From 2017-2018, the Denver Broncos had a head coach by the name of Vance Joseph. Things didn’t go well for Joseph in those two seasons, but he has returned to be the defensive coordinator under head coach Sean Payton.
When speaking to the Denver media on June 14, for the first-time since being hired, Joseph mentioned that he had “some choices” as he looked for a new gig after coaching the Arizona Cardinals’ defense over the last four seasons.
When asked why he decided to return to the mile high city, Joseph said, “”Denver is home. This is a great place with a great fan base. We have a home here still. For me, it was home.”
Joseph played football at the University of Colorado from 1990-1994 before becoming a graduate assistant from 1999-2001. The following year, Joseph was promoted to defensive backs coach for the Buffaloes.
The 50-year-old also explained that there weren’t any hard feelings after he was fired as the Broncos head coach.
“It was a fair process,” Joseph said. “This is a league of winning, so when you don’t win, there is going to be change. It was never personal for me. I came here and I worked my butt off, but it didn’t work. I’m back now, and that’s my focus, playing great defense for Sean [Payton] and win games. I’ve never had that in my heart, even leaving here four years ago.”
Payton Drew Joseph to Denver
After being asked about Payton, Joseph praised his new head coach calling him “one of the best play callers in NFL history.”
Joseph then explained that he was drawn to Denver because of Payton.
“Just watching Sean operate on a daily basis as a head coach has been fun to watch. He’s doing a great job with the culture of the football team, and his message everyday is really strong. He spends time on his message and it’s been fun to watch him operate everyday as an experienced head coach.”
On June 14, Payton talked about how good of a leader Joseph is.
“Well, there’s a calmness to him and professionalism to him that I appreciate and we always found a way to shake each other’s hand after a game or talk to each other. I just think that there’s a poise and a credibility when he presents that’s impressive. I think he’s an extremely good communicator, and I think he’s an extremely good leader.”
Joseph’s Time as Head Coach of the Broncos
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.