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A humble apology to Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph

The one-time head coach and now defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos has earned the ire of Broncos Country for years...but given a recent turn of events, maybe it’s time for a truce

NFL: New York Jets at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When Sean Payton elected to hire former Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph as his new defensive coordinator over Rex Ryan, fans were understandably baffled.

Vance Joseph? The horrible head coach who had a resume the size of a Post-it note got hired? The guy who guided the Broncos to an 11-21 record in two seasons? The guy who never had anything but a mediocre defense (at best) as coordinator? That’s the guy you want?

Needless to say, the move was questioned.

Then he surrenders 35 points to the Washington Commanders, a league-wide embarrassing 70 points to the Miami Dolphins, and 31 points to the Nathaniel Hackett-led Jets offense. Although, the last one was a result of offensive ineptitude as well, so that one isn’t all on VJ.

The response from most with an emotional investment in the Broncos? Fire his ass. Fire him yesterday, use the Infinity time stone to erase any association he ever had with the team. Exile him from Denver and never allow him to return.

Okay, some of those may be an exaggeration, but fans were pissed, to say the least. The inept former head coach who had been a bottom-tier defensive coordinator in Miami and Arizona was once again making a mockery of the Broncos.

Yet, head coach Sean Payton wasn’t going to throw the towel in on his choice, no matter how passive-aggressive runner-up Rex Ryan was in his commentating position. And as a result...well, a lot of us have eggs on our faces.

The defense has been the story and the more dominant force of the team the past three games. The unit held Kansas City in Kansas City to six second-half points. The offense couldn’t catch up.

The group held the Packers at bay (no pun intended) all game before some fluky second-half scores when the offense yet again couldn’t move the ball. It was a defensive play that saved the game for the Broncos.

And then there was the most recent week in which the Broncos defense dominated the Chiefs’ offense and allowed just nine points. They had to put in extra work once again, as the offense led by Russell Wilson couldn’t move the chains enough, but nonetheless they tackled the challenge.

Payton spoke proudly of his defensive coordinator this week.

“I think it’s never as rosy as we would like to believe, and it’s never as bleak as we would like to believe,” he said earlier in the week. “We’ve created the takeaways, the passing situations have gone in our favor, and guys have worked hard to make corrections and improve. Those would be the first things that come to my mind.”

Safety Justin Simmons was also quick to have the back of Joseph.

“VJ has been nothing but outstanding,” Simmons said. “I can speak for the defensive room when I say this: We’ll go to war for VJ, week-in and week-out. He never flinched, he never wavered. He knows how good we can be and how we can execute.”

It’s safe to say the unit is far improved over the past few weeks, and Joseph deserves the utmost credit...and maybe some apology letters.

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