Grading Vance Joseph’s head coaching debut

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It was only a preseason game, but Vance Joseph can say that he won a football game as a head coach in the NFL. In his debut as the man in charge of the Denver Broncos, Joseph guided his team to a 24-17 victory in Chicago to start his head-coaching career.

Denver’s performance was far from perfect, as the 10 penalties they incurred for 76 yards will attest, but there were plenty of positives to take away from the win.

The first-team defense looked like it hasn’t missed a beat, while the third- and fourth-string offensive players put together a pair of impressive fourth-quarter drives to earn the win.

Here’s how the crew at Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 graded Joseph in his first game as Broncos head coach.

Ryan Edwards – Danny & Ryan, M-F 9a-11a

Grade: B

The starting defense looked tremendous, and Joseph was smart to pull them from the game early. His best move was getting his best players off the field to avoid possible injury. Being a head coach is all about managing coordinators, so it was also impressive to see Mike McCoy find a rhythm with the rookies late in the game to deliver a win.

Gil Whiteley – M-F, 11a-Noon

Grade: C

Managing coordinators also means trusting them. On fourth-and-two late in the third quarter, McCoy had a play ready to go when Joseph called a timeout. By Whiteley’s estimation, Joseph overruled the play call and the result was a turnover on downs. What’s worse, Joseph and McCoy argued about the decision. Joseph needs to learn to trust one of his biggest assets.

Mark Jackson – M-F, 11a-Noon

Grade: A

Yes, they took too many penalties, but the enthusiasm and energy coming from the sideline – players and coaches – was palpable. After falling behind, Joseph rallied the troops and found a way to win.

Danny Williams – Danny & Ryan, M-F 9a-11a

Grade: C

Joseph gets a “C” because we need to “see” more. One preseason win, against a team that shouldn’t win more than five games this season, isn’t enough to start handing out honor roll type grades. He did some things well, but he needed a reminder after the final whistle to go shake John Fox’s hand. Joseph is still green as a head coach. The real grades will come when the real games start.

Kyle Berry – Producer, M-F 6a-11a

Grade: B+

A win is a win, no matter who it’s against. Joseph played it safe when he needed to and gambled when it made sense. The biggest reason for concern is the penalties. Everyone is always overly excited in the first preseason game, so the penalties should calm down next week.

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