(247SPORTS) – The expectation is that Vance Joseph will be dismissed after Sunday’s regular season finale, but NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport presents a panic-inducing alternative.

Year three for Joseph.

In previewing potential AFC coaching changes, Rapoport floated the “slim possibility” general manager John Elway “rides the momentum” if Denver upsets the rival Los Angeles Chargers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

SANTA CLARA, CA – DECEMBER 09: Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos talks to the line judge during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

What’s more, Rapsheet reveals, the Broncos might pair Joseph with Gary Kubiak, who would return to the sidelines as offensive coordinator following two seasons as Elway’s right-hand advisor in the front office.

“Elway realizes the offense must improve and exist more on the cutting edge,” Rapoport said.

OK, now breathe, Broncos fans. This is a scenario which admittedly isn’t terribly likely, nor does it make sense from a practical standpoint, the team’s revered former coach working under in-over-his-head Joseph.

“Several sources in-tuned with this situation” tell Rapoport there will be a vacancy, perhaps as soon as Sunday night, and the “likelihood” is Joseph’s a goner. No decision has been reached, obviously, but the tea leaves suggest a housecleaning is on its way.

Under Joseph’s “guidance,” the Broncos have posted consecutive losing campaigns for the first time since 1972. This, following a historic eight-game losing streak in 2017, leading to a 5-11 finish which prompted Elway to consider axing Joseph and replace him with Mike Shanahan, so the story goes. Joseph has drawn mass condemnation from fans, media and even legendary Denver stars, such as six-time Pro Bowler and Ring of Famer Karl Mecklenburg announcing he’s officially on the “fire Vance Joseph bandwagon.”

Kubiak, who retired after the 2016 campaign due to health issues, has emerged as a viable coordinator candidate for the league’s upcoming coaching cycle, Rapoport reported last month. He supposedly won’t consider head-coaching positions, but the Broncos are bracing for Kubiak to shop his wares as an assistant.

“They understand this development and believe this is something Kubiak will look into if offered anything,” Rapoport wrote Nov. 18.

Last November, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora broke the news that Kubiak was open to resurfacing as a play-caller, a duty he held on three separate occasions — twice with the Broncos (1995-2002, 2003-05), once with the Ravens (2014).

In January, La Canfora followed up on his report, claiming that Elway promoted Kubiak to an “enlarged” front office role this year because NFL teams had started to come calling.

While Kubiak’s return wouldn’t necessarily shock those in the Broncos’ orbit, Joseph surviving through 2019 would qualify as a major about-face that Elway is unlikely to bear for a second straight January.


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