By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Denver Broncos had the most attractive head coach opening in the National Football League after Gary Kubiak stepped down. They still have an excellent, Super Bowl-caliber defense, and still some weapons on offense. Their biggest question mark is at the quarterback position, but 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch still possesses some upside.
So when the Broncos selected Vance Joseph to be their next head coach, the former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator certainly found himself in a fortunate spot as a defensive-minded coach. A longtime defensive backs coach, Joseph has the best, deepest secondary in the league to configure, led by corners Aqib Talib and Chris Harris and safety T.J. Ward. Joseph has plenty of talent to work with calling the plays on that side of the ball.
Except that Joseph doesn’t want to actually call the plays.
Speaking at his introductory press conference on Thursday, Joseph was ostensibly asked about the play-calling structure with him as head coach and his as-yet-undetermined coordinators. Joseph gave quite a curious answer for a first-time head coach.
“I prefer not to call plays,” said Joseph. “I want to be the head coach here, but if I have to I will.”
Did Joseph not realize that he can still generally call plays as the head coach without getting into the finer details? Does he think that Bill Belichick never actually has any hand in the play-calling? It sounds like Joseph prefers to be more of a GM or president of football operations if he doesn’t want to be involved in play-calls.
Joseph doesn’t necessarily need to be the one specifically barking out all the routes for receivers, or telling the defensive signal-callers all of their particular coverages and gaps. Coordinators can obviously handle the bulk of that. But he can at least say to his offensive coordinator, “Throw it.” Or his defensive coordinator, “Blitz the quarterback here.” Does he not even want to do that? He wants to be completely hands off?
Sounds like Joseph aspires to be more of a ventriloquist dummy, like Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. It’s unclear whether Caldwell’s headset is ever plugged in, or whether he’s even opened his mouth before. Guess Joseph prefers to be that guy.
Joseph plans to build out his coaching staff in the coming days, which will not include departing defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. You’d think he’d want to keep Phillips around if he trusted 100 percent of the play-calling to the coordinators.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.