos to you for getting it right in your opening news conference…that’s a good sign).

Every single player and coach who becomes part of this family makes note of what great fans the Broncos have. And it’s true. I dare say there is not another fan base as active with their team – on game day as well as within the community – as Broncos fans.

As a former CU Buffalo, you are presumably familiar with Broncos fans. And that would mean you know something of the obsession that defines this group. But given that your time in this state was between or after the Super Bowl "years" in the late 80s and late 90s, and long before Tebowmania or The Sheriff, you likely have no idea the level of crazy we can reach.

So let me just help you out a bit and give some pointers to help navigate Broncos fandom while you are also hiring a new staff and getting up to speed with the team.

TYJE

On second reference (sometimes first), John Elway is neither Mr. Elway, Elway or John. He is TYJE (Thank You John Elway).

I doubt I need to explain this, but just to make sure we’re on the same page, No. 7 resurrected this franchise in the 80s and again in the 90s as the greatest comeback quarterback ever. Then he swooped in as General Manager in 2011 and has been keeping this team competitive ever since.

So don’t f*&$ with this man. (note: and in writing, it is also perfectly acceptable to mention "In Elway We Trust" at any appropriate juncture.)

It is Broncos COUNTRY

Somehow we did not make this clear to Gary Kubiak who still wondered out loud which it was during his resignation speech. We will not make the same mistake with you (and as acknowledged above, you did say "country" in your presser. But you also said "Bronco," so just to be 100 percent in sync here:
Broncos Country.
Broncos Country.
Broncos Country
Broncos Country.
Broncos Country.
OK, moving on.

Win now and from now on

This is not just a cliché on Draft Day. It is most definitely that too, but it is genuine sentiment through and through. So never think you get a "rebuilding" year. The fact that you mentioned a "reboot not a rebuild" is promising, but make no mistake, it better not be a "Windows 10" type of reboot. It better be a Mac OS 10 type – moving from a badass wildcat (lion) to a majestic mountain range (Sierra).

A good slogan is key

Especially when trying to create some swagger on offense, you need a catchy phrase that the fan base can grab onto and over-market all throughout the season. It can’t be cheesy, and it has to be tweetable (hint: do NOT use "swagger" or "reboot;" they were great for the sound bites, bad for inspirational mantras).

Also, do not allow Broncos PR to talk you into "Calm. Cool. Collected" in any form. In my humble opinion, it’s the opposite of what we want for this team (also, it didn’t work out so well last season).

When Kubiak came in, Elway had already unknowingly coined the next season’s phrase - #KickingAndScreaming. And then the Kubiak regime brought in "Iron sharpens iron" to OTAs and Training Camp. Both were clever and classic. I am going to go on record as saying the lack of a good mantra this past season - #Horsepower – was the true downfall of this team.

Speak from the heart

While we’re talking about Broncos PR, don’t let Patrick Smyth tell you what to say in news conferences. In watching you just three times in the last few days – once in Miami, one-on-one with BroncosTV and then in your official presser – it’s clear you are a natural communicator...when not given a script. Take the talking points under advisement and then throw the paper in the trash on the way to the podium.

We’re a rather savvy fan base, and we know spin and diplomacy well.

Players say you’re a straight shooter with them, so be one with us too. Just tell us what you’re doing; own up to any misjudgments and explain all brilliant ones. We’ll all be happier for it.

Appreciate the history around you.

You have familiarity with the Broncos, but you don’t know the Broncos. Not yet. And not the way Pat Bowlen and John Elway do, or the way Gary Kubiak, Wade Philips and Rick Dennison did.

Appreciating all the greatness in this franchise way back to Gene Mingo and Floyd Little, through the 70s and the building of the Orange Crush, Elway’s two waves of Super Bowl campaigns spanning 16 years and ending with two championships, Jake Plummer’s just-not-quite-champion season, Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning and of course the NFL’s greatest defense in 2015 led by Von Miller. If you want to endear yourself to Broncos Country, learn, absorb and recite this amazing history.

Fix the offense.

The quickest way to gain some trust here will be to hire a guy who can train the guy behind a line of guys who can all make sure Broncos do "move the ball and score points" – as you suggested yesterday.

This starts by getting a good offensive line coach who can evaluate talent and coach it. Then it means quickly evaluating the right quarterback for the right offensive scheme and sticking with him. "Open competition" is a nice PC thing to say at a welcome news conference, but this season the team needs a choice at least by training camp so the designated play caller can focus on installing the playbook.

Don’t lose Wade Phillips.

