Possible Head Coach Candidates for the Denver Broncos

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The Broncos finally made the move they needed to make weeks ago. They sacked now ex-manager Nathaniel Hackett today, which ended his tenure with the team which was full of disappointments. He doesn’t even make it to a full season, only lasts 15 games with the team, and seems to have lost control of his roster during the Christmas Day massacre we witnessed yesterday.

Now the Broncos will enter the head coach hunt once again, a year later. However, this time around, instead of being led primarily by GM George Paton and Joe Ellis, the coaching quest will go ahead with new owner and CEO Greg Penner leading the quest with his group of people. So we’ll see what they decide to do going forward.

With all of that said, I’m going to rule out some potential candidates that we could see in the Broncos interview in the coming days and weeks. No names have actually leaked, so I’m just giving you a few potential candidates to watch.

The realistic candidates

It looks like the Broncos will be looking for a candidate with experience, but that search hasn’t even started yet, so we’re not sure what they want yet. However, it is currently a safe bet that they will be looking for a candidate with head coaching experience.

Dallas Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn: Last year, before the Broncos drafted Hackett, Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn looked like the frontrunner for the head coaching job. However, he decided to drop his name from the shows and move back to Dallas and pursue a ring with them (which he might get this year). Now, with Hackett out, will Quinn return to being the Broncos’ top pick?

With owner and CEO Greg Penner and his group of people spearheading this head coaching quest, the candidates Paton favored or had ties to may not make as much sense. Quinn will likely be among the top candidates available, so he shouldn’t be ignored, but he might not be as likely as he was a year ago.

Quinn would bring in a veteran coach with head coaching experience, which includes a Super Bowl appearance. He could help with the Broncos’ culture and bring some stability to that locker room. No more hugging, resting players at camp and pre-season, and the “new era approach” has failed

Old Indianapolis Colts Head coach, Frank Reich: The Colts surprisingly fired Frank Reich and replaced him with Jeff Saturday. He’s had his problems at Indy, but he’s had the Colts play well with an old Phillip Rivers and Carson Wentz in the past. He is known for what he did in Philadelphia with Nick Foles during their Super Bowl run and would bring some stability and experience to the Broncos offense.

He has ties to Peyton Manning, who is a consultant to the new ownership group, which should also help his case. He’s not the sexiest option, but his Colts teams were competitive. He could also keep Ejiro Evero as defensive coordinator while he focuses on building an offensive team to fix the Broncos’ offense.

I think Reich will be the most logical candidate for the Broncos this off-season. He looks more assured, has experience, ties to Manning, and would hopefully help fix the Broncos’ broken offense.

Head Coach Options for the first time

While I think an experienced candidate will likely be the choice, I don’t think they should ignore these first-time head coach candidates. Just hire the best candidate.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans: He will likely be one of the best rookie coaches available this offseason. The former NFL linebacker has the 49ers defense playing like the best defense in the league and a big reason why this team looks like a Super Bowl contender,

What his defense does on the field is enough to make him an intriguing contender, but being part of Kyle Shanahan’s training tree is also a plus for him. Teams that hired from their manager tree were very pleased with the results.

With all that said, I think if the Broncos are going to hire a head coach with a defensive spirit, why wouldn’t they just hire the one they currently have in the building?

Philadelphia Eagles Offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen: The Eagles caller is among the hottest offensive minds in the game and the brains behind the Eagles offense. What he did for quarterback Jalen Hurts, who went from “first quarterback” to an MVP favorite, cannot be ignored. His offense is a high-scoring unit that still played well with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew at center as well.

The more I read about this guy, the more I want him to be the next Broncos coach.

I understand why many want an experienced head coach, but brilliant offensive minds like this cannot be ignored. He would add life to this Broncos offense, hopefully be able to fix Russell Wilson or build an offense around whoever replaces him at center.

He is among the coaches said to be on the initial Broncos coaching roster, so we’ll see if an interview takes place in the coming weeks. The Broncos are looking to fix his offense and he looks like the guy who could do just that.

Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon: The Broncos interviewed Gannon last year and he was also a finalist for the Texans job last year. He wasn’t signed last year and the Eagles are happy about that. He is the architect behind the Eagles defense, which ranks near the top in most defensive metrics and has a defense that can consistently chase the passer.

Now, the Broncos decided not to draft him last year and he wasn’t even among the finalists, but he’s expected to do his interviews again this offseason. So will the Broncos show any interest once again this season?

Kansas City Chiefs Offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy: Bieniemy was a top candidate in previous years but has yet to be signed. He was interviewed last year for the Broncos job, but ultimately wasn’t shortlisted for the job and wasn’t hired.

