clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

John Elway needs to stick with Vance Joseph through 2018

The rookie head coach deserves a bit more leash than Broncos fans want to give him.

NFL: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Make no mistake, the Denver Broncos have a talented roster.

Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, and Bradley Roby form a trio of cornerbacks that are arguably unequaled in the NFL. On the edge, Von Miller is arguably the greatest pass rusher of his generation. Across from him, Shaquil Barrett is a great bookend. Derek Wolfe terrorizes offenses from the middle of the defensive line, and Domata Peko has transformed a pathetic run defense into a formidable wall of big bodies.

On offense, Demaryius Thomas remains a quality WR1, and Emmanuel Sanders produces more like a WR1 than a WR2. The Broncos’ running game has been consistently effective, if under-utilized. Matt Paradis is a high quality center. Ron Leary is a Pro Bowl or even All Pro level right guard this season. And Garett Bolles is a promising rookie left tackle.

And yet the Broncos are losing. The team is now 3- and riding a 5 game losing streak into the basement of the AFC West after suffering yet another embarrassing defeat. The cracks that began showing due to bottom of the barrel QB play have now taken on a momentum of their own as crippling special teams mistakes steadily pile up, offensive turnovers happen like clockwork, and the defense’s mighty spirit seems to have finally broken.

Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

It’s understandable that Broncos Country is extremely unhappy with the team’s situation. The Broncos have a proud, and long, winning tradition and this fanbase is not used to a team that’s losing more than it’s winning. More importantly, Broncos Country loathes the fact that the team seems to have lost its way.

That frustration, as well as frustrations within Dove Valley, have now resulted in the end of Mike McCoy’s second tenure as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, the repeated muffed punts and blown assignments on special teams have arguably landed ST coordinator Brock Olivo on one of the hottest seats in the NFL- at least if you ask fans. Even defensive coordinator Joe Woods has recently come under scrutiny due to back to back blowout defeats.

Atop this pile of questionable coaching stands head coach Vance Joseph. His coordinators and position coaches are all on hot seats at this point and, by its nature, heat rises.

But that doesn’t mean that the Broncos should slam the door on the Vance Joseph era in Denver.

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Why not? Well, for one thing we should all feel a little embarrassed that we didn’t see this coming in the first place. Vance Joseph is a rookie head coach. Moreover, he’s a rookie head coach who spent only one season at the coordinator level. We collectively should have been way more cognizant of the fact that Joseph came into this job facing an extremely steep learning curve. As such, the dude deserves some patience. Anyone who’s either A) supported Trevor Siemian for the past season and a half or B) supported Paxton Lynch for that same period of time needs to step back and realize that the rookie head coach deserves at least as much patience and forbearance as you’ve been willing to grant your young quarterback of choice.

The simple fact is that Vance Joseph deserves more time. Here are a couple more reasons for that:

First, as mentioned, he’s a rookie head coach. This season was his first rodeo, and I guarantee you there’s a whole laundry list of things he’d do differently if he knew in June what he knows now. He deserves a chance to implement those changes- to take the clean slate of a new season and use it to show his growth in the role. If he screws that up? Sure, by all means, kick him to the curb and try again. But you’ve gotta give the guy a chance to show that growth or lack thereof. Which feeds into the second reason...

Organizational stability and continuity. One of my boss’s favorite phrases is, “Keep an eye out for change. That’s where you’ll find the mistakes.” It might be the only thing that football and accounting have in common, but it does hold true. Change brings unfamiliarity with it and exponentially increases the risk of screwing up.

Just look at the Browns. The result of an interminable carousel of coaches and quarterbacks has been perennial futility. Frankly, the Broncos are dangerously close to that territory. They’ve now had three different head coaches in four seasons, and four different starting QBs in the same time span. That’s a staggering degree of discontinuity for a franchise as good as this one. All that change has brought a proportional load of mistakes on and off the field, and the team has been feeling the effects for the last year and a half. Blowing up the coaching staff, especially without giving Joseph more room to show his development as a head coach, will only increase this problem. You can only hit the reset button so often before you break something, and the Broncos need to practice some patience for their own sake as well as Vance Joseph’s.

And for good or ill, in the modern NFL head coaches live and die by their quarterbacks. But by that measure, Vance Joseph has been set up to fail in his first season. He’s certainly made some questionable decisions, like dragging the QB competition out so long and waiting overly long to bench Trevor Siemian. But, honestly, look at the guy’s options: a talent-deficient Trevor Siemian, a retread Brock Osweiler who’s more of a career backup than a real starter, and a probably in-the-process-of-busting Paxton Lynch. Joseph didn’t get a shot at choosing “his guy”. He’s had to work with Gary Kubiak’s leftovers, and it shows. He needs a chance to help choose a guy of his own and put the whole team and focus behind that one quarterback.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chief Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

If you read that and your reaction is to say that we should have hired someone else as head coach? Fair enough, but take that up with John Elway. It’s not Vance Joseph’s problem. His problem is learning to be a better head coach, and he needs to be given the necessary time to do that or to prove that the necessary improvement won’t happen. Ten games is not long enough for that, and neither is sixteen.

A number of the issues the Broncos have faced this season are attributable to their rookie head coach and his inexperience. But there were also plenty of others that were outside of his control. Firing the man as a knee-jerk reaction to a season in which problem after problem piled up and caused the team to misfire in all phases is just not a wise move.


As it stands now, should Vance Joseph get another year as the Broncos head coach?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    (805 votes)
  • 51%
    (847 votes)
1652 votes total Vote Now