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Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos walks on the field before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
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Pritchard: Firing Vance Joseph after turnaround would be ‘terrible mistake’

“Stokley and Zach” made the case for Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph to be a legitimate NFL Coach of the Year candidate on Thursday. But could the second-year head coach’s job still be in jeopardy even if he earns a winning record this season?

On Friday, “Pritchard and Cecil” co-host Mike Pritchard said if the Broncos dismiss Joseph at the end of this season, it would only be to “appease somebody.”

“If the Broncos fire Vance Joseph with a winning record, that’s to appease somebody, to make somebody happy,” Pritchard said. “Is it the fans? Is it somebody in the front office? Whoever. That would be the reasoning behind it.”

AUDIO: For more from “Pritchard and Cecil” on Vance Joseph, head to the 2:44 mark of the audio above

Joseph has found himself on the hot seat at various points during his tenure as the Broncos head coach — sometimes hotter than other times — but after the turnaround, the team has made just in the second half of the 2018 season it would be a “mistake” to fire the coach, Pritchard said.

“If you evaluate it, there’s been a turnaround. If you evaluate it, there’s been a development of young players. If you evaluate it, these guys are bought in. They’re not checked out like Jacksonville,” Pritchard said. “… You don’t see that from the Broncos. You see a lot of young players fighting and hungry. So, to break all that up, I think that would be a terrible mistake.”

Pritchard pointed to that turnaround as support for Joseph being a legitimate candidate for NFL Coach of the Year, saying it mimics the turnaround conducted by 2017 award winner Sean McVay.

McVay took over a Los Angeles Rams team that went 4-12 the previous season and turned them into an 11-5, playoff-bound squad in 2017.

“Last year, the turnaround to their record to where they were a playoff team, that was the story and the reason why McVay won coach of the year,” Pritchard said.

Pritchard’s co-host, Cecil Lammey, gave kudos to Joseph on the job he’s done with the Broncos as of late but said even running the table and making the playoffs wouldn’t earn him coach of the year.

“I’m here to tell you that it’s just not going to happen,” Lammey said. “It’s just not going to happen. If the Broncos do make that run, if they do win seven in a row, if they do make that postseason, which we all want them to, it still doesn’t mean accolades for this head coach.”

Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.