He mentioned it on the initial candidate list, but the fact that he went through multiple hiring cycles and wasn’t hired is a red flag for me. Plus, he’s not a caller and has some past issues off the field that will make it difficult for him to sign in Denver. We’ll see if this is the year he gets hired for the head coaching job or if he stays in Kansas City.

detroit lions Offensive coordinator, Ben Johnson: Probably the most surprising candidate on the list, but it’s worth it. Johnson turned the Lions’ ridicule into one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. Goff looks like the Rams, and the new Lions are playoff contenders

His inexperience is concerning and he may be a year or more away from landing a job, but I would expect him to have a few interviews this hiring cycle. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos were one of them.

denver broncos Defensive Coordinator, Ejiro Evero: It looks like the current Broncos defensive tackle will be a hot prospect in the league, so why shouldn’t the Broncos be interested?

He had the Broncos’ defense play at a high level this season despite multiple injuries and would earn the respect of the locker room. However, his lack of experience could prevent the Broncos from making the move and hope he will simply come back as defensive coordinator. Furthermore, his choice of offensive coordinator would be paramount when it comes to his chances of landing the Broncos job.

New York Giants Offensive coordinator, Mike Kafka: The former NFL quarterback who learned his trade from Andy Reid joined Brian Daboll with the New York Giants last offseason. Daboll handed over the game call functions to him and the results were pretty good all things considered.

Daniel Jones is the quarterback, Saquon Barkley is the lone playmaker, the receivers are a mish mash bunch, and he has a rookie tight end. However, this team is in the middle of the NFC playoffs and it has been getting results from this entire group. While he might not be the sexiest prospect, he might just be the coach here who made the most of the least last season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see you land an interview or two this hiring cycle.

buffalo bills Offensive coordinator, Ken Dorsey: Dorsey replaced Daboll in Buffalo as the player of the play behind the Buffalo Bills’ high-octane offense. That team didn’t miss a beat under their call to play and, despite a huge explosion in the training area, it was a solid display by the player who started the game for the first time.

Normally, coordinators for top NFL teams get interviews during the hiring cycle, and Brian Daboll’s success could help him land some this cycle. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dorsey get a shot at the Broncos’ job this offseason.

The unlikely but exciting options

These options are the most popular among fans, but are unlikely in reality… but not impossible. Keep those potentially false hopes alive in Broncos Country!

Former Saints coach Sean Payton: Probably this offseason’s prize when it comes to training candidates. The future Hall of Fame coach “retired” last year, but looks to be returning to the coaching ranks next year. The Saints still own his rights, so any interested team would need to trade him, but it looks like he’s available.

The offensive mentor would be perfect for Denver, but it seems unlikely. Rumor has it he wants Los Angeles (they just secured a playoff berth, so it seems unlikely they’d fire their head coach) and wants former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio as his defensive coordinator. Both of those things probably keep him out of Denver, but things could change.

The real x-factor here is the ownership of the Broncos, which can offer stupid money for a coach. We don’t know if they’re willing to go down those paths yet, but they have the wealth to make anyone seriously consider this job, despite the downsides.

Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh: He’s currently being paid well to do his dream job and field a very competitive team that plays for the national championship year after year, but could he return to the NFL?

It seems unlikely, and he’s turned down chances in the past, but could Denver knock him out of the college ranks? Realistically, it’s probably unlikely, but then again, Walton’s money is the x factor here.

It looks like he’ll end up in the NFL once again at some point, but when and with whom is the big question. A contract offer that would make him one of the highest paid coaches in the NFL could do just that.


Who do you want to be the next Broncos coach?

  • 12%

    Dallas DC Dan Quinn

    (210 votes)

  • 14%

    Former Colts HC Frank Reich

    (229 votes)

  • two%

    49ers DC DeMeco Ryans

    (34 votes)

  • 18%

    Eagles OC Shane Steichen

    (300 votes)

  • 0%

    Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon

    (1 vote)

  • 4%

    Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy:

    (77 votes)

  • 0%

    Lions OC Ben Johnson

    (7 votes)

  • two%

    Broncos DC Ejiro Evero

    (41 votes)

  • 0%

    Giants OC Mike Kafka

    (8 votes)

  • 1%

    Bills OC Ken Dorsey

    (19 votes)

  • 26%

    Retired Saints HC Sean Payton

    (431 votes)

  • 13%

    Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh

    (224 votes)

  • two%

    Other (name in comments)

    (36 votes)

1617 votes total

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