After just two seasons at the helm in Denver, Gary Kubiak announced his retirement on Monday, due to health issues. Now, the Denver Broncos are officially on the hunt for a new head coach.
Back in 2013, while coaching the Houston Texans, Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke. And then this season, after a Week 5 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Kubiak was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a complex migraine.
Kubiak may not have been the head coach in Denver for very long, but he did still leave some sizable shows to fill. In two seasons, he compiled a 24-11 overall record, and managed to win Super Bowl 50.
And while we all know that the Kyle Shanahans and Vance Josephs of the world might be the leading candidates for the open position, we also know that they are going to be in demand by a number of teams. And while Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels might be a leading candidate in 31 other cities, he won’t be considered here. And of course, former San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy spent some productive years in Denver.
But are there any other candidates that could be out there, that might be lurking a little below everyone’s radar?
Here are five that we think could merit some consideration:
Anthony Lynn, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator
He’s probably going to end up being the head coach for the Buffalo Bills, but if things fall through there, I suppose he could be on the list.
The Broncos have struggled to run the football, and Lynn’s “ground and pound” scheme has been one of the best in the league. For the second season in a row, the Bills offense was the top rushing offense in the NFL this year, churning out over 160 yards per game on the ground.
Lynn even has some history with the Broncos. He did finish his playing career in Denver, and his first assistant coaching job was on the coaching staff.
Scott Linehan, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator
Another coach that would try to instill a run-first philosophy could be Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. While he struggled in his head coaching debut with the St Louis Rams, he has responded by cooking up top ten offenses in both Detroit and Dallas.
This season, his offense in Dallas is putting up over 26 points per game with rookie Dak Prescott at the controls. Linehan could be a candidate that could improve the Broncos current youthful quarterback situation.
Tom Coughlin, former head coach
Okay, don’t laugh.
Coughlin has won at the highest level in the NFL, and has said that he desperately wants to get back into coaching. While he is 70 years old, he does have some experience with coaching up a physical defense and getting enough out of his offense to win.
Also, if nothing else, he does know how to beat the New England Patriots. So, there’s that.
Mike Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator
Mike Smith was 66-46 as the head man in Atlanta, and he did get the Falcons to the playoffs four times in his tenure. As the defensive coordinator, this season in Tampa, he improved their young group into a respectable unit.
The Buccaneers forced 29 turnovers this season, and they don’t have anywhere near the talent that this Broncos defense brings to the table.
Smith might not be as big of a name as some candidates that are out there, but he could be a decent fit.
Bill Musgrave, Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator
Not only has Musgrave been the guy that had quarterback Derek Carr playing at an incredibly high level, but he does have a number of ties to Denver. A native of Grand Junction, Colorado, Musgrave played for the Broncos in 1995 to 1996, as a backup to John Elway.
This year under Musgrave, the Oakland offense was putting up over 370 yards and 26 points per game.
I do seem to remember another coach that ended up with the Broncos after he had spent some time in Oakland. That worked out pretty well.