Thursday, the Denver Broncos introduced the 16th Head Coach in franchise history — Vance Joseph. After his opening remarks, Joseph answered questions ranging from his vision for the offense, to the quarterback situation and locker room culture.
One of the biggest issues he addressed, which has been weighing heavily on the minds of the fans, is the future of 69-year-old defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Phillips' contract expires soon, and as it stands, he's poised to be a free agent coach. Is @sonofbum in Joseph's future plans?
“I’m not sure," Joseph said. "Wade is a free agent. He’s free to go where he wants to go. That’s a work in progress obviously. After this press conference I am going to deal with the staff issues. I prefer not to call plays. I’m the head coach here, but if I have to, I will. That’s something that I have in my back pocket. That’s a work in progress moving forward.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1745082-flash-sale-on-premium-ext... As the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins, Joseph has experience calling plays. But he wants a DC he can lean on to make those play-to-play decisions on gameday.
Phillips would certainly take that responsibility off Joseph's plate, but listening to Joseph's response, and interpreting the tonality, I would honestly be surprised — at this point — if the Broncos re-sign Wade Phillips.
After two years of such prolific defensive success, why would the Broncos seem so calloused about bringing Phillips back? Money.
From what I'm told, following Super Bowl 50, Phillips took a look around and basically decided that he should be the highest-paid DC in the NFL. With a defensive roster replete with All-Pro and Pro Bowl talent, GM John Elway didn't see Phillips as indispensable to the unit.
Maybe some feelings got hurt. Who knows? The vibe I'm getting out of Dove Valley, reading the signs, is that Wade Phillips won't be back. I said as much a couple weeks back before we even knew Gary Kubiak would step down.
Sources have told Mile High Huddle that defensive backs coach Joe Woods and linebackers coach Reggie Herring will receive consideration for Denver's DC job. Both guys are experienced and have contributed mightily to Denver's defensive dominance.
On the other side of the ball, we know that the Broncos interviewed former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and have another sit-down planned on Friday with former Raiders OC Bill Musgrave. Right now, Joseph is more concerned with finding the right coaches than expediency. Denver's new head man wouldn't comment specifically about McCoy's prospects at landing the job.
“That’s a work in progress and hopefully we can update guys later on the coordinator names," Joseph said. "I’ve known Mike a long time. Mike is a hell of a play caller. It would be a pleasure to talk with Mike about the job.”
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The biggest common denominators that will inform Joseph's coaching search are finding coaches who can reach players on a personal level, take responsibility off his plate, and focus more on fitting a scheme to the personnel.
"I want a guy that fits the scheme to the players. I want coordinators that put players first and schemes second. If it doesn’t fit the players, let’s not do it. My thought there is ‘players first, scheme second’.”
Joseph, when pressed, did intimate that he expects it to take as long as a week and a half to flush out his coaching staff. But there's no deadline. After such a disappointing season offensively, don't expect him to bring many, if any, of Kubiak's assistants back.
“Gary has a fine staff," Joseph said. "Obviously two years ago they were champions here, so obviously [we’ll] interview those guys and pick though the staff and seeing what a good fit is for our players and myself, especially. We can start on this thing today and figure it out. I’m not rushed. I’m not rushed because the staff is critical to our success, so I’m not rushed and I’m going to find the right men for this football team. It may be them and it may not.”
One guy we know is on Joseph's radar is Miami's Jeremiah Washburn. The Broncos have received permission to interview him for offensive line coach. There's no doubt the Broncos need a new approach in coaching the offensive trenches.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.