It took some long thought and discussion. Apparently, it was not an easy decision.
Ultimately, though, Broncos general manager John Elway informed Vance Joseph on Monday morning the head coach will be retained for a second season.
Joseph's future had been shaky after the Broncos finished with a 5-11 record that was the team's first losing season since 2010. On Sunday morning, ESPN reported Joseph was “facing increasingly long odds to return.''
However, 9News countered the report Sunday evening by stating Elway had not made a decision, was going to sleep on it before making it and finally, “don't be surprised if Joseph returns for his second season.''
Elway has decided to retain Joseph for a second season with plans to upgrade the quarterback position.
“Vance and I had a great talk this morning about our plan to attack this offseason and get better as a team,'' Elway stated by Twitter. “We believe in Vance as our head coach. Together, we'll put in the work to improve in all areas and win in 2018.''
The reason Joseph was on the hot seat was simple: Elway doesn't put up with 5-11. Elway called his team soft after it had lost its fifth straight game by at least 10 points.
But there are probably two reasons why Joseph will get a second chance. One, it's only fair he gets the opportunity to coach with better quarterback play. The Broncos were 3-1, remember, before turnovers starting dooming their season.
There were improvements to the process, if not with the ultimate results. Last year, the Broncos couldn't run the ball or stop the run. This year, Denver improved from 27th in rushing (92.8 yards per game) to 12th (115.8), and from 28th in defending the run (130.3 yards per game) to No. 5 (89.4).
And two, this is not considered a strong year for head coaching candidates. Josh McDaniels is widely considered the hottest one. To which the politest portion of Broncoland would say: No thank you.
The next step Elway and Joseph will take is to fire several assistant coaches. There may be significant changes on the offensive side of the ball, although Bill Musgrave is expected to return as offensive coordinator. Gary Kubiak will be brought in to help Elway upstairs.
Everyone at Broncos headquarters, though, is on notice, even those who are staying.