DAVIE — The Miami Dolphins have been bracing for the departure of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who was officially named Denver Broncos head coach on Wednesday.
Linebackers coach Matt Burke will be strongly considered as Joseph’s replacement.
On Wednesday, coach Adam Gase said, “We’ll go through our process if something like that happens. And we’ll handle it when it happens. I won’t speculate. We’ll always have plans for something like this. I’m not going to jump the gun.”
Gase hinted that the Dolphins would stay on staff with the next hire.
“I’m not really looking to put our players in a situation where every spring we’re looking to change a whole bunch of things,” Gase said. “One thing we had discussed was let’s make sure this our defense. The Miami Dolphins defense. We wanted to lay a foundation so our players aren’t coming in every spring saying, ‘What’s the terminology?'”
The Dolphins defense finished 29th in the NFL, 30th against the run and 15th against the pass. Miami gave up more yards in 2016 than any season in franchise history.
But Gase was a huge advocate of Joseph’s head coaching future. Joseph was popular with the players and the media for his direct, brutally honest assessments and straight-forward communication.
“He’s done a great job with our players,” Gase said. “I can speak for that first hand. He took so much off my plate where I never had to worry about anything with the defense… There was a big trust factor there with me… He brings a leadership quality that you really love about him. He has such a great personality and such a strong personality. He has that alpha – I know we talked about it before – that alpha-type personality where he demands a lot from players and they give him everything they have.”
Miami’s defense wasn’t as loaded as its offense. And the unit was decimated by key injuries such as those to Reshad Jones, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Koa Misi, Xavien Howard, Byron Maxwell, Jelani Jenkins and Earl Mitchell.
“Becoming head coach of the Denver Broncos is a dream job for many reasons,” Joseph said in a statement Wednesday. “The Broncos have an unbelievable winning tradition and great fan support. But what makes this even more special is it’s a place that’s ready to win. This is not a rebuilding situation — It’s a reboot. There is a culture of winning here, and the standards around here won’t change — Those are to win championships.”
Joseph becomes the sixth black coach in the NFL.
“I am very thankful to John Elway and Joe Ellis for this opportunity,” Joseph said in a statement. “It’s incredibly humbling to be part of an organization like the Broncos with so much history and success, especially when you see all the great things this franchise has accomplished.”
In a statement, Elway said Joseph was the best fit for Denver.
“Vance is very good football coach and teacher who is ready for this opportunity,” Elway said. “His leadership qualities, his vision for building a championship team and his ability to get the most out of players are off the charts. In talking with Vance, the culture that he believes in and the culture of our organization are closely aligned and focused on one thing: Winning. He understands the high expectations this franchise has always had under (owner) Pat Bowlen, and he embraces them.”
Gase said that other than Joseph, he does not foresee any other staff changes.
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