Pagano to Chicago opens door for Donatell in Denver at DC

Ed Donatell in San Francisco in 2014. Credit: Joe Nicholson, USA TODAY Sports.
Ed Donatell in San Francisco in 2014. Credit: Joe Nicholson, USA TODAY Sports.

Denver’s coaching staff is quickly coming together in these early days of 2019.

Vic Fangio was introduced to the media as the Broncos 17th head coach on Thursday, and yesterday, Gary Kubiak went from the lock at offensive coordinator to just another former coach. Who could be the next offensive coordinator for the Broncos? We took a look at some of the best candidates out there.

Fangio has quickly taken the reigns of the Broncos, deciding he didn’t like the scheme of Kubiak’s offense — nor the would-be assistant coaches — and now he’s making the choice for next defensive coordinator in the Mile High City.

But, along with being the Broncos head man, Fangio will also be calling the plays for the Broncos on the defensive side of the ball, meaning whoever their next defensive coordinator will be will have to be OK with holding the title without the normal responsibilities.

On Friday, the Chicago Bears interviewed both Ed Donatell and Chuck Pagano as their next defensive coordinator, with Pagano being hired. Most recently, Donatell has been the defensive backs coach in Chi-town, but he’s been a defensive assistant to Fangio since 2011.

Donatell has also been a defensive coordinator twice before, with the Green Bay Packers (2000-03) and Atlanta Falcons (2004-06), so he already has experience leading a defense, which is valuable, of course. During those seven seasons, Donatell’s defenses allowed an average of 19.9 points per game, with his best unit being the Packers’ 2001 defense which ranked fifth-best in the NFL by allowing only 16.6 points per contest.

Since Fangio was hired by the Broncos, Donatell has been the most commonly mentioned name as the team’s next defensive coordinator, and after being passed over by the Bears on Friday for Pagano, it only seems more likely we’ll see Fangio’s long-time coworker in the other orange and blue soon.

Plus, Donatell has been with the Broncos before, from 1995-99 and then again in 2010 as the secondary coach.

More Broncos assistant coaching notes

Part of the reason Kubiak wasn’t hired back on as offensive coordinator was because he wanted to bring back his old buddy Rick Dennison as the offensive line coach. Klint Kubiak was also possibly in line as the team’s quarterbacks’ coach, but that seems incredibly unlikely now.

Sean Kugler left the Broncos earlier this week, and it was rumored he would sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But, now it sounds like Kugler will become the next offensive line coach in Arizona for the Cardinals.

Meanwhile, Mike Munchak has become a possibility in Denver once again. He was a finalist for the Broncos head coaching job along with Fangio, but ultimately lost to Fangio. However, Denver is talking to him once again, this time, seeing if he would be willing to make a lateral move from Pittsburgh to the Broncos as offensive line coach. That, per Ian Rapoport.

Defensively, defensive line coach Bill Kollar and linebackers coach Reggie Herring are expected to be retained by the Broncos, per Mike Klis. Kollar’s been with the team since Jan. 2015 and has been credited with helping the line play much better against the run as well as helping coach up players like Adam Gotsis and Shelby Harris. Like Kollar, Herring’s an old-school coach who still has a ton of passion for the game and he’s also been with the team since 2015 and that Super Bowl 50 run.