New Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who just happens to be the former head coach of the same team, has been not so fondly remembered for two reasons.
Number one, he took over a team two seasons removed from a Super Bowl and one season removed from a 9-7 record with a band-aid QB situation to two straight losing records.
Number two, he was the guy, despite having nothing on his resume to suggest he deserved a head coaching job, former president Joe Ellis thought deserved the head coaching gig over Kyle Shanahan.
Shanahan, as some of you might know, led the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship game with Mr. Irrelevant at QB. The Denver Broncos were the joke of the league, on the other hand, with a 9-time Pro Bowl QB.
And once again, the “leader of men”, as John Elway once called him, will once again be gracing the Broncos coaching staff, luckily in a less significant role.
Just what does Vance Joseph have on all the people in this league, though?
He was defensive coordinator for one season for the Miami Dolphins, led them to 29th in total defense, and that somehow made him more qualified for the Broncos head coaching job than Kyle Shanahan.
He led the Arizona Cardinals to total defenses of 32nd, 13th, 11th, and 21st in four seasons, got released. Again, what does he have on people in this league?
Sure, there will be local media types, mainly the usual suspects who like to retweet themselves, who will try to spin this as a win. It’s not to say it’s a loss, but how does this team go from interviewing Rex Ryan and Vic Fangio to landing on a guy who apparently interviews well but nothing else?
Luckily, though, skeptics are curable: help the team win.
Joseph was an abomination of a head coach and has done nothing to suggest he’s a brilliant defensive mind.
Yet, to be fair, he’s not to be blamed for everything.
It’s not his fault no one on the 2016 Dolphins was good. It’s not his fault Joe Ellis was doing an Al Davis impression and just wanted to make headlines and shock rather than hire a guy fit for the position. It also isn’t his fault the Arizona Cardinals are a mess.
Joseph seems like a good, decent man who was thrust into a position in Denver he wasn’t ready for by people unqualified to make that decision. And that’s history.
If he can take this defense, which was one of the best in the league last season before crumbling under the mountain of responsibility bestowed upon it, and maintain the status quo (if not improve upon it), then the coach and fan base should absolutely start fresh.
Sean Payton is expected to put up points (and he damn well better). If Joseph can just hold the opponents at bay and not over-blitz Pat Mahomes, then hey...all is forgiven! But this prodigal son story line only works if Joseph does his part. We shall see.