Like most coaches who don’t have a direct line to Sean McVay, Vance Joseph will have to work his way back to another head-coaching shot through being a coordinator.
Joseph, who was fired after two seasons as head coach of the Denver Broncos, was picked to be the Arizona Cardinals’ new defensive coordinator and was negotiating a deal with the team, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
It’s an interesting hire, and not just because new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury probably has a worse resume to be an NFL coach than Joseph. Kingsbury, who had four losing seasons in his last five tries at Texas Tech before the Cardinals hired him, can benefit from having former NFL head coaches on his staff. Joseph didn’t have the best run in Denver, but he probably learned some things that he can pass along.
Vance Joseph brings some experience to Cardinals staff
Joseph was 11-21 with the Broncos. He didn’t do well but also was stuck in a tough position, with a revolving door at quarterback and a roster that had significant holes. Joseph reportedly interviewed for the Bengals head coaching job but reportedly lost out to Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, another candidate whose resume is arguably thinner than Joseph’s. But, like Kingsbury, Taylor knew McVay.
Joseph doesn’t have a long track record as a defensive coordinator. He held that role just one season, with the Dolphins in 2016. But he was a respected assistant after coaching defensive backs for many years with the 49ers, Texans and Bengals.
That’s why he got the job with the Broncos, and it’s why teams were interested in him to run their defense this offseason. The Cardinals landed him.
Kliff Kingsbury needed a good defensive hire
The defensive coordinator hire was clearly important for Kingsbury. Anyone aware of Kingsbury’s underwhelming coaching career with Texas Tech knows the criticism of him: His offenses were fantastic, and his defenses were atrocious. He was hired by the Cardinals because he’s a creative offensive mind, but he needed a good coach to run the defense.
Whether Joseph can be that defensive coach will be seen. He takes over a defense that had a lot of scheme changes under Steve Wilks last season that didn’t necessarily fit the personnel, and the unit took a big tumble. Arizona ranked 26th in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed. Yet, there still is good talent on defense for Joseph to work with.
If Joseph does well, perhaps it could get him back on a track to be a head coach again, even as the league continues its infatuation with young offensive coaches.
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