Why the Broncos will need to act fast on head coaching candidates

Why the Broncos will need to act fast on head coaching candidates
Posted at 1:33 PM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 15:33:44-05

DENVER -- The Broncos’ head-coaching job could be settled by Tuesday afternoon.

If the Broncos are intent on hiring Vance Joseph, as some media minions in Denver claim, they can’t let him go interview elsewhere.

They’ll have to hire him immediately. Otherwise, Joseph will go off to the West Coast to interview with the Rams, the 49ers and perhaps the Chargers to find out what they have to offer.

But, does the Broncos’ brain trust of John Elway (foremost), Joe Ellis, Matt Russell and Patrick Smyth debate, discuss and delay?

Or decide now?

Assuming the Broncos’ meeting with Joseph’s in some undisclosed location goes extremely well – and it should considering that Elway was gob smacked by the former CU quarterback two years in their talks – the choice will be Vance Joseph vs. Kyle Shanahan.

If the Broncos wait, Shanahan and/or Joseph might opt to take another job.

As my friend Dick DeGette always said, “Don’t trade a sure thing for romance.’’

If Joseph heads to San Francisco and impresses silly owner Jeb York and is given more power, more money and more latitude to hire coaches and have a say in naming the general manager, perhaps he accepts that challenge – if the hiring is Thursday.

If Shanahan believes the rumors hereabouts that Joseph “is far and away the leading candidate’’, as one radio talk show spouts over and over, for the Broncos’ top coaching position, he might just think on Monday after the Falcons’ playoff game: “I’m taking the sure thing – the Rams.’’

Can’t imagine either of them wanting to end up in Jacksonville or Buffalo or with the uncertainty in San Diego.

This much we do know for sure:  Denver is the desired destination for both Shanahan. They have strong Colorado connections. They know that the Broncos’ franchise is a first-class organization with facilities, personnel, historical success (eight Super Bowl appearances, three World Championships). They understand that the Broncos have a top five defense in place. The Broncos have John Elway, one of the biggest names in football and one of the best ex-players and current general manager. There is a great stadium, a fanatical following, a special home-field advantage because of the altitude and, of course, Denver and Colorado. What’s not to like?

Shanahan wants to come home with his family – a wife he went to high school with at Cherry Creek (and who graduated from CU) and grandparents here for the couple’s three kids. Joseph wants to come back to where he played and coached in Boulder, to friends and to an environment he always enjoyed.

Buffalo? Denver? California? Colorado?  The Jaguars? The Broncos?


Problem on the Broncos side could be haste makes waste, moving so quickly with so much on the line, personality and personnel, leadership and longevity.

And offense vs. defense?

Would Joseph keep the Broncos on top defensively while picking the right offensive coordinator (Mike McCoy) to get the Broncos back to being a well-focused machine on that side of the ball?  Would Shanahan be another Josh McDaniels, brilliant but abrasive? Who can get along with the players and make sure another divided locker room doesn’t develop?

If Elway announces on Wednesday that the Broncos have hired Joseph, does he have to admit: “”Well, despite the 65 points the Miami defense gave up in the final two games, and despite the fact that the Dolphins were one of the worst NFL teams statistically, we feel Vance can be one of the premier head coaches in the league.’’

Already, unscientific surveys I’ve seen show that the overwhelming majority of respondents prefer Shanahan.

But, as we found out in the presidential election, polls really don’t mean much.

What if Elway signs Joseph, and Atlanta puts up a 35-spot offensively against the Seahawks. After all, the Falcons have averaged 2013 Manning numbers this year at 33.8 points a game.  What if the Falcons win the Super Bowl because of their offense?

Does it look good that you selected a first-round blowout coach, with one year as a coordinator, over a nine-year coordinator who goes deep on the field and in the postseason?

If Joseph is not proclaimed coach by Wednesday, then the Broncos must be titling toward Shanahan.

Despite what Kermit the Frog sings, it’s harder being orange than green.


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