Denver Broncos

Broncos to retain head coach Vance Joseph after 5-11 season

(Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

The Denver Broncos are retaining rookie coach Vance Joseph, who went 5-11 in his first season, VP of Football Operations and general manager John Elway tweeted on Monday.

There was speculation that Elway would be on the lookout for his fourth head coach in five years with Joseph losing 10 of his last 12 games, including eight straight at one point. Eight of the team’s losses were by double digits.

“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.”

Of the six head coaching vacancies last season, Joseph was widely believed to have inherited the best situation, taking over a team coming off a 9-7 season and just one year removed from a Super Bowl victory.

But Joseph had the worst record of the six new head coaches as the Broncos, who own the No. 5 pick in the draft and are still searching for their franchise quarterback two years after Peyton Manning’s retirement.

Joseph replaced Gary Kubiak a year ago when Kubiak stepped away from coaching because of health concerns. At the time of Joseph’s hiring, 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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