Former head coach Vance Joseph returns to Broncos as defensive coordinator

Vance Joseph is headed back to the Mile High City.

The Denver Broncos are hiring Joseph as their defensive coordinator under new head coach Sean Payton, Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager reported Thursday, per a source informed of the decision.

Joseph spent two seasons as the Broncos head coach from 2017-18, compiling an 11-21 record before being fired. He had been in Arizona as the Cardinals' defensive coordinator for the past four seasons.

A seasoned coordinator, Joseph was highly sought-after as a DC during the coaching cycle, conducting a lengthy interview Tuesday with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Broncos hired Payton after he briefly retired for one year in the aftermath of a 15-season run as the New Orleans Saints head coach. One comeback story wasn't enough in Denver, as Joseph will now make his return.

Joseph helms a solid defensive cast in Denver, headlined by safety Justin Simmons, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and edge rusher Randy Gregory. Only Simmons and linebacker Josey Jewell remain from the defense Joseph led during his tenure as head coach in Denver.

The veteran coach provides the Broncos' defense with experience and leadership that should allow Payton to focus his efforts on revamping the struggling offense in Denver, starting with rehabbing quarterback Russell Wilson after a poor 2022 campaign.

Joseph runs an attacking 3-4 D, which meshes well with the Broncos' personnel and the style Payton has preferred from his defenses. Last season in Arizona, the Cardinals blitzed on 36.1 percent of downs, third-most in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats.

Denver's new DC will retain defensive line coach Marcus Dixon and defensive backs coach Christian Parker as part of his staff, NFL Network's James Palmer reported, per a source. Greg Manusky is being hired as an inside linebackers coach, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reports, per a source.

The Broncos recently conducted interviews with former Jets and Bills head coach Rex Ryan and Patriots senior football advisor/offensive line coach Matt Patricia for the DC job before landing on Joseph.

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