John Elway Says He Didn't Set Vance Joseph Up to Succeed: 'That Part's on Me'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, CO - JANUARY 12:  Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway fields questions from the media during a press conference to introduce Vance Josepf as the new head coach at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on January 12, 2017 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Denver Broncos president of football operations John Elway accepted responsibility for the team's 5-11 record in 2017—the franchise's worst since 2010.

During a press conference Tuesday, Elway said he failed to put first-year head coach Vance Joseph in the strongest position possible entering the season.

"That part's on me," Elway said, per the Denver Post's Nicki Jhabvala‏. "We will get that part fixed this coming year ... and give Vance and his staff the best opportunity to be successful."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported it was looking like the Broncos would fire Joseph after the conclusion of the regular season. However, Elway tweeted New Year's Day that Joseph would be back in 2018:

Regarding Elway's comments Tuesday, it would appear empowering Gary Kubiak, the team's former head coach and a current senior personnel advisor, is part of Denver's offseason plans.

"We're going to enlarge Gary's role on the personnel side," Elway said, per Jhabvala. "I'm going to give him a larger role. He's going to be involved in free agency as well as the draft."

While he helped turn the Broncos into a Super Bowl winner, Elway has played a role in the team's downturn.

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman reported in November the perception around the league of Denver was beginning to sour as well. Freeman spoke to an NFL assistant coach who called the Broncos a "death trap" for head coaches because of what he argued was Elway's unwillingness to take culpability for Denver's state.

"As respected as he is as a player and executive, Elway is gaining a reputation as someone who is rash and impatient with his coaching staffs, someone who sees coaches as disposable," Freeman wrote. "And someone who isn't taking full responsibility for his personnel decisions."

Elway is saying all the right things. Far more important will be addressing the team's biggest issues—namely, the starting quarterback.

According to Football Outsiders, the Broncos ranked 10th in defensive efficiency, but the combination of Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler dragged the team down. Neither is arguably a suitable starter in 2018, while Paxton Lynch has made just five appearances in his first two years.

If the Broncos don't solve their quarterback dilemma ahead of next season, Elway may be setting Joseph up to fail once again. 

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