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.”