The honeymoon is over for Denver’s HC and DC.
At the end of the day, though, no matter what moves John Elway has made, no matter the health of players or the magic weaved by Musgrave, the buck stops at Vance Joseph. Joseph and handpicked Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods are on the proverbial hot seat this season.
Joseph has stability where there was chaos last year. He can be forgiven for 5-11 solely on the debacle at QB. What can’t be forgiven is the perception that he wasn’t in control, that there was division between the offensive and defensive camps. Whether through authority or friendship, the head coach needs to be trusted and needs to have bottom-line authority with his team. It’s not certain Vance has that.
Again, this is perception, he looked overmatched last year. He looked like the job was bigger than he was prepared for.
There’s something unfair about dropping Joseph into the disaster that was the Broncos after the sudden departure of Gary Kubiak and setting expectations that he carry on the Broncos brand. Denver expects the Broncos to compete for championships. When they are down, it must be short-lived. That’s the culture of this team.
That’s why Joseph gets another season to stamp his brand onto Denver’s. I’m glad he’s back but we will be watching, closely.
There’s not much more the front office can do, the responsibility now falls to the Coach.
For Woods’ part, the Broncos defense, fifth in 2017, has no excuse for not returning to the elite status they’ve enjoyed since 2015. Bradley Chubb and Su’a Cravens shore up and add depth to the Broncos bread-and-butter pass rush and coverage teams. Woods shouldn’t have to overachieve to mold this Broncos D into a top squad.
Coupled with an above average offense and high-octane special teams (Can Lindsay ignite the return position?), Coach Joseph should have a playoff team this year.
Camp is two days away, what questions do you have?