Don’t let Wade Phillips go. His brilliance as a defensive coordinator, his respect among the players and his veteran leadership will all be paramount to this defense getting stronger next season. Well, at least keep Bill Kollar. (oh, and just as a side request, don’t let Aqib Talib go to Dallas in the offseason. At all.)

Bring back the Mile High Salute.

As a college player here in the 90s, you no doubt remember Terrell Davis’ Mile High Salute. It lived on for several years after TD left the game but now only comes back in spurts. As a "leader of men," lead your team to bring this back.

It’s as much a symbol of Broncos Country as the horse itself.

That should be enough to get you started. This is a great franchise to work for and a great team to coach. Congrats, coach and welcome!

Sincerely,
Broncos Country

Horse Tracks

Wade Phillips to sign with the Rams, as new Broncos coach Vance Joseph pauses on defense
Phillips, the mastermind of a dominating defense that carried the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory last season, will return to coaching. But not with the Broncos.

Rams give Wade Phillips a ‘lucrative’ 3-year contract | Broncos Wire
The Los Angeles Rams have given defensive coordinator Wade Phillips a massive, three-year contract.

Clancy Barone, Broncos part ways; Rick Dennison out as Vance Joseph revamps staff – The Denver Post
The team parted ways with offensive line coach Clancy Barone and tight ends coach Brian Pariani and showed the door to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, according to an NFL source.

Will John Elway have more input with a first-year head coach for Broncos?
Said Vance Joseph of general manager John Elway: "I will use John as my every resource, from players to coaches to scheduling to anything — how we travel. I’m happy John is here."

Vance Joseph has intelligence, alpha mentality to guide Broncos to championships
Joseph, 44, makes the biggest leap of his coaching career, moving from the Miami Dolphins, where he was defensive coordinator, to becoming the Broncos' head coach and the first full-time African-American head coach in team history.

Reaction to Vance Joseph's hiring as Denver Broncos head coach
It's official: Vance Joseph is the 16th head coach in Broncos history, taking over for Gary Kubiak. The former Dolphins defensive coordinator and Colorado alumnus was named the Broncos' new coach Wednesday, a day after interviewing and dining with the team.

Vance Joseph proud of, but not defined by, his position as Broncos' 1st black head coach
Measured against history and contemporary numbers, what Joseph has achieved is remarkable. Joseph is just the 18th African-American head coach in the NFL’s 96-year history, not counting interim hires.

John Elway of Denver Broncos -- 'Couldn't be happier' with Vance Joseph hire
Vance Joseph was introduced Thursday as the 16th head coach in Broncos history; he said he was excited, proud and humbled by the opportunity.

With head-coaching vacancies filling, Kyle Shanahan's options fading - Atlanta Falcons Blog- ESPN
Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan seemed to be a hot candidate for a head-coaching job, but his opportunities are dwindling.

Source: Chargers plan to hire Anthony Lynn as new coach
The Chargers plan to hire ex-Bills interim head coach Anthony Lynn as their next head coach, a team source tells ESPN's Adam Schefter. Lynn had served as a Bill assistant the past two seasons.

Chargers announce move to Los Angeles, leaving San Diego
The Chargers on Thursday announced their plans to return to Los Angeles, where the team played its inaugural season in 1960 before moving to San Diego in 1961.

Can the Chargers compete with Rams in Los Angeles? | NBC Sports
The Chargers are moving to L.A. after months of speculation and Mike Florio wonders how the team will compete with the Rams.

Young Falcons defense still inspired by Dwight Freeney speech - Atlanta Falcons Blog- ESPN
Dwight Freeney opened some eyes among the young players on the Falcons' defense with a passionate speech in a team meeting last month.

Falcons' Matt Ryan ready to strike Seahawks team missing Earl Thomas - Atlanta Falcons Blog- ESPN
Matt Ryan's attacking mindset won't change going into the divisional playoff matchup just because the Seahawks are without the injured Earl Thomas.

With head-coaching vacancies filling, Kyle Shanahan's options fading - Atlanta Falcons Blog- ESPN
Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan seemed to be a hot candidate for a head-coaching job, but his opportunities are dwindling.

Bills to hire Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator - NFL.com
After spending a season as the Ravens secondary coach, Leslie Frazier is moving up north to Buffalo to become the Bills defensive coordinator, a source informed told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Davante Adams leads Top-10 WRs in tight coverage - NFL.com
Davante Adams led all receivers this season in percentage of targets caught when in tight coverage. His rebound headlines Matt Harmon's Top-10 Next Gen Stats contested catch ranking.

Los Angeles Chargers are playoff contender in 2017 - NFL.com
While the Rams are spinning their wheels in a perpetual rebuilding effort, their new neighbors, the Chargers, boast a roster strong enough to crash the playoff party in a Los Angeles debut season.