By Arnie Stapleton, AP pro football writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Not even a year ago they were riding firetrucks through downtown Denver with the players to celebrate their Super Bowl victory. Now, the Broncos’ coaching staff is undergoing a major overhaul.
New coach Vance Joseph hired Mike McCoy as his offensive coordinator and Bill Musgrave as his quarterbacks coach on Friday. The defending champs will also be getting new defensive and special teams coordinators.
McCoy, the former Chargers head coach, is everything Joseph said he wanted in his offensive play-caller: creative, energetic, seasoned.
“Mike is an experienced play-caller who can build a system around our players,” Joseph said. “It was our goal to find an offensive coordinator who has flexibility with his scheme and Mike has done that as both a head coach and coordinator. He’s had a lot of success in this league with many different styles of offense, including here with the Broncos.”
McCoy, who was Denver’s offensive coordinator from 2009-12, replaces Rick Dennison, whose offense struggled over the last two years under four different quarterbacks.
During his first stint in Denver, McCoy molded an offense around Tim Tebow in 2011 that led to an improbable victory over Pittsburgh in the playoffs. The following season he helped Peyton Manning earn Comeback Player of the Year, an award he then helped Philip Rivers win in 2013 as Chargers head coach.
Now, McCoy and Musgrave will mold young quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.
Musgrave spent the last two seasons working with Derek Carr as Oakland’s offensive coordinator. He replaces Greg Knapp. Musgrave has two decades of experience as a QB coach or offensive coordinator in the NFL after spending six seasons with the 49ers and Broncos backing up Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway, Steve Young and Joe Montana.
The Broncos, who missed the playoffs after slipping to 9-7 in 2016, find themselves in the unusual position of remaking their staff less than a year after winning it all. They fired Dennison, Knapp, O-line coach Clancy Barone and tight ends coach Brian Pariani.
General manager John Elway hired Joseph after Gary Kubiak’s abrupt resignation last week.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is joining the Los Angeles Rams under new coach Sean McVay, who almost 40 years younger than Phillips, 69. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday.
Phillips tweeted goodbye to Denver on Friday, saying: “Thanks to John for bringing me, the greatest staff, to Gary our leader, to the best players ever and to the greatest fans. I will miss you.”
With Phillips leaving, the focus shifts to Joe Woods, who spent the last two seasons coaching Denver’s “No Fly Zone” secondary that produced the No. 1 pass defense each year.
Unlike Elway’s first two hires, John Fox and Kubiak, who had head coaching experience when they arrived, the 44-year-old Joseph is a first-time head coach. He has just one year of experience as defensive coordinator, last year in Miami, and Elway said he will have to “grow on the run.”
So, Elway is giving more advice this time around as his head coach hires his staff, and will likely stay more involved going forward.
“I hope I can help him,” Elway said. “With the experience that I’ve had, not only as a player but now in this role I’ve been in as GM, I’m hoping to help him tremendously. Vance knows what he wants on offense on his staff and as well as offensively. I can give input. Ultimately it is Vance’s staff.”
Joseph inherits a defense that features All Pros Von Miller, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. but struggled against the run after losing Malik Jackson to free agency and Vance Walker to a knee injury.
The Broncos finished 27th in the NFL on offense in 2016 when an inability to solve slow starts, leaky line play and poor production in the receiving game outside of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined to neutralize the team’s defensive strengths.