The Denver Broncos expect to have a new head coach for the 2019 season, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio citing a league source.
That means the departure of beleaguered incumbent Vance Joseph, who has two years remaining on the four-year deal he signed in January 2016.
Joseph is 11-19 through his first 30 games as a head coach with one more defeat this season ending the Broncos’ streak of not losing consecutive seasons since 1972.
The Broncos travel to Oakland for what could be the last time for a Monday night game before returning to Mile High for what should be Joseph’s final game in charge against the playoffs-bound Los Angeles Chargers.
President of football operations/general manager John Elway could always reverse course, as he did at the end of the 2017 season when Joseph was on the verge of being sacked.
Such was the extent that the Broncos front office was unhappy after Joseph went 5-11, Elway reached out to former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan, who has been unemployed since leaving Washington in 2013, to sound him out on a return to the Mile High City.Embed from Getty Images
Assuming Elway doesn’t turn to Shanahan again, or former head coach Gary Kubiak, who was offensive coordinator under Shanahan from 1995 to 2005 and is back on the staff as a senior personnel advisor, the Broncos’ 17th head coach will be the fourth since the general manager Elway era began in 2011.
John Fox took the team to a Super Bowl with a high-powered 2013 team led by Peyton Manning, while Kubiak won Super Bowl 50 riding the waves of the 2015 team’s historic defense, then went 9-7 without Manning (retirement) and defensive stars Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan (lost to free agency) in 2016.
Joseph, however, has not had it as easy, as a first-time head coach with mediocre quarterbacks drafted by Elway, and a weaker defense after the team moved on from defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, as well as defensive leaders TJ Ward and Aqib Talib.
After a disappointing 5-11 season that included an eight-game losing streak, Joseph’s lack of experience and a perceived lack of weapons helped Elway and president Joe Ellis decide to keep Joseph rather than initiating a full-on search for a new head coach.
Kubiak’s influence in the scouting department yielded one of the best draft classes in Broncos history, but despite an improvement at quarterback with Case Keenum and a retooled offense led by youthful exuberance, the Broncos have again consistently struggled to win under Joseph with many fans and analysts criticizing his game management.
Faced with the prospect of back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1972 and losing the vaunted statistic of having more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons during Pat Bowlen’s ownership, the Broncos finally appear set to move on.