Broncos pushing to close deal with Vance Joseph as next head coach

Posted at 9:32 AM, Jan 11, 2017

-- Editor's note: The Broncos have made an official decision on Vance Joseph, naming him head coach. View the updated story here. --

DENVER – The Broncos are closing in on deal with with Vance Joseph on Wednesday to become their next head coach, according to multiple NFL sources.

Joseph received a multi-year offer, which he is prepared to accept. The Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator interviewed with general manager John Elway and the search committee for four hours on Tuesday followed by a long dinner at Elway’s in Cherry Creek. The meetings went well enough for the Broncos to push forward in the process as Joseph met with Elway Wednesday morning at Dove Valley to iron out the final details rather than fly to an interview with the San Diego Chargers.

These contracts typically average in the $3 to $4-million range annually for a first-time coach.

Elway praised Joseph’s” leadership” and “strong vision” in a tweet following Tuesday’s interview. The Broncos have long been impressed with Joseph, having offered their defensive coordinator’s position to him two years ago after discussing the head coaching position. The top job went to Gary Kubiak, who stepped down nine days ago because of health reasons. 

Joseph, 44, served as a first-time defensive coordinator for the Dolphins this season. Miami struggled, allowing a franchise record in yards, but coach Adam Gase praised Joseph for keeping an injury-ravaged unit from fracturing. The Dolphins played their best in the red zone, ranking sixth in touchdowns allowed. Joseph made his mark as a defensive backs coach in Houston and Cincinnati, working under Kubiak and Marvin Lewis.

The Broncos identified Joseph as their favorite after interviewing Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Kansas City Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub. The Broncos decided not to conduct a large search as Elway zeroed in on the type of candidate he wanted. An advantage for Joseph is that he can begin assembling a coaching staff immediately. Shanahan and Toub are in the playoffs. The status of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips remains up the air. He's already been connected to multiple openings in Washington and Los Angeles. Elway said last week he would let the coach assemble his staff, something Joseph was indeed promised on Tuesday. 

Joseph would inherit a team that won Super Bowl 50 and, despite missing the playoffs, finished 9-7 this season. This remains a franchise with an open Super Bowl window because of a strong defense and the room for offensive improvement.

Beyond his acumen to work well with Elway -- a significant issue for now and the future -- Joseph needs to have a plan to rev up a feeble offense that boasts two young quarterbacks in Trevor Siemian and first-round draft choice Paxton Lynch. Former Chargers coach Mike McCoy has been on Joseph's radar as an offensive coordinator, but the Bills are trying to secure him for their coordinator's job. Bill Musgrave, a former Broncos backup quarterback who was a prep star in Grand Junction, is a free agent after the Raiders let him go this week. Anthony Lynn, Buffalo's interim head coach and former Broncos special teams standout player, could become an option as offensive coordinator with it appearing likely the Bills will pass him over.

The Denver head coaching job comes with challenging expectations. Kubiak won more games in his first two seasons than any coach in Broncos history. 

Joseph is a former University of Colorado quarterback, who played two years in the NFL as a defensive back. He began his coaching career in college, and has spent the last decade as secondary coach before becoming a first-time coordinator with the Dolphins.


The Broncos are moving closer to naming Gary Kubiak's replacement. My glance at the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator who has emerged as a strong candidate:
College Coaching Experience: Colorado graduate assistant (1999-2001), Wyoming (2002), Colorado defensive backs coach (2002-2003), Bowling Green Falcons defensive backs (2004).
NFL, College Playing Experience: New York Jets defensive back (1995, 13 games, 6 starts, two interceptions). Indianapolis Colts (1996, 4 games). University of Colorado quarterback (1990-1994, 30 games, 34-for-61, 454 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 50 rushes, 237 yards, 1 TD). Three-year letterman.
By The Numbers: The statistics were not kind in his first year as a coordinator. The Dolphins ranked 30th against the run (140.4 yards per game), two spots behind the Broncos, and Ndamukong Suh led the league in offsides penalties with 29. Coach Adam Gase credited Joseph for keeping the unit from crumbling after critical injuries, helping the team reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Joseph distinguished himself in Houston and Cincinnati. In 2014 and 2015, the Bengals led the NFL with 41 interceptions as Joseph worked with the defensive backs. In 2015, the Dolphins and Panthers were the only teams to intercept more passes (21) than touchdowns allowed (18).
Personal: Was state champion in football and basketball at Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero, La. Earned bachelor’s degree in marketing from CU in 1994. He and his wife, Holly, have two children, daughter Nataly and son Stone



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