The Denver Broncos have moved on from Vance Joseph after two disappointing seasons as head coach.
General Manager John Elway fired Joseph on Monday after the coach led the Broncos to back-to-back losing seasons. They were the team’s first consecutive losing years since 1971 and 1972.
Elway said in a statement that Joseph, “has a bright future in this league,” but that, “the bottom line is we need to win more football games.”
The Broncos will now search for their fourth head coach since 2011. It’s one of many issues facing this unsettled franchise as the team enters another offseason without a playoff appearance.
Why did the Broncos make this move?
Vance Joseph didn’t win — period. He went 11 and 21 as a head coach and was criticized left and right over things like game management, team preparedness and struggles on offense. Denver is a town that’s used to winning. It was only three years ago the Broncos won their third Super Bowl. Until this year, Denver fans could boast that — under owner Pat Bowlen — the Broncos have had more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons. Well, not anymore.
Was it all Joseph’s fault?
No. The Broncos do not possess a championship roster. The team has lost key players on a once-elite defensive unit over the last few years, and Elway has struggled to find an answer at quarterback. Every one of Elway’s quarterback draft picks have failed. Denver hoped Case Keenum — whom the Broncos signed before the 2018 season — would provide stability at the position. But the Broncos offense this season did little to improve on last year’s.
Will Keenum return to Denver next year?
Keenum is expected to return for the final year of the two-year deal he signed in 2018. But whether he’s the long-term answer at quarterback remains to be seen. Once again, John Elway enters an offseason looking for Denver’s quarterback of the future.
Besides finding a new coach and a young quarterback, what else does Denver face this offseason?
The Broncos have a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball. Production from the defensive secondary — which was once dubbed the No Fly Zone because they were so good at defending the pass — has fallen off dramatically. Chris Harris is still an elite cornerback, but he needs help.
Denver also probably needs a veteran wide receiver. And free agency could impact Denver’s offensive line. Some players may not be coming back, most notably Brandon Marshall, a linebacker who’s been with the Broncos for the last six years.
And as if all of that isn’t enough — there’s a lot of uncertainty around the Broncos ownership right now? What’s that about?
Right now there’s a three-person trust running the Broncos. The trust has been in place since Pat Bowlen stepped down from day to day operations in 2014, after it was revealed he had Alzheimer’s.
The Bowlen family is at odds right now over who should be controlling this team. There’s a legal battle playing out involving Bowlen’s brother, who doesn’t think the current trust is doing the work Pat would’ve wanted. And some of Bowlen’s children want to take over the team.
With so much uncertainty facing this franchise, is there room for optimism?
Von Miller and Chris Harris are two of the elite defensive players in football. Denver native Phillip Lindsay had a breakout year as a rookie running back. And Denver has some young wide receivers like Courtland Sutton, so they do have some talent.
But the Broncos are no longer an elite NFL franchise. Whoever Elway brings in to lead this team will face a disgruntled fan base.