How long is Vance Joseph's leash following a 5-11 first season with the Broncos? Our roundtable takes a look at which AFC West players, coaches or general managers are on the hot seat.
Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos reporter: Jon Gruden negotiated a 10-year, $100 million deal directly with Raiders owner Mark Davis, which puts general manager Reggie McKenzie on the hot seat, especially if things don't go swimmingly in the coming season with a move to Las Vegas on the horizon. But the hottest seat in the division likely belongs to Broncos coach Vance Joseph. The Broncos finished a dismal 5-11 last season in Joseph's first as coach, a cumbersome slog through the football year that included an eight-game losing streak and three different starting quarterbacks. Joseph fired seven assistant coaches from his inaugural staff and the team signed quarterback Case Keenum during an offseason makeover. General manager John Elway has said the blame for last season should be shared on all fronts -- players, coaches and the personnel department. Elway vowed early in the offseason to give Joseph what he would need to succeed. Joseph will have to continue to garner the support of the players, as he has to this point, and the team will have to come out of the gate well. Elway has made it no secret the team needs to return to the playoff conversation sooner rather than later.
Eric Williams, Los Angeles Chargers reporter: Vance Joseph had to fire his offensive coordinator in Mike McCoy midway through last season, and he almost lost his job after just one season. With pressure mounting for the Broncos to take advantage of an aging roster with a Super Bowl pedigree, Joseph could be one of the first coaches fired in 2018 if head personnel man John Elway does not see the results he wants. The Broncos labored through an eight-game losing streak last season, finishing last in the AFC West for the first time since 2010. Elway brought back former head coach and good friend Gary Kubiak as senior personnel advisor in July of last year and then expanded his role to include personnel contribution in the lead-up to free agency and the draft. Kubiak bowed out as the team's head coach after the 2016 season due to health issues, but he could be tempted to return if his old job opens up again.
Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs reporter: The Raiders gave a big contract to quarterback Derek Carr and he responded with his worst season since his rookie year in 2014. Now the Raiders have given him another present, this one in the form of a coach. Jon Gruden has the reputation of being something of a quarterback guru. If he can't get Carr turned back the right way, it's reasonable to wonder which Carr is the real one: the guy who put up MVP-like numbers in 2016 or the one who posted a passer rating of less than 75 in six of his 15 games last season. In that sense, it's a pivotal season for Carr.
Paul Gutierrez, Oakland Raiders reporter: To say someone is on a hot seat is to infer their job in in trouble, right? Well, Jon Gruden, who just signed a 10-year contract worth a reported $100 million to coach the Raiders, has all the job security in the world. Same goes for Broncos czar John Elway, who is essentially his own boss and isn't about to fire himself, despite having a hard time finding a quarterback post-Peyton Manning. And still, the lights will be brightest on "Chucky" as Gruden returns to the sidelines for the first time since 2008. Critics say the game has passed him by. Supporters say he is uniquely qualified, given all the film work and access he had in nine years working the booth for ESPN's Monday Night Football. The answer is somewhere in the middle. And hey, with all that job security, perhaps it is Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie's seat warming up, a year after he was the NFL executive of the year. Wacky times in the streets of Silver and Blackdom.