While the Denver Broncos are dead set on hiring their next head coach, something that is expected to happen this week, several assistant coaches from the previous regime should receive consideration to return in 2023.

Denver Broncos assistant coaches who should receive consideration

While the Denver Broncos are moving on from the Nathaniel Hackett era in less than a year since they initially hired him, several of his assistant coaches were strongholds for the team and should receive consideration to return.

Christian Parker – Defensive Backs
Christian Parker under the next Broncos head coach should be priority number one in terms of returning to coach in 2023. Parker was hired in 2021 as a rising name in the coaching ranks around league circles. Throughout his tenure coaching the Broncos’ secondary, Denver’s secondary has been one of the NFL’s best. In 2022, the Denver defense finished 12th in the NFL in net passing yards allowed (210.2), 10th in interceptions (15), 2nd in 3rd down conversion percentage (34.1%), and 7th in the red zone (51.1%).

After talking to various players, Parker is as good as they come from a teaching standpoint. Technique and fundamentals. As cliche as it may sound, this is why the Broncos secondary saw success this past season with All-Pro’s Justin Simmons, Patrick Surtain, the emergence of Damarri Mathis, the strong play from K’Waun Williams, and Caden Sterns prior to him going on injured reserve.

Not only does Parker excel as a teacher and coach, he also has the trust and ears of the players he works with alongside assistant coach Ola Adams. One important key for the next Broncos coach is simple, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Also, Parker’s name is generating a lot of traction amongst league circles as a potential future defensive coordinator.

Bert Watts – Outside Linebackers
Bert Watts is one of the youngest coaches on the Broncos staff from an experience standpoint. 2023 will be his third season coaching in the league, but he made a difference with Denver’s outside linebackers this past season. Collectively, the Broncos’ defense finished 23rd in the league in sacks (36) many of which could be attributed to the trading of Bradley Chubb, and injuries to Randy Gregory, Baron Browning, and Jacob Martin.

Many may look to where the Broncos finished in the sack department defensively to justify moving on from Watts, but this situation is a strong example where you value the process over the results with all external circumstances factoring into this consideration. It’s not always about having longer experience in the NFL when you have coaches who excel as great leaders, communicators, and teachers of fundamentals, something Watts does well this early on in his career.

Marcus Dixon – Defensive Line
Marcus Dixon’s first season as a member of the Denver Broncos coaching staff is one of the most impressive notes from 2022. Coming over from the Los Angeles Rams with defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Dixon oversaw the NFL’s “Dark Side” defensive line unit featuring Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, D.J. Jones, and others.

Dixon’s presence as a coach immediately set the tone for the players inside of that position room. Young enough to relate to players, and respected enough to have tough conversations, Dixon was a bright spot on the Broncos coaching staff last season. On top of that, Denver’s defense anchored by the players on the defensive line finished 6th in the NFL in yards per play (5.0), 7th in net yards per game (320.0), and 10th against the run (109.8).

Having been an assistant coach with the Rams prior to his time in Denver, Dixon has coached premier talent like Aaron Donald and more recently Dre’Mont Jones and D.J. Jones. Whoever the next head coach of the Broncos is would be wise to retain Dixon.

Peter Hansen – Linebackers
The Denver Broncos inside linebacker group saw a significant boost this past season with Josey Jewell, Alex Singleton, and Jonas Griffith. Peter Hansen was hired last off-season with extensive experience coaching and working with the linebacker position. Before joining the Broncos, Hansen was the defensive coordinator and linebacker coach for UNLV.

Prior to that, he spent time as a coach for Stanford where he helped coach various future NFL linebackers. He also spent three seasons as a coaching assistant for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2013 where the team made three consecutive NFC Championship appearances and one Super Bowl appearance.

With players like Jewell and Singleton coming off of career high years, it’s important that the next head coach considers retaining Hansen on staff. One thing to consider is that Hansen could garner interest from various teams around the NFL and college ranks.

Broncos offensive coaches?
While the Denver Broncos offense struggled mightily last season, there are various coaches whose status with the team are up in the air going into 2023 pending the hire of a new head coach. Passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak, who also held playcalling responsibility for a portion of the season has interest from other NFL teams including an interview with the New York Jets on Sunday for their vacant offensive coordinator position.

Offensive coordinator Justin Outten capped off an impressive two-game stretch as the Broncos play-caller where the offense scored more points in those two games, than the Broncos did in their first five games under Nathaniel Hackett. The Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans have each requested to interview Outten for their open coordinator jobs. Because the interview is for the same position he already holds, Denver can block him from interviewing with those teams.

The next Broncos head coach will have to decide on the statuses of assistant coaches Zach Azzanni (WR), Tyrone Wheatley (RB), Jake Moreland (TE), and several other assistants.