The Denver Broncos have a new head coach. General manager John Elway announced on Twitter that Vance Joseph
has been hired.
According to both ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Joseph has agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the club.
Joseph, 44, a former University of Colorado quarterback, just completed his first season as a defensive coordinator on Adam Gase's staff in Miami, where the Dolphins ended an eight-year playoff drought.
He replaces the retired Gary Kubiak, who he worked under for three seasons -- from 2011 to 2013 -- with the Texans as a defensive backs aide. He played that same role the following two years in Cincinnati before Dolphins coach Adam Gase nabbed Joseph as his defensive coordinator in 2016.
"Going against him over the last few years, he was probably the one guy that would drive me nuts," Gase said of Joseph, per DenverBroncos.com. "I know he gave us tons of fits when we played him when we were in Houston. And then two years ago when he was in Cincinnati and we were in Denver, it was a tough matchup. I think his DBs picked us off four times.
"His knowledge of defense and what he brings to the table and his ability to really go after an offense, as far as really teaching his guys what's going on, it's very impressive."
According to 9News.com's Mike Klis, after Joseph interviewed four hours Tuesday afternoon with the Broncos’ five-man head coach search committee at the team’s headquarters, after Joseph dined that night with Elway and director of player personnel Matt Russell, Joseph received an early phone call Wednesday morning.
Joseph arrived back at Broncos’ headquarters at about 8 a.m. Wednesday. With the San Diego Chargers waiting, Elway was expected to make Joseph an offer that would force the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator to cancel his flight.
"He has great leadership qualities and a strong vision of what it takes to win," Elway tweeted of Joseph on Tuesday.
The Broncos also interviewed Kansas City defensive coordinator Dave Toub and Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for the head coach position vacated when Gary Kubiak retired on Jan. 2.
But Joseph appears to have been the Broncos’ choice since the job first became available -- although there was a period from Sunday evening until Joseph’s interview Tuesday afternoon when Shanahan was receiving strong consideration.
Klis went on to note that Joseph's leading candidate for defensive coordinator may be Joe Woods, who would be promoted from his current position as defensive backs coach. The contract of current defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has essentially expired. The Broncos may go with Woods in part because other teams have expressed interest in interviewing him as a defensive coordinator candidate.
Phillips is on the defensive coordinator short list for several teams but he is waiting to hear his fate with the Broncos before he begins to consider other options.
Miami's defense struggled under Joseph down the stretch -- and collapsed Sunday against the Steelers -- but that failed to shake Denver's intense interest in the respected 44-year-old coach. Elway conducts his searches carefully and certainly leaned on Kubiak and former Broncos play-caller Gase for insight into Joseph's development and potential.
Still, as NFL.com notes, the Broncos give Joseph plenty to work with on defense. One season removed from Super Bowl glory, Denver remains a dangerous and disruptive unit on this side of the ball while anchored by All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller.
Also boasting a secondary led by cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib, Denver's roster puts Joseph in a position to win right away. The question is whether he can elevate this defense to the heights it reached under Phillips.
In addition, Joseph must also hire the right collection of offensive assistants to groom two young quarterbacks -- Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch -- who will battle all spring and summer for the team's starting spot under center.
Per Klis, offensive coordinator possibilities may include two former Broncos, Mike McCoy and Bill Musgrave. McCoy may also have similar options with Buffalo and Washington, if current Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay becomes head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
According to Schefter, both McCoy and Musgrave have interviews scheduled with the Broncos.