Vance Joseph was retained, but it was a sad day for some fine men on his coaching staff.
Five assistant coaches were fired Monday, including the long-termed Eric Studesville and Tyke Tolbert.
“Four head coaches is a pretty good run,'' Studesville, remarkably gracious and humorous till the end, said in an interview with 9NEWS. “I knew I was on borrowed time at some point. But we're in a fantastic game. It's a hard business, but it's a fantastic game.''
In his eight years as the Broncos' running backs coach, he worked for Josh McDaniels, John Fox, Gary Kubiak and Joseph.
Studesville will be fine. In fact, the New York Giants notified the Broncos they would interview him for their vacant head coaching position. That interview will occur later this week.He deserves the opportunity. Studesville served as the Broncos' interim head coach in place of the fired McDaniels with four games remaining in 2010.
Studesville even guided Tim Tebow to his first NFL win. Studesville also had two, 1,000-yard rushers in Knowshon Moreno in 2013 and C.J. Anderson to finish off his final year in 2017.
“The highlight, and really nothing else was close were the players and the people around here,'' Studesville said. “I loved it. This was a great place for me and my family. The Super Bowl championship, obviously, fantastic. I'm glad we got the kid (Anderson) over 1,000 last night. That was important to me and to him. I'm glad I left knowing we did the right thing there.''
First-year special teams coordinator Brock Olivo, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac and assistant defensive backs coach Johnnie Lynn were also dismissed Monday.
Tolbert had an incredible run as the Broncos' receivers coach, starting with the Tim Tebow season of 2011 and helping guide Demaryius Thomas to five Pro Bowl appearances and Emmanuel Sanders to two Pro Bowls.
“It's been a great 7 years, including our Super Bowl 50 championship,'' Tolbert said in an interview with 9NEWS. “I'm just very fortunate, very fortunate to have been here 7 years, my family to have been here seven years. This has been a first-class organization. My family loves it. My girls love it.
"I hate to leave now because I feel like we could fix it. But I understand it's part of the business. It's going to be another chapter in the Tolbert household. Obviously, I want to continue coaching. I want to thank all the Broncos fans and thank my players for laying it on the line for me. And thank the whole Broncos organization for allowing me to be here for seven great years.''
Davidson's departure was expected as he was brought in by offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who was fired on November 20 and replaced by Bill Musgrave, who became the interim offensive coordinator.
Musgrave is expected to become the full-time offensive coordinator.
Olivo was one of the most intelligent, kindest and interesting men ever employed by the Broncos' organization. His special teams just didn't consistently play well.
Punt returner Isaiah McKenzie had too many muffs, kicker Brandon McManus missed too many field goals, and the coverage units allowed too many long returns.
Broncos' special teams ranked 32nd, or last, in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders grading system.
One possible candidate to replace Olivo is Carolina special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, who is a free agent after this season.
Lynn had been coaching football since 1987 and had been in the NFL as a coach and a player for 28 season. He was brought to the Broncos this year by defensive coordinator Joe Woods. Woods and Lynn had worked together in Oakland for two years.
More moves to the Broncos' coaching staff are possible. Broncos general manager John Elway and Joseph are scheduled to hold their end-of-season press conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday at team headquarters.