A forgotten head coach from a forgotten time in Denver Broncos’ historical past, Vance Joseph is most well-known for being the person Sergio Dipp was speaking about through the best sideline report of all time.
Since that fateful day, Joseph misplaced his job in Denver and has served because the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator because the 2019 season. In his first season with the group, the Cardinals had the worst protection within the league, surrendering a league-high 6,432 complete yards, and have been tied for the fourth-most touchdowns in opposition to. In 2020, Arizona’s D improved dramatically — though the one method to go was up — ending thirteenth in yards allowed. In 2021, the unit was eleventh. And now, in 2022, they’ve fallen again right down to Earth, rating twenty second. Nevertheless, that quantity will not be indicative of simply how stable Joseph has been with this protection.
This season, the Cardinals are spending a devastatingly low $77,228,871 on their protection. That ranks twenty fourth within the NFL. This previous offseason, Arizona misplaced arguably its finest defensive participant, Chandler Jones. Positive, there are some up-and-comers within the likes of Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons, however except for Budda Baker, this protection is crammed with low-end gamers.
When it comes to factors and yards allowed the Playing cards don’t look that good, certain, however take away the Kanas Metropolis Chiefs and New Orleans Saints video games for a second. With out these two dumpster fires, Arizona has allowed a median of 19.6 factors per recreation, which might tie it for tenth within the NFL. The Redbird held the Philadelphia Eagles, L.A. Rams, Carolina Panthers, and Seattle Seahawks all to twenty factors or fewer in three of these video games. Seven of Carolina’s factors got here by way of a pick-6. The Iggles and the ‘Hawks are each top-12 groups within the NFL this 12 months by way of yards per recreation, and each are top-five by way of factors scored per recreation, but Philly scored its fewest factors of the season in opposition to a reasonably mediocre (on paper) Cardinals protection and Seattle scored its third-fewest.
If you wish to get into specifics, Vance Joseph has actually performed nicely with the Arizona cornerbacks. By way of most of coaching camp, one of many males competing for considered one of Arizona’s beginning spots on the place was Antonio Hamilton. In early September, Hamilton suffered severe second and third-degree burns that just about killed him.
Thankfully, he’s since made a full recovery and is playing once again, but he did miss the first four games of the season. The Cardinals’ secondary wasn’t at full strength. Despite Hamilton’s absence, here’s how each of Arizona’s opponents’ top receivers did in their matchups:
- JuJu Smith-Schuster: 6 receptions, 79 yards, 1 fumble lost
- Davante Adams: 2 receptions, 12 yards, 1 touchdown
- Cooper Kupp: 4 receptions, 44 yards, 1 rushing touchdown
- DJ Moore: 6 receptions, 50 yards
That’s already pretty good. Kupp and Adams combined for six total receptions against the Cards! You could argue that JuJu and Moore each had good days with six receptions apiece, but neither got into the end zone.
The dominance against opposing top options continued after Hamilton returned.
- A.J. Brown: 3 receptions, 32 yards
- D.K. Metcalf: 2 receptions, 34 yards (if you believe Tyler Lockett is Seattle’s No. 1, he recorded two receptions for 17 yards)
It wasn’t until Chris Olave’s seven-reception, 106-yard performance last Thursday night that a true No. 1 receiver really broke through against the Cardinals’ secondary. You can praise Byron Murphy, Jalen Thompson, and Baker all you like. They’re all good players, but given Joseph’s history as a DB in the NFL, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this unit has blossomed.
Joseph has also consistently made fantastic halftime adjustments throughout the season. In the second half, Arizona is allowing an average of just 10.4 points per game. Take out the Saints game, and that number drops to 8.83. Take out the Chiefs game as well and that number drops to just 6.4. I know it’s unfair to judge Arizona solely on its best defensive games, but I do sincerely believe that matchups against the Raiders, Seahawks, Rams, and Eagles are tough enough as is.
Now, none of this necessarily means Joseph would make a good head coach. Maybe he’s best as a DC. But, last season, when Kliff Kingsbury needed to step away as a result of COVID, Joseph grew to become the co-head coach alongside assistant head coach/particular groups coordinator Jeff Rodgers. The Cardinals went into Cleveland and scored their second-most factors of the season, demolishing the Browns 37-14. Cleveland was fifth in complete protection that 12 months. The one groups to attain extra factors in opposition to the Browns than the Cardinals that 12 months have been the Chiefs, Los Chargers, and… the New England Patriots. Okay, that final one isn’t as spectacular nevertheless it’s nonetheless a superb feat for a group that was with out their head coach, quarterbacks coach, and two defensive linemen.
Sure, Joseph’s tenure with the Broncos wasn’t good. He went 11-21 and by no means completed higher than third within the AFC West. Nevertheless, he has stated he needs one other shot at head teaching within the NFL. Primarily based on what he’s been capable of do in Arizona, he undoubtedly deserves that second shot. Even when the group’s document isn’t nice, it hasn’t been the protection’s fault. Begin giving Vance Joseph the credit score he deserves. He’s undoubtedly having the time of his life proper now.