Fox Sports reported on Tuesday night that the Cincinnati Bengals had decided to keep defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, rather than letting him leave for the vacant defensive coordinator position in Denver. Prior to that, Bengals owner Mike Brown told Fox Sports that he wanted to speak with Joseph before deciding whether or not to allow him out of his contract. While all of this was happening, Joesph spent Tuesday sandwiched between head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, scouting players during a senior bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama.
Essentially... 1) Brown wanted to speak with Joseph and then 2) Brown told Denver, no. Those are the only confirmed things that we know. There is speculation, however, about what happened in between. Was there a raise? Did Joseph refuse the move? And did Mike take the incendiary heat away from Joseph so that he could resume scouting with Lewis and Guenther in beautiful Mobile, Alabama?
"I'll take care of the distractions, Vance". Is that outside of Mike Brown's character? If Joseph is such a coaching prodigy, why let him leave anyway? Would you allow one of your best employees to leave for a competitor? The Bengals also play the Broncos in 2015... why would you give Denver their defensive coordinator for next season?
Others are speculating more radical perspectives, such as those mind-boggling commentaries that are highlighting Vance Joseph's race, concluding that Marvin Lewis should "do the right thing". Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes:
This is the wrong stance for a candidate of any color much less a minority. In the week our nation is honoring Martin Luther King and his life’s work for racial equality, the Bengals are denying Joseph, an African American, his right for a career advancement.
Does the NFL, which has proven to be slow to understand the magnitude of social issues, understand the injustice here? Perhaps, the league is simply too preoccupied with that all-important matter of deflated footballs.
Klis continues with an interesting rant about the Bengals, chiding Mike Brown's history with the organization. This is the same franchise that's qualified for the postseason in four straight years and five out of the last six. Despite lacking playoff wins, they're still doing something right. Go ahead. Apply dated caricatures that only make sense with a 10-year flight-plan on the Delorean... since we love living in the past.
Supposedly it’s Brown, the Bengals’ owner, who is denying Joseph, but I have my doubts. Joseph has only been on the Bengals coaching staff for one year. We’ve all witnessed how Brown has operated the Bengals, who haven’t won a playoff game in 26 years. What can he know about the quality of defensive back coaches?
Kevin Coyle was Cincinnati's defensive backs coach from 2001-2011. He re-built Deltha O'Neal (who struggled in Denver ironically) into a pro bowler and helped Tory James get to the Pro Bowl as well. Coyle developed Johnathan Joseph, Leon Hall and helped bring Adam Jones back from the dead. He was grandfathered into Marvin Lewis' coaching staff in 2003... Perhaps by Mike Browns' insistence? Coyle would later become the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2012, leading them to a top-eight defense in two of the last three years. Klis continues into his perspective that highlights Joseph's race.
Which was good enough for the Steelers to make him a head coach. And Tomlin, an African American, has proved to be a very good coach. There’s a reason why they call it the Rooney Rule. Lewis should know better than anybody that the Rooneys and the Steelers are paradigms of doing things right. In 1995, Lewis had finished up his fifth season as the Steelers’ linebackers coach. The Baltimore Ravens — Pittsburgh’s most intense NFL rival — then offered him a promotion to defensive coordinator and the Rooneys and coach Bill Cowher did not stand in his way.
My only question is this... Through the use of Google, we found eight instances in which an assistant coach was denied the opportunity to leave for another position. Where was the outrage when the San Francisco 49ers rejected Buffalo's request to interview Ronald Curry? Maybe it's because Curry had nothing to do with the Denver Broncos, which makes one consider the limited scope in which Klis' social issues actually apply. We'll ignore social injustices... unless it happens to the Broncos.
This comes from the same newspaper that actively highlights the Rooney Rule as an obstruction:
Yes, the Broncos respected the NFL's Rooney Rule, which states that a team must interview at least one minority for its open head coaching position. But it was understood around the NFL that Kubiak would get the Broncos job if he wanted it. But Elway satisfied the Rooney Rule and, essentially, got a free interview with Kubiak's possible choice for defensive coordinator.
Maybe... just maybe:
1) The Bengals like what they have in Joseph and envision a significant future with him. Whether or not a Denver Post columnist is aware of those things is insignificant.
2) Maybe Joseph didn't want to join the Broncos. HOW COULD YOU?
2a) The Broncos interviewed him for their head coaching position AFTER reports were wildly circulating that Gary Kubiak was their guy. That's insulting.
2b) Joseph witnessed the Broncos cut their entire coaching staff after failing to reach the conference championship. Everyone is competitive and you want that fire, but who the hell wants that level (or not level) of job security?
Maybe... just maybe, this had nothing to do with race.
Our quick review of those assistant coaches that were denied opportunities:
- The Chicago Bears wanted to interview Lions quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter for their vacant offensive coordinator position. The Lions said, no.
- Last week the Tennessee Titans denied Chicago's request to chat with tight ends coach Mike Mularkey about their offensive coordinator position.
- Earlier this year, the Titans also refused Tampa Bay permission to talk with Mularkey.
- The Buffalo Bills wanted to talk with wanted to speak to Ronald Curry for their vacant offensive coordinator position, but the San Francisco 49ers denied it.
- The St. Louis Rams wanted to talk with Rob Chudzinksi for their offensive coordinator position. The Colts blocked it.
- The St. Louis Rams wanted to talk with Packers' quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt. Green Bay said no.
- The New York Jets wanted to speak with Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. The Falcons said no.
- The Atlanta Falcons had originally denied Oakland permission to speak to the Raiders, but relented.