The Denver Broncos’ next head coach shouldn’t be hired simply because they have prior head coaching experience, but because they’re the right person to lead a team in all three facets of the operation.

The Denver Broncos’ next head coach doesn’t need prior experience to be the right choice

For the last three coaching cycles, the Denver Broncos have taken the path of hiring first-year head coaches to help restore the winning tradition previously established under Pat Bowlen’s ownership. The Walton-Penner Family Ownership group is set on restoring that winning tradition, but they themselves don’t believe that prior experience is the be-all, end-all, and they’re correct.

Previous head coaching experience doesn’t guarantee success
Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio, and Nathaniel Hackett all have something in common. They were first-time head coaches for the Denver Broncos and were all fired after failing to produce winning results. This outcome has turned off many Broncos fans, and understandably so. However, the Broncos don’t need somebody who specializes in calling plays on either offense or defense; they need somebody who will lead every facet of the operation.

None of the last three head coaches – Joseph, Fangio, and Hackett – possessed the CEO style of coaching. As witnessed with various NFL teams, the playcalling head coaches are starting to dwindle in popularity. Brian Daboll, the first-year head coach for the New York Giants, and considered to be the architect for Josh Allen’s meteoric rise, managed every facet of the team, but didn’t call plays in 2022. The Giants made it to the post-season under him.

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has even considered handing over playcalling to focus on the entire operation. While hesitancy ramps up in the eyes of fans about another potential first-year head coach like DeMeco Ryans, Denver’s previous first-year head coaches all specialized in calling plays on one side of the ball, which allowed other organizational aspects they were responsible for to fall to the wayside.

At some point, every head coach in the NFL was a first-time head coach, including San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who Broncos fans regret missing out on to this day. Ryans could very well be the next big thing as a first-year head coach because of his leadership ability, and experience not only as a coach, but a former NFL player.

“I think it starts as a man,” Kyle Shanahan said this week, regarding Ryans. “He’s the ideal leader with whatever he does; he was that way when he came in to Houston as a rookie linebacker. He took over that defense right away. You could tell who was in charge when he was a 21-year old. He came in here as a quality control [coach] and within like, six months, we moved him to linebacker coach, and he’s always been that guy [at that position], and then just watching him over these two years [and] what he took in his years learning to get there, how much better he runs the system – and then he adjusts every week. He sees how to play an offense, he pays attention to offense and defense. I thought he was ready last year to be a head coach – and I hope his wife doesn’t get mad – but I hope he’s not a head coach next year. But if he is, he more than deserves it.”

New developments with Dan Quinn, Sean Payton

With Dan Quinn removing himself from the head coaching carousel, it will be interesting to see who the Broncos’ finalists are. Sean Payton, on the other hand, appears to be alienating and devaluing his market around the league, and in Denver, with rumblings indicating that he wouldn’t want to get into a power struggle with Broncos ownership.

With Payton’s market dissipating, the presumed remaining candidates for the Broncos’ job appear to be DeMeco Ryans, Jim Caldwell, and David Shaw, and it would come as very little shock if Jim Harbaugh suddenly resurfaces, despite his stated intention to return to Michigan as its head coach.