The second-year Denver Broncos head coach walked through the fire and came out drenched in wins, on a playoff hunt.
The NFL’s coaching carousel is constantly rotating. Coaches hop on and some lose their footing quickly and get unceremoniously tossed from the mix. There are few coaches who get to remain with a team for long periods of time. It takes a lot of winning and a patient front office to get to the point where your job is virtually untouchable like Ron Rivera, Marvin Lewis, Bill Belichick and Mike Tomlin.
Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph hasn’t even completed his second year as Broncos head coach and the media moshpit lists him as a coach “on the hot seat.”
Just a month ago, Joseph’s Broncos were 3-6 for the second year in a row and coming off a bye week with games against the Chargers and Pittsburgh on the horizon.
Rumors were swirling that Joseph might not even last the season.
Then things started to change. That stroke of luck you need during a rough season to turn it around occurred. Undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay blossomed into a star. The defense keeps getting better in big moments.
Phillip Lindsay closing in on all-time rushing record for undrafted rookies https://t.co/FVuGHjj7bM
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 3, 2018
The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-22 and the Steelers 24-17.
On Sunday, Denver smacked Cincinnati 24-10 for the franchise’s third straight win and now Joseph — one of just six Black NFL head coaches — is showing his development, resilience as a coach and his ability to get it done when his back is against the wall.
As the NFL enters the dog days of the season, where the real and the fake take different intersections, Denver’s in the thick of a tight playoff picture.
AFC Playoff Picture is wild:
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 3, 2018
The narrative about the second-year coach being fired at the end of this season has to be re-evaluated with every Broncos win.
Fans are quick to call for the coach’s head when things don’t go right in an organization. Last season Joseph had no quarterback and no chance to win games. This season, he upgraded a bit with Case Keenum, but let’s be real. Keenum is not a franchise QB and the Broncos aren’t’ loaded with offensive weapons.
If you ask me, Elway hasn’t done a good job in acquiring talent or staying competitive since that Super Bowl in 2015 and he knows this. That’s why he didn’t fire Joseph after one season.
"I've got to do a better job of getting [Vance Joseph] the right guys on the football field and making sure he has the best opportunity to be successful." – Pres. of Football Ops/GM John Elwayhttps://t.co/waZKNbF9Ih
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 3, 2018
A Shadow League article written in November spoke of the hot seat that Vance Joseph was reportedly on in 2018 and how he’d get fired if he didn’t rebound with a solid season. We also mentioned how unfair it is to Joseph that the Broncos never secured another franchise QB after the great Peyton Manning retired.
“Vance Joseph knew that becoming the head coach of the Denver Broncos wasn’t going to be easy and wasn’t going to last long if the brother did not produce victories and maintain the Broncos winning tradition, which includes five playoff appearances in the last six seasons and two Super Bowl looks.
That impressive run, in which they averaged 12.5 wins per season, included the magnificence of Peyton Manning at the controls and that’s a glaring missing piece to the 2017 Broncos puzzle.
When Joseph assumed the helm, everyone seemed excited and optimistic. The reality of the situation was that Joseph was thrust into this coveted role with all of the pressures of taking over a solid franchise that is two seasons removed from a championship, but the quarterbacks that he was handed to go to war with were plastic toys at best.”
When Elways hired the 46-year-old Joseph, he was one of the hottest coaching candidates in the League. Elway was high on him and made the hire just two weeks after former coach, Gary Kubiak, announced that he was stepping down from that position due to health conditions
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) January 12, 2017
Elway made the right decision by keeping Joseph after last year’s 5-11 season. He knows as well as anyone that a coach can’t win without talent. Joseph has proved this season that he has a promising future as a head coach and to fire him after just two seasons would be tragic.
Switching head coaches won’t fix Denver’s quarterback problem. The team is rebuilding whether the front office wants to admit it or not and the guy that they anointed as the next great Broncos coach is doing a solid job in just his second season at the helm.
The fans and media might not realize this, but John Elway does and that’s all that matters.