There’s not a single Denver Broncos fan is happy after their previous loss to the Miami Dolphins. In a game in which the Broncos gave up 70 points to the Dolphins, a lot of the blame has gone to Denver’s defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
Broncos Country is so frustrated with Joseph that a certain fan has started a petition to get Joseph fired. The petition is asking for 2,500 signatures to get the former head coach canned.
Rebecca Wallace, who started the petition said, “However, it is disheartening to witness our defense struggling to keep up with their exceptional performance.”
“Under Vance Joseph’s leadership defensive coordinator, the Denver Broncos’ defense has failed to live up to its once-dominant reputation. Our defense ranks among the bottom half of teams in several key statistical categories, including points allowed per game and total yards allowed per game.”
Through three games, the Broncos have given up an average of 40.7 points per game which ranks last in the NFL. Before Denver gave up 70 to Miami, they were giving up 26 points per game.
Joseph’s defense has also given up 280.7 passing yards per game which ranks 28th most in the NFL along with the 31st ranked rushing defense at 177 yards per game on the ground.
“We believe it is time for change within the Denver Broncos organization. By replacing Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator with someone who possesses a proven track record of success on this side of the ball, we can restore balance and competitiveness back into our team.”
Will There be Changes?
After the Broncos’ defense gave up 726 total yards and were a field goal away from allowing the most points ever scored in an NFL game, Denver’s head coach Sean Payton spoke to the media 24 hours after the game.
Everyone wanted to know if Joseph or any other coach’s jobs were in jeopardy.
“No,’’ said Payton. “That wouldn’t be something I’d share on a conference call if that ever were the case. So, no, to answer your question.”
After the Broncos’ worst loss in team history, in terms of point differential, Payton went on to take blame for the way his offense played too.
“There’s a handful of things that jump out at you. That critical moment in the game where we’re able to hold them on fourth down and offensively then we have a penalty, end up (punting). Right at that juncture of the game we end up scoring 3, they wind up scoring 14 more points.
“The three offensive turnovers all led to touchdowns. That’s 21 points. Typically, when you see a score that high the one thing that has to exist is turnovers and all three of them led to points for Miami.’’
In the offseason, Adam Schefter reported that former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan interviewed for the Broncos’ defensive coordinator job.
On September 25, Ryan went out of his way to mention that he could’ve been coaching this Denver defense if the price was right.
Another option for the Denver defense was former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, per Dave Logan of KOA radio. The Broncos were in fact negotiating with Fangio before he ended up landing a job with the Dolphins as their defensive coordinator.
Fangio’s defense held Payton’s offense to just 13 total offensive points in Week 3.
It seems unlikely that Denver will make a change this early in the season, but things are not looking good for Joseph in Denver.
Joseph’s Time Before Becoming Denver’s DC
The Broncos hired Joseph in 2017 after Super Bowl winning head coach Gary Kubiak told the team that he was stepping down as head coach before the final game of the 2016 season.
Before the Broncos hired Wade Phillips to be the defensive coordinator in 2015, Denver tried to hire Joseph as their defensive coordinator, but the Cincinnati Bengals blocked Denver’s request even though he was their defensive backs coach.
After going 5-11 during his first season, there was a real chance that the Broncos were going to move on from the first-time head coach, but former general manager John Elway told the media that he needed to “sleep on it” before making his final decision.
After waking up the next day, Elway decided to keep Joseph for another year before firing him after the 2018 season with an improved 6-10 record.
In Joseph’s two seasons with the Broncos, his defenses ranked 22nd and 13th in scoring.
While the Broncos front office didn’t help Joseph much by not giving him much control of the team, Elway tossed out quarterbacks, Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, and Case Keenum for Joseph to work with.
None of the quarterbacks had winning records in the two years under Joseph.
After his time in Denver, Joseph would end up in Arizona as the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals.
Spending the last four seasons calling plays for the Cardinals’ defense, Arizona never ranked in the top-10 of scoring defense, but in 2021, Joseph’s defense finished the season seventh in takeaways. That would also be the only season in which the Cardinals made it to the playoffs.
Unless Joseph can improve this defense quickly, it’s likely that he’ll be looking for a new job in 2024.