The end is nigh for Vance Joseph as head coach of the Denver Broncos.
Everyone knows it, but even if Joseph does he can’t admit it. He spent a good portion of Monday’s press conference defending his tenure with the team and his coaching staff. After two straight losses, the heat is definitely on.
“I don’t,” Joseph said when asked if he thinks about his future in Denver. “Again, it’s about my coaches and my players. We have a great staff. It would be tough for me to find a better staff in this league. These coaches, they’ve coached a really, really young team and we’ve got young guys playing at a high level because of our coaches. Our players each week, they’ve battled. That’s my only focus or concern—not my future. My ultimate focus is really the Oakland Raiders on next Monday night. That’s where my head is right now.”
That coaching staff has produced an offense that is 21st in point and 18th in total yards and defense that is 10th in points, but 25th in total yards. But it hasn’t even been the inconsistencies there that have been a concern, it has been the questionable in-game decisions from both Joseph and his coordinators making the play calls.
You can look back on this 6-8 team and see two games where Joseph himself likely cost them a win. That’s the difference between being 6-8 and looking at a potential firing at the end of the season and being 8-6 in playoff contention having fought through the NFL’s toughest schedule.
“That’s always a tough deal,” Joseph said of looking back on the teams losses. “I look back all the time about games that we could’ve won and should’ve won. That’s part of the process, but that’s over. We’re out of it and we’ve got two more weeks to kind of prove our worth. Obviously, finishing 8-8 is better than finishing 6-10. Right now, we’re focused on the Oakland Raiders. It’s very simple for us right now.”
The Broncos are definitely out of it. The only reason to win games now is for pride and to help Joseph make an argument for his job.
In a way, he’s already forming his case for another year in Monday’s presser. He defending his coaching staff, noting he wouldn’t be able to find a better coaching staff in the NFL. He even attributed the high play of the rookie class to the quality of coaching they all received.
“Yes, I believe that,” Joseph said when asked if he sees improvement coming. “I do. We have a great staff. This staff is bar none. They’ve raised a lot of young players this year and they’re playing at a high level. That speaks to the staff and that speaks to the work that guys are putting in, and the culture that we’re building here. It can be a bad deal if this wasn’t in place, in my opinion.”
It’s hard, as a fan, to buy into what Joseph is selling. Maybe John Elway will see things we can’t see and look to turn things around in year three.
As it stands, Joseph has a .367 winning percentage as a head coach. That is lower than Josh McDaniels had in his season and a half. It’s the worst winning percentage for a Broncos head coach since 1971 when Lou Saban was fired after leading the franchise to a .323 winning percentage in five seasons (note: Excluding coaches with fewer than eight games).
The franchise is in need of a reset and the best way to do that in 2018 is for the Broncos to bring in a new head coach with a fresh program.