The Denver Broncos are expected to start looking for a new coach on January 9, 2023.
While GM George Paton hired Nathaniel Hackett earlier this year, the team underperformed drastically. It’s going to be tough staying with Hackett as Denver sits 3-0 in the division with two games left against the Kansas City Chiefs and one against the Los Angeles Chargers.
With the Broncos practically winning, it would take a massive turnaround to see Hackett potentially keep his job. But even then, Paton will have a tough decision to make.
When Hackett is done as head coach, there are many options for replacing him. But unfortunately for him it also means a potential exchange of coordinators. So here are nine options for each of the three big coaching jobs?
Let’s dive into the scuttlebutt.
Dan Quinn | direct current | Dallas Cowboys
Quinn was a finalist for the coaching job, which ended with Hackett being hired. Despite signing an extension in Dallas, Quinn will once again be at the top of several teams’ coaching lists. There is a relationship between Paton and Quinn.
Currently, Quinn ranks the Cowboys’ defense as the second-best unit outsiders in football‘ DVOA, just behind the Buffalo Bills. He has some creative packages to get after quarterback and has developed players well in Dallas while making others play above expectations.
Shane Steichen | OK | Philly Eagles
Steichen will draw a lot of attention for his work with the Eagles and Jalen Hurts offense. Steichen took on the play-calling duties last season and hasn’t looked back. While there are some dud play calls, he consistently names a good play.
The offensive is explosive and uses the talents of its players to the maximum. Much of the credit goes to Steichen for how much responsibility he was given for the offence.
DeMeco Ryan’s | direct current | San Francisco 49ers
Ryans was very successful as the Niners’ defensive coordinator. San Francisco ranks seventh in overall defense DVOA and consistently performs at a high level, but especially against the run, with third-best rushing DVOA.
Ryans has shown great creativity at every level in how he runs this defense and has been a hot name for this coaching cycle.
Ben Johnson | OK | Detroit Lions
Johnson has overseen the Lions’ offensive rebound this season, where they rank 10th in offensive DVAO, 13th in passing and seventh in rush. His offense ranks sixth in total yards per game while averaging an eighth-best 25 points per game.
The Lions have some offensive talent, but there’s no doubt Johnson is making the best of what he has. Detroit didn’t have Jameson Williams, his second first-round pick from the 2022 NFL draft, and traded his second-leading receiver to TE TJ Hockenson before the deadline.
Frank Reich | Ex-Indianapolis Colts HC | Free agent
Reich was the Colts’ head coach, and it wasn’t the best end to his time there. He got the job in 2018 and compiled a 41-33-1 record as head coach while starting a different quarterback each season. Reich has shown his ability to adapt at quarterback but was also let down by GM Chris Ballard and his build of the team.
Working alongside Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan each year as season starters, Reich had to change things up to accommodate them. However, Reich is a good coach and Paton will probably build the team for him better than Ballard.
Chris Horton | STC | Baltimore Ravens
Horton is the only special teams coordinator to make this list, having been praised in NFL circles for some time. His special teams unit was ranked ninth in the DVOA in his freshman year in 2019, rising to second best, then best unit, where they sit for 2022. John Harbaugh plays a role in this as he has made a name for himself as a special team coordinator.
Horton trained under Harbaugh and his name is beginning to draw a lot of interest as a head coaching candidate. Unfortunately, despite playing roles on both offense and defense, special team coordinators don’t receive enough recognition as coaching candidates.
Leslie Frazier | direct current | buffalo bills
Quinn leads second-best defense in DVOA; Frazier is the defense coordinator for the top rated defense in DVOA. During the offseason, he was named top defensive play caller ahead of Quinn Focus on professional football.
The Bills’ defense has a lot of talent to work with, but the Broncos have a lot of talent as well. There would be a shift in coverage usage as the bills are well rounded, with Cover-1, Cover-2, Cover-3 and Cover-4 all being viewed between 98 and 122 times this season. Denver was mostly cover-1 (278 views) and cover-6 (114 views).
Jonathon Gannon | direct current | Philly Eagles
Gannon was reportedly the top interviewer for several teams, including the Broncos, and made finalists for the Houston Texans. His sophomore year shows tremendous growth as a play caller, schemer and game plan designer.
The Eagles’ rush defense was an issue as they are ranked 26th in the DVOA but are third against the pass and fourth overall. However, GM Howie Roseman built the talent level on this defense and Gannon is making the most of it.
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Klint Kubiak | QBs Coaches | Denver Broncos
Kubiak took over playcalling, but that’s still not his plan. If he can improve his calls when off-script, his familiarity with the players could fuel his promotion to offensive coordinator.
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Joe Bleymaier | WRs Coach | Kansas City bosses
A fine receiver coach since taking over in 2021, Bleymaier has grown under Andy Reid. Seen as Eric Bieniemy’s replacement if he lands a head coaching job, he might be worth a look.
Dan Pitcher | QBs Coaches | Cincinnati Bengal
Pitcher did a good job bringing Joe Burrow along. He first came to the NFL as a scout before being hired by Cincinnati as part of the offensive line. Pitcher survived a coaching change and has worked his way up to become the quarterback’s coach, which he has been since 2020.
Shane Day | QBs Coaches | Chargers from Los Angeles
The Chargers are rumored to be changing the coaching staff, and Day should be on the Broncos’ radar. He did a great job bringing Justin Herbert with him.
Zac Robinson | Pass Game Coordinator/QBs Coach | Los Angeles Rams
There’s no question the Rams aren’t living up to expectations this season, but Robinson is a rising offensive head under the Sean McVay tree.
Brian Johnson | QBs Coaches | Philly Eagles
Much like Steichen, Johnson deserves his share of developing Jalen Hurts. While he wouldn’t be the best offense coordinator pick for all of the head coaching options on this list, there are a few he would excel at.
Hank Fraley | Orