Hours before the Broncos arrived at Sports Authority Field for the finale to a forgettable season, a fresh report was posted on the future of their head coach. Vance Joseph faced "longer odds" to return, according to ESPN, adding to weeks of speculation about his fate after the season's end.

By the evening, the Broncos had tumbled to 5-11 after a loss to the Chiefs, and watched their season come to a nail-biting close with mostly backups on the field. Joseph didn't get a defiant win that might quell doubts about his future with the team. He didn't watch another blowout loss, either.

But afterward, he did state his desire to return "to fix it."

"I'm going to visit with John (Elway) probably tonight or tomorrow," Joseph said. "I want to be here. It's a football team that's close. We've got to obviously make some adjustments in some places. But our football team all year has not stopped working. That was fun to see tonight. It's been a hard year, but everyone kept fighting. I want to be here to fix it."

Asked if expects to be back for a second season, Joseph said, "I do. Absolutely." Asked if he's been told either way about his job status, Joseph said he hadn't.

The Broncos had not made a decision on their coach by Sunday evening and Joseph indeed is expected to meet with Elway, the team's general manager, on Monday morning. (Elway will stay in Colorado instead of traveling to California for the Rose Bowl to see quarterback prospect Baker Mayfield.)


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In the next 24 hours, the NFL's coaching carousel will continue to spin with many veteran coaches being shown the door. Jack Del Rio, the Broncos' former defensive coordinator, was booted by Oakland on Sunday, and Chuck Pagano, the Boulder native and Colts coach, bid his team farewell.

Joseph hopes his name isn't the next one to float across the sports news ticker.

Many of his players hope so, too.

"We stand with Vance. You think any of us would have gone out there and played (hard) if we didn't stand with Vance?" defensive end Shelby Harris said. "This isn't his fault. This is specifically on the players. It's on us, it's on the leaders, it's on everyone that should've gotten this together a long time ago. We didn't and that's on us. Nothing they called, nothing would have changed anything. We have to go out and execute. You don't like the call? Whatever, you still have to go out and execute.

"Vance has done everything to put us in a position to win, and we did that to ourselves. So Vance shouldn't be punished for that."

Nose tackle Domata Peko said players "could hear a pin drop" when Joseph addressed the team after Sunday's loss.

"Everyone loves coach and has his back," Peko said. "We're really pushing for him to be our coach next year. We've just got to fix stuff, man. We've got to do a better job of helping him out."

The Broncos had their first losing season since 2010 and failed to make the playoffs for a second consecutive year as starting quarterbacks were rotated, an offensive coordinator was fired and the scheme was changed again and again. The consistency the Broncos experienced for four seasons with Peyton Manning at quarterback was long gone and in its place was a recent history of change — coaching changes, quarterback changes, offensive line changes and new reputation for cutting ties coldly and quickly.

The Broncos have never had a one-and-done coach under owner Pat Bowlen's watch, but should they decide to move on from Joseph, it'll be their fourth swap since 2011. The move will send them into another offseason search of not just finding help at key positions on the field, but also another coaching staff. And it'll come at a tremendous cost as the Broncos will have to foot the bill of most of two coaching staffs (Joseph signed a four-year contract). Though the money does not count against their salary cap, it does take away from money that could go toward rebuilding the product on the field.

But the frustration had been mounting for weeks in the Broncos' locker room and the disappointment shared by all, especially those in the highest positions, who were miffed at not just the losses, but how the Broncos lost.

While many within the Broncos organization are expecting "drastic" changes of some kind, Joseph's fate will soon have clarity.

"Everybody is wondering that," cornerback Chris Harris said of the team's impending moves. "Nobody is safe and we all have to figure out what happened here and see what direction we want to go in as players and see what the next step is."