Why John Elway made the right call retaining Vance Joseph

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos looks on before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 27-24. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos looks on before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 27-24. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 24: Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos looks on against the Washington Redskins in the second half at FedExField on December 24, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Growing Pains

So, you didn’t get exactly what you expected in the ‘Rookie Head Coach’ kit, eh?

After a 9-7 season and clear signs of roster regression from the 2015 Super Bowl Championship season, many Broncos fans perhaps had unrealistic expectations going into this season.

Gary Kubiak being a first-time Broncos head coach and winning the Super Bowl in his first year with the team set us up for those unrealistic (and now, unmet) expectations with a first time head coach in general in Vance Joseph.

Bringing in a first-time head coach doesn’t often result in a championship right away. It’s got to be hard to adjust from being a coordinator to a head coach in the NFL, and with the pressure involved in a city like Denver where winning is the only acceptable thing to do, it’s even tougher to be a first-year head coach.

More from Predominantly Orange

But Joseph’s short-comings in 2017 can be looked at as learning experiences. Am I tickled pink about the decision to bring Joseph back? Absolutely not. I think there are legitimate reasons to believe that his being fired would have been completely justified from a performance standpoint.

In fact, we may dive into those reasons in another post, because there are areas this team — and Joseph in specific — need to get better.

But Joseph has to look back on 2017 and see that he made some bad decisions with game management, not playing certain players when he should have, not benching others when he should have, and generally seeming to have a team that looked like it quit after so much ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball.

Joseph also hired what appeared on paper to be an ‘A-team’ of coaches, but as it turns out, it was not the right combination of guys at all.

This is a head coach who — like any rookie at any position in the NFL — made rookie mistakes. He made his fair share, to be sure. But those mistakes can be learning experiences that change how he operates going forward.