Upon firing Vic Fangio and Pat Shurmur, the Denver Broncos have announced their desire to interview ten different candidates for their head coaching vacancy.
Who are those ten candidates and what could they potentially bring to the job? Let’s take a look.
Dan Quinn, Defensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys
Based on his past relationship with George Paton, his strong leadership ability, past head coaching experience, and player-friendly style, Dan Quinn should be viewed as the heavy favorite in the clubhouse to become the Broncos’ next head coach.
In fact, because he’s the heavy favorite, Joey Richards has already taken a look at the prospective coach’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, and how they relate to Denver’s head coaching vacancy.
Nathaniel Hackett, Offensive Coordinator, Green Bay Packers
One of the most coveted offensive-minded coaches that the Broncos are looking at is Nathaniel Hackett, who has built quite the name for himself working as Aaron Rodgers’ play-caller the last several years.
That pre-existing relationship with Rodgers could explain some of Hackett’s appeal, but he’s also a brilliantly creative play-designer who knows how to adapt his scheme and his plays to maximize the unique talents he has been provided. Those traits of creativity and adaption are some characteristics Broncos Country has been starved of as of late.
Mile High Sports’ own J.T. Matthews has already taken a closer look at Nathaniel Hackett and his fit with the Broncos, in case you’re curious to learn more.
Kellen Moore, Offensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys
We just discussed the creativity of Nathaniel Hackett, but it’s safe to say that there isn’t a more creative and inventive mind presently working in the realm of football than the Cowboys’ young offensive svengali, Kellen Moore.
Moore is the type of young, innovative offensive mind that the rest of the league finds itself clamoring for presently. Moore’s lack of experience is a concern, but the Broncos could be handsomely rewarded for taking a big swing on the rising star.
Zach Segars took a deep dive into what Kellen Moore could bring to the Broncos offense, and his concerns as a prospective future coach, which you should make sure to check out.
Eric Bieniemy, Offensive Coordinator, Kansas City Chiefs
One of the trendiest names in recent head coaching searches has been Eric Bieniemy, who has overseen the explosive Chiefs offense for the entirety of Patrick Mahomes’ tenure with the team. However, despite taking many interviews, Bieniemy has yet to receive an offer to be a head coach, as concerns surrounding his past head coaching stint at the University of Colorado swirl.
Could he finally find his landing spot in Denver with the rival Broncos?
Jonathan Gannon, Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles
Easily the most puzzling inclusion of the Broncos’ interview candidates is inexperienced defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Gannon has very little experience in the league, as he’s only been a coordinator for one season, and the experience he does have is mildly disastrous.
In his only season coordinating a team’s defense, the defense finished among the league’s very worst defenses in DVOA, and Gannon was publically called out by the team’s best player and locker room leader, Fletcher Cox.
He should probably be given time to figure out how to be a good coordinator before he’s given the head coaching reigns.
Jerod Mayo, Inside Linebackers Coach, New England Patriots
Unlike Gannon, Jerod Mayo has a pretty exciting track record of success. However, similarly, to Gannon, he probably isn’t quite ready to be elevated all the way to the point of being a team’s head coach.
Mayo was an incredible linebacker for the Patriots, and while there, operated as the leader of their excellent defense. Following his playing career, he joined the Patriots as a linebacker coach, where he has worked for the past three years.
The future is super bright for Mayo, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him earn a defensive coordinator title this offseason. He’s a fast riser who is beloved by players. However, his lack of experience and the fact he’s only ever been a part of one NFL franchise, are legitimate concerns.
Kevin O’Connell, Offensive Coordinator, Los Angeles Rams
The latest young offensive coach tied to Sean McVay to garner head coaching buzz is Kevin O’Connell.
O’Connell spent some time in the NFL as a backup quarterback, but since transitioning to coaching in 2015, he has quickly shot through the ranks. He’s spent the last two seasons as McVay’s right-hand man in Los Angeles, and before that, worked as Washington’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Age and lack of experience are big question marks with O’Connell, but the McVay tree has already produced thriving NFL head coaches in Brandon Staley, Matt LaFleur and Zac Taylor, all of whom had questions about youth and experience when they were hired.
If you’re curious to find out more about Kevin O’Connell and what he could bring to the Denver Broncos franchise, this more in-depth look from Mile High Sports’ Zach Segars is a good starting point.
Aaron Glenn, Defensive Coordinator, Detroit Lions
After their terrible 2021 season, the idea of interviewing the defensive coordinator for the Lions might not get anyone fired up, but it should.
Aaron Glenn is a fast riser in the coaching world who is widely renowned for his leadership skills and the fiery energy he conducts his coaching business with. Glenn has only spent one year as a defensive coordinator, but in that season, got the Lions to improve from 2020 and play well above their talent level, despite losing key players to injury.
The fast-rising Lions coordinator reportedly has an ‘it’ factor that has made him an excellent leader and constructor of culture. Nicholas Manning took a look at that ‘it’ factor and what it might mean for the Broncos earlier this week.
Luke Getsy, Quarterbacks Coach, Green Bay Packers
Luke Getsy is presently being interviewed for the head coaching job, but if the Broncos were to hire Hackett, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Getsy follow as an offensive coordinator.
Getsy is another young, inexperienced offensive mind that has shown a lot of promise and is considered a fast riser in the league. He probably isn’t ready to be a head coach yet, but his pre-existing relationship with Aaron Rodgers should certainly be a draw for the Denver Broncos.
Brian Callahan, Offensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
Update. January 12th, 2022. 8:40 AM: It was reported Wednesday morning by Albert Breer of The MMQB that the Broncos had added Brian Callahan, who has overseen the Bengals’ remarkable offensive success of the 2021 season, to their interview pool.
Callahan has spent the last three seasons as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator, but before that, he spent six seasons (2010-2015) in Denver as an offensive assistant. Callahan is also the son of legendary offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who could potentially reunite with his son if Callahan got a head coaching gig.
The concerns with Callahan are the fact that Zac Taylor still calls the offensive plays despite being the head coach, so Callahan hasn’t experienced those responsibilities; and the offense in Cincinnati hasn’t been successful for much of his tenure prior to this season.
How much of the Bengals’ offensive success has been Callahan, and how much has been the outstanding glut of talent they have at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and even tight end?