ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos season, to put it lightly, has not gone according to plan.
In January, when the team hired Vance Joseph to be its head coach, the goal was the same as it has been every year under Pat Bowlen’s ownership, to compete for world championships.
Even before the team’s eighth-straight loss on Sunday, dropping them to 3-9 on the season, competing for championships has been in the organization's rearview mirror for quite some time, at least for this season.
But the way the team has reached this outcome—the longest losing streak in the franchise since 1967—has many in the Denver area wondering if the rookie head coach is fit to lead this team, not only after this year but to close out this season.
“I’m not concerned about that,” Joseph said on Monday afternoon when asked if he’s worried about his standing in the organization, one of many difficult questions he fielded about the state of his team, and more specifically, his job security. “I’m concerned about one thing and that’s the Jets on Sunday. I’ve been in the league a long time. I’m not concerned about that.”
One reason why Joseph isn’t—and potentially shouldn’t be—concerned is because of his daily, and seemingly healthy, interactions with his boss, John Elway.
“We talk every day. We talked for an hour this morning,” Joseph said with no indication that this mornings talk was anything out of the ordinary. “We are just talking about how to improve it and how to make it better. We’re both disappointed, obviously, with the season and how it’s gone. It’s our job to fix it.”
Although Joseph wouldn’t disclose the specifics of their conversation, he gave no indication that they’ve talked about his future with the organization. Instead, the conversations have been, “Just talking football, talking personnel.”
“Who’s the best fit and who can play where to help us win and how to help certain players,” he described of his conversations with Elway. “John’s got great football I.Q., great instincts when it comes to helping players. That’s private, but that’s kind of what we talk about.”
Daily conversations between Elway and Joseph about the future of the team doesn’t sound like a situation that has got so bad the head coach is close to being fired.
While Joseph seems to be safe, at least for now, the rest of his staff might not feel comfortable enough to say the same after the team fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy two weeks ago for his inability to create a succinct offense. However, on Monday, even after pointing at every group on the team for not doing enough in the team’s 24-point loss the day before, the head coach gave his stamp of approval to his coaching staff.
“We have a good staff. I trust our staff. Our staff is full of guys who have won a lot of games in this league so that’s the proof we have a good staff,” he said. “Now, we’ve lost eight games in a row. It hasn’t been good enough… It’s a bottom line business. It’s a win and loss business. We’ve lost so I’ll take [the heat]. I’ll take it all.”
Although McCoy’s replacement, Bill Musgrave, has averaged fewer points in his two weeks leading the group than McCoy’s offense did, Joseph endorsed him, saying. “I think he’s done fine. I’ve been pleased with Billy the last two weeks.”
In a season that’s been uglier than nearly everyone could have imagined just a few short months ago, it appears the coaching staff is safe, for now.