Jussel: Coordinator hires key for new Broncos coach Joseph

Vance Joseph had dinner with John Elway and several other Denver Broncos staff members on Tuesday night in Denver at a popular restaurant owned by a former auto dealer.

Joseph, the 44-year-old defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins, was scheduled to travel to San Diego on Wednesday to interview for the Chargers head coaching gig.

Elway, Broncos GM, restaurateur and always the man with a grand plan, never let Joseph out of his sight (other than to catch a few hours’ sleep in a hotel room).

On Wednesday morning, with coffee carafes, pastries and donuts on the conference room table at Dove Valley, Elway and his closest confidants met again with Joseph to offer him the Broncos head coaching job.

Joseph said yes and will be replacing Gary Kubiak, whom he coached under for three seasons with the Texans in Houston.

Joseph, as all good Broncos fans surely know, interviewed for the Bronco head coaching job just before Kubiak was hired two seasons ago, then was sought as defensive coordinator. The Cincinnati Bengals would not allow Joseph to interview for the coordinator job.

Elway finally gets to scratch his Joseph itch.

Joseph will be the Broncos’ 16th head coach and was hired, according to Elway, because of “great leadership qualities and a strong vision of what it takes to win.”

Questions of Joseph will revolve around the rest of the staff. It should be mentioned that Joseph has spent plenty of time with several current Denver staffers.

Joseph, a defensive-oriented coach, will first have to address the defensive side of the ball and either retain Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator or let him go (Phillips’ contract is up and the Washington Redskins were reportedly champing at the bit).

You think Elway and Joseph talked a bit about the defensive coordinator situation while dining Tuesday night? You betcha.

Joseph worked under Phillips, then Houston’s defensive coordinator, from 2011-2013.

My thought would be that Phillips, a former Bronco head coach (”… a great defensive coordinator, a terrible head coach,” Phillips once said), a beloved figure with the fans, and a Pied Piper with his players, is brought back. Joseph and Phillips should be able to coexist and thrive.

NFL sources also say Joseph has already talked to just-fired San Diego head coach Mike McCoy about taking the job of offensive coordinator. McCoy is well-known in Denver as offensive coordinator for four seasons, 2009-2012. He has worked under Elway and run the gamut from Kyle Orton to Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning when it comes to quarterbacks.

The Sporting News reported that Joseph and McCoy have already had discussions, but added that McCoy was also talking with the Buffalo Bills about a coordinator job.

Let’s see: Denver or Buffalo? The Broncos or Bills? The Rocky Mountains or Lake Erie?

Another offensive personality is Grand Junction’s own Bill Musgrave, whose contract as offensive coordinator with the Oakland Raiders was be renewed.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, the Broncos have already scheduled interviews with McCoy and Musgrave.

Joseph has also worked with current Bronco coaches Bill Kollar (defensive line), Reggie Herring (linebackers), Rick Dennison (offensive coordinator) and Gregg Knapp (quarterbacks) over that three-year period under Kubiak in Houston.

The retaining of Dennison would obviously be a question mark, especially if McCoy or Musgrave is brought in. One obvious possibility: Dennison was known as a superb offensive line coach. Denver’s offensive line, currently coached by Clancy Barone, is in shambles.

So, new head coach in Denver.

Lots on his plate.

Plenty of time.

Stay tuned.


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