What led Vance Joseph back to Denver as Sean Payton’s defensive coordinator?

INDIANAPOLIS — Sean Payton cast a wide net for his defensive coordinator.

He interviewed Rex Ryan and Matt Patricia, Sean Desai and Kris Richard.

Ultimately, Payton hired former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph after a process he on Tuesday called “very patient.”

“All those guys were outstanding,” Payton said. “In the end, there were a few things I thought Vance would bring — and not necessarily because he had experience in Denver, but really more because of what he was able to do, believe it or not, in Arizona. That was a tough job for a number of years.

“We’re excited to have him on our defensive staff.”

Neither Payton nor general manager George Paton has ever worked directly with Joseph, but they’re both convinced he’ll keep a Broncos defense that’s ranged from good to excellent over recent years in the NFL’s upper echelon.

“He’s hard to scheme against. He’s hard to go against,” Paton said. “He hasn’t always been in the perfect situations, but his defenses always play hard. They’re hard to scheme against, they get after the quarterback, they’re good in the pass game, they turn the ball over.

“Just talking to a lot of people in the league, I’ve always had respect for Vance. I think he’s going to be great.”

Payton confirmed he also had conversations with another former Broncos head coach, Vic Fangio, about the job.

“Vic was supposed to be part of the plan and then you guys (media) scared him away,” Payton said with a smile, before later adding, “We were planning, in this year away (from coaching), if the right scenario came up that we’d work together. This one was just a little unique because it wasn’t too long ago that he was here.

“Certainly I tried, talked to him, tried to twist his arm.”

Dre’Mont Jones talks “very positive.” The Broncos’ highest-profile player set to become a free agent is defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones. Paton on Tuesday expressed confidence in Jones’ potential future with Denver.

“Very positive,” Paton said of his conversations with Jones and his reps. “I’ve spoken with his agent, Kyle McCarthy, from Athletes First. I’ve had a number of conversations with Dre’Mont]. Dre’Mont is a very good player. He’s one of our core players on defense. They’ve been very positive.”

Jones, 26, posted a career-best 6.5 sacks in 13 games in 2022 before a hip injury ended his season in December.

The Broncos could also franchise-tag him before the March 15 deadline, either as a way to retain him or to buy time in contract negotiations. The franchise-tag cap hit is $18.937 million for defensive tackles and $19.727 million for defensive ends.

Singleton “a baller.” Paton also said the team would like to get Alex Singleton back after he finished with a team-best 163 tackles playing on a one-year deal.

“He’s a great leader, has a nose for the ball and players gravitate towards him,” Paton said. “We’d like to have Alex back.”

Fifth-year option for Jeudy TBD. Paton said the Broncos will make a decision on whether to pick up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Jerry Jeudy’s rookie contract closer to the May deadline. The option is pegged at just less than $13 million for the 2024 season for the first-round pick from the 2020 draft.

“Really happy with how Jerry finished off the season, especially the last couple of games,” Paton said of Jeudy, who finished with 972 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 15 games.

Injury updates. Paton provided injury updates on a few key players who landed on injured reserve over the course of the season.

A quick rundown:

Left tackle Garett Bolles, who missed the final 11 weeks with a lower leg fracture: “We do expect Garett to be healthy.”

Running back Javonte Williams, who missed the final 13 weeks with a torn ACL and other knee damage: “I don’t want to put a date on it, but he’s out there jogging. He’s working his butt off. He’s rehabbing. … They anticipate he would be ready for the start of the season.”

Edge Randy Gregory, who missed 11 weeks total due to a meniscus injury in his knee: “Randy is a dynamic player we need to keep him available. I do anticipate he’ll be ready for the offseason program.”

Tim Patrick, who missed the entire season with a torn ACL suffered in August: “That was a huge loss. … He’s running now. He’s jogging. I don’t know when he’ll be back in terms of the offseason programs but next season, certainly, he’ll be 100 percent.”

Want more Broncos news? Sign up for the Broncos Insider to get all our NFL analysis.

Source: Read Full Article