Broncos G.M. John Elway has said he’ll make any additional decisions about the coaching staff after the season. While that still may be true, there’s a growing sense within the organization that the decision will be that coach Vance Joseph will be gone after only one year on the job.
Joseph became the head coach a year ago, following a surprise retirement by Gary Kubiak. Joseph, who had been a finalist when Kubiak replaced John Fox after the 2014 season, was believed to be the predetermined favorite for the job after it opened in early 2017.
The firing of a coach after only one year is hardly unprecedented. The 49ers did it in 2016 and 2015, dumping both Chip Kelly and Jim Tomsula. Other one-and-dones over the past decade or so include Browns coach Rob Chudzinski (2013), Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey (2012), Raiders coach Hue Jackson (2011), Seahawks coach Jim Mora (2009), Dolphins coach Cam Cameron (2007), and Raiders coach Art Shell (2006).
If Elway decides to move on, Joseph would be entitled to the remainder of any guaranteed money under his contract, presumably subject to an offset.
Elway clearly is bothered not just by the losses but by the magnitude of them. Eight of the team’s 10 losses came in double digits. Four times, the Broncos lost by 20 or more points.
And while the failure of Jospeh is in large part a failure of Elway, if he thinks he made a mistake he has two choices: Fix it or compound it. Elway’s ultra-competitive personality makes him far more likely to do the former.