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Vance Joseph will return as the Denver Broncos’ head coach for the 2018 season, team president John Elway announced Monday.

Elway tweeted that he and Joseph talked Monday morning and that the Broncos “believe in Vance as our head coach.”

Joseph, 45, guided the Broncos to a 5-11 record and a last-place finish in the AFC West in his first season as an NFL head coach.

“I think it’s great [that Joseph is returning],” quarterback Trevor Siemian said. “He’s got the locker room. He’s got the respect of the guys. Times like this, it’s easy to point fingers. The thing is, nobody in here has done that, and that’s a credit to Coach Joseph and how he steered this thing.”

Joseph is the 16th head coach in Broncos franchise history and the first African-American to be hired for the job. Assistant head coach Eric Studesville was Denver’s interim head coach for four games in 2010 after Josh McDaniels was fired.

Studesville was one of six assistants fired on Monday. Special teams coordinator Brock Olivo, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and assistant defensive backs coach Johnnie Lynn also were let go. In addition, outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac will not have his contract renewed.

Joseph replaced Gary Kubiak a year ago when Kubiak stepped away from coaching because of health concerns. At the time of Joseph’s hiring, Broncos president John Elway called him “a very good football coach and teacher who is ready for this opportunity.” Elway also gave Joseph a show of support in mid-November when he publicly said that all involved with the Broncos had gotten “a little bit soft.”

Elway later said he didn’t believe the Broncos were going to make a coaching change during the season, just before Denver snapped an eight-game losing streak on Dec. 10 with a victory over the Jets.

Stability and consistency at quarterback were among the primary reasons for the Broncos’ last-place finish this season, as Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler all started games under center.

The Broncos’ eight-game losing streak from Oct. 15 to Dec. 3 was their longest since 1967; six of those losses were by double digits and four by at least 20 points.

“I think it’s on us as players,” running back C.J. Anderson said. “We didn’t hold up our end of the bargain to help [Joseph] and all the coaches. I can promise you, sitting right here — you can put it on record — [when] he gets a second chance, our record won’t be 5-11. We won’t have a losing season.”

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Aqib Talib

Aqib Talib

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With cornerback Aqib Talib’s suspension now official — it was reduced from two games to one after his appeal hearing Tuesday — the Denver Broncos have two major items to wrestle with over the next week.

The first is that they’ve had a team captain suspended for fighting, an oddity few folks in the league have dealt with. The second is that the to-do list in the passing game for the Miami Dolphins is now to throw the ball at anybody not named Chris Harris Jr.

Given that Talib has been named to the Pro Bowl three times and been a first-team All-Pro selection once (in 2016) in his four years with the Broncos, he will certainly be missed in coverage. He’s also earned enough cache in the Broncos’ locker room that his teammates voted him captain.

Former Broncos coach Gary Kubiak often said Talib was one of the hardest-working and smartest players he had been around. But once you’ve been selected a team captain, there is more to do than walk out for the coin toss.

On that list, at least in Broncos coach Vance Joseph’s mind, is to not get tossed out of a game. But Talib was tossed for rekindling a long-standing feud and fighting with Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree on Sunday.

“It’s unacceptable; we can’t do it,” is how Joseph framed it earlier this week. “We can’t lose our best corner in a game like that. It obviously hurt us down the stretch. I told our guys, if we can defuse those things, we have to defuse them. We can’t fall into the trap of getting into a fight that ends up losing one of our best players. We can’t do it. It’s unacceptable; we can’t do it.”

So, in a season in which the Broncos were shut out for the first time in a quarter century and suffered their first seven-game losing streak since 1967, they’ve now had a team captain ejected from a game and then suspended. This was after a team captain (quarterback Trevor Siemian) was made a game-day inactive against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Losses, pressure, mistakes and personnel decisions that haven’t worked out have dented the Broncos’ beloved culture this season. Talib’s suspension is now on the growing pile of missteps.

Talib has had moments before — he had some off-the-field problems in Tampa and missed the Broncos’ visit to the White House in the months following their Super Bowl 50 win due to gunshot wounds he had suffered in his leg that offseason. He has admitted to trying to grow beyond those things now that he has a family of his own.

Talib and the Broncos had hoped the NFL would look at the circumstances of Sunday’s fight — Talib said, “I hope the league sees how it started” — and his appeal said that they believed Crabtree just kept coming after Talib and that a fight was almost inevitable. The suspension reductions — Crabtree’s also was reduced from two games to one — show both players made some procedural points worth noting.

For his part, Talib said his week he was “disappointed” that he and Crabtree started up the fight again in the end zone after extracting themselves from the initial scuffle.

“The second half of it could have definitely been defused,” Talib said. “That’s what I’m disappointed about — the second half of it. The first half, that was him being extra. That’s what he wanted. He didn’t want to play that game. He wanted to come out and wrestle all day.”

From a football perspective, it means Harris won’t get much of a look from the Dolphins if the Broncos don’t match him up on specific receivers. The past two Broncos opponents have been especially effective at isolating Bradley Roby or rookie Brendan Langley in coverage.

The Bengals went after Roby plenty — including on a touchdown by A.J. Green — and the Raiders went after Langley after Talib’s ejection, including on a 9-yard touchdown catch by Amari Cooper. The Dolphins, with former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their coach, figure to spread the Denver defense out, forcing it to play nickel or dime and then direct the ball away from Harris.

Joseph said Talib’s absence adversely affected the Broncos against the Raiders. There’s no reason to think it won’t have the same effect against the Dolphins, yet another self-inflicted problem in a season full of them.