John Elway Won't Fire Broncos HC Vance Joseph, 'Going to Stay the Course'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2018

Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph watches warm ups prior to an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Even with the team in danger of finishing below .500 for the second consecutive year under Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway won't make a coaching change.

"At this point, we're going to stay the course," Elway said during his weekly appearance on Orange & Blue 760 on Monday (via the Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran). "I'm much more encouraged this year than last year because guys are still playing hard and [we] are in the games."

Denver started 2-0 but has lost six of its past seven contests. During that span, the Broncos have lost four games by seven points or fewer, including a trio of matchups against the Kansas City Chiefs (twice) and the Los Angeles Rams, a pair of 8-1 squads.

Even though the losses have piled up, Elway likes the way his team played:

"The frustrating part for everybody ... we haven't made the plays we need to get over the hump. Every game in this league is always competitive and the teams that win are teams that are able to do it consistently. We have not been able to do it.

"I like the heartbeat of this team, the fact they're competitors and they continue to work hard."

Being competitive against some of the league's best teams is an encouraging sign for a rebuilding club. And it's enough to keep Joseph off the hot seat—although at some point, he will have to win to stick around.

Joseph led Denver to a 3-1 record in 2017 before it lost 10 of its final 12 games following a Week 5 bye. Questions about his job security came up amid those struggles, but Elway stayed patient, saying he still believed in Joseph.

That's the case once again.

But the team's remaining schedule isn't easy. The Broncos still have contests against the Los Angeles Chargers (twice), Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. On the other hand, they have matchups against the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, who are a combined 5-20-1.

When Elway interviewed Joseph in January 2017, he praised the coach for having "strong leadership qualities" and a "strong vision." The results haven't shown up for the first year-plus of Joseph's tenure, but the first-time NFL head coach is still attempting to make his mark.

Sticking with Joseph allows Denver to have the sort of consistency that has been lacking in recent years. After parting ways with John Fox in 2014, the Broncos kept Gary Kubiak as coach for just two seasons before moving on to Joseph last year.