There had been rumblings over the last few days that the Cardinals were going to “break the bank” on a defensive coordinator. Bring a coach in to fix the offense, and let somebody with experience run the defense. Thursday, they did just that. Arizona hired former Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph.
Here’s the press release from the team:
Joseph joins the Cardinals after spending the past two seasons as head coach of the Denver Broncos. The 46-year old Joseph is a 20-year coaching veteran, including 14 seasons in the NFL with San Francisco (2005-10), Houston (2011-13), Cincinnati (2014-15), Miami (2016) and Denver (2017-18). He has 12 years of coaching experience on the defensive side of the ball in the NFL, including working as defensive coordinator with Miami in 2016. Notes on Joseph’s coaching career follow below:
- In Joseph’s initial season with the Broncos in 2017, Denver had the NFL’s #3 ranked defense and joined Minnesota as the only teams in the NFL that season to rank in the top-5 in both run defense and pass defense. The Broncos ranked #5 in run defense in ’17 after finishing the previous year ranked #28 in that category.
- In 2018, the Broncos defense ranked in the top-10 in the NFL in INTs (17), takeaways (28) and sacks (44). Rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb – Denver’s first round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft – led all NFL rookies with 12.0 sacks last season. Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller had 14.5 sacks, tied for fourth in the NFL last season. Denver was one of three teams (Seattle, Kansas City) to have two players record double digit sacks in 2018.
- Joseph’s teams have ranked in the top-10 in interceptions in four of the past five seasons.
- In a stretch from 2011 to 2016, which spanned jobs in Houston, Cincinnati and Miami, Joseph’s teams made the postseason five times in six seasons.
- During his two seasons as defensive backs coach with Cincinnati (2014-15), the Bengals defense led the NFL with 41 interceptions. Cincinnati was the only team to post more interceptions than touchdowns allowed (36) during that two-year stretch while holding opposing QBs to the lowest combined passer rating (77.4) in the NFL.
- Four different defensive backs earned a combined five Pro Bowl selections – Jonathan Joseph (2), Reggie Nelson (1), Adam Jones (1) and Walt Harris (1) – during Joseph’s time coaching defensive backs in San Francisco, Houston and Cincinnati.
- In his first season as defensive backs coach with Houston, the Texans defense went from being ranked #32 in passing yards allowed in 2010 to ranked #3 in passing yards allowed in 2011. Houston also allowed an NFL-low 51.9 completion percentage that year.
Fans often have a tough time of differentiating a good head coach and a good coordinator. It didn’t work out as a head coach, but Joseph has shown that he can run a defense successfully.