ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway voiced his support Monday for Head Coach Vance Joseph as the pair looks ahead to the 2018 season.
"Vance and I had a great talk this morning about our plan to attack this offseason and get better as a team," Elway tweeted. "We believe in Vance as our head coach. Together, we'll put in the work to improve in all areas and win in 2018."
Several members of the Broncos echoed that sentiment as they cleaned out their lockers Monday morning and turned toward the future.
Veteran running back C.J. Anderson, who eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards during Sunday's game, put the blame for a disappointing season on the players in the locker room and declared that Joseph deserved to return as head coach.
"Coming in with a veteran locker room and talent, I think it's on us as players," Anderson said. "We didn't uphold our end of the bargain to help V.J. and all the coaches."
Defensive lineman Shelby Harris echoed that sentiment Sunday afternoon after the Broncos' season finale.
"It's not on him, it's on us," Harris said. "We're all grown men here. The season is completely on us, it's not on the coaches, it's on the execution. This is not Vance's fault. Everybody needs to stopping saying, 'Oh it's on him.' It's on us, and [if] Vance [were] to get fired over some crap like that, it's the business, but it's not fair. At the end of the day, we're in Denver and they expect wins, but I stand with Vance, I stand with all my coaches. Without them I wouldn't be here, and I stand with all of these coaches regardless."
Anderson also made a guarantee Monday to Broncos fans about the future of the football team.
"I can promise you, sitting right here, you can put it on record: If he does get a second chance, we will not be 5-11. We won't have a losing season," Anderson said.
Defensive end Zach Kerr also said he believes in Joseph's ability to help the Broncos turn things around and added that it would be unfair to judge Joseph after his first season.
"I love Vance Joseph, I really do," Joseph said. "I really like the guy, he's a really good guy. He brought me in and I have the utmost respect for him. It's tough being a first-year head coach."
"I hope nobody judges me off of my first performance in the NFL, you know what I'm saying?" Kerr said.
And as Joseph heads into his second season as head coach, he's given players reason to believe the encore performance will be much more successful. Anderson said he saw Joseph evolve and adapt over the course of the season and that he established himself as a player's coach.
Perhaps most importantly, though, Joseph prevented the locker room from splintering in the midst of a difficult season.
"He has all the respect of the guys," quarterback Trevor Siemian said. "I think at times like this it's easy to point fingers. The one thing I'll say is, nobody in here has done that. That's a credit to Coach Joseph and how he steered this thing."