Cardinals DC Responds to Reports on Possible 2nd Shot as NFL Head Coach

Getty Arizona Cardinals DC Vance Joseph signals to his defense from the sideline against the Green Bay Packers on October 28.

The good news for Arizona Cardinals fans is Vance Joseph doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to take a second shot as an NFL head coach.

The bad news, of course, is if the “right job” comes along, Joseph likely would take it.

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In two and a half years with the Cardinals, Joseph has transformed one of the NFL’s worst defenses into one the league’s best. That statistical success combined with the Cardinals’ NFL-leading 8-1 record have made the 49-year-old defensive coordinator a popular pick to be a head coach again as soon as next season.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury appears to be prepared for that possibility, referring to Joseph as “a former head coach who’ll probably be a head coach next year.”

“I’m very fortunate to have VJ here, who I consider the head coach of the defense,” Kingsbury said.

Joseph, 49, chatted with Cardinals play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch about his coaching future and what it would take to lure him away from Arizona on “The Dave Pasch Podcast” on Wednesday, November 10.

“I have a great job here,” he said. “I’m not going to jump at the first opportunity, if it happens, to take a job that I can’t see myself fixing quick enough to keep it.”

Joseph said he learned a lot from his first experience as an NFL head coach with the Denver Broncos in 2017 and 2018. It didn’t go the way he wanted and he was dismissed following five- and six-win seasons.

“My goal is to be a head coach for a long time,” Joseph said. “So the next job I take, if I have a chance to take one, it’s got to be the right job. That’s the way I should be thinking, being my second chance. If you get two chances, that’s it. You won’t get three probably. So my next one’s gotta be the right one.”

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What Would it Take to Lure Joseph from Arizona?

Joseph said he expects four to six NFL head coaching jobs to be available after this season, “because the demand for winning is obviously high.”

“The time they used to give you to flip teams is gone,” he said. “You have three years probably max to make huge improvement to show the owner that you’re heading in the right direction.”

Joseph didn’t get that level of commitment from ownership in Denver, which he says will make him more picky when choosing his next head coaching opportunity. He’s also unlikely to go to a team without a solid starting quarterback, and he’ll want a role in building the roster.

“When you have a guy like a Russell Wilson or a Kyler (Murray), you can really have a vision and build around those guys,” Joseph said. “That piece is so important to football teams. If you don’t have that piece, it’s tough to have a vision for a football team.”

The Broncos had four different starting quarterbacks in his two seasons in Denver, with Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch sharing time in 2017 before Case Keenum became the starter in 2018.

“The player-picking season is so critical to changing the culture because you won’t change the culture without winning,” Joseph told Pasch. “You can be a great coach and you can preach the right things and coach the right things, but if you can’t win and have a winning product, it’s hard for you to convince anyone around you — the city, the owner, the players, the building — that you’re the right guy.”

It Would Be Tough to Top Joseph’s Current Job

Joseph says he’s enjoying seeing the work the Cardinals coaching staff has put in since arriving in 2019 starting to translate into wins.

“It’s been three years in the works,” he said. “I would always tell Kliff, I said, ‘Man, one day it’s going to be the greatest job you’ve ever seen. We’ve just got to hang in there, keep coaching these guys.’ It takes time in this league to flip it.”

Joseph said his family’s best interest also will play in role in whether he accepts another head coaching job.

“I’m to the point in my life where I’m pretty set as far as my job here,” he said. “I love living here; my family loves living here.”

Joseph also noted that his son is a high school freshman in the Phoenix area, “and I would like him to finish high school at one school.”

That certainly bodes well for Cardinals fans who’d like to see the defensive coordinator stick around while.

“What we talked about three years ago is finally happening,” Joseph said. “Obviously it’s hard to stay (on top), but it’s also fun to watch it happen. Hopefully it gets better and better.”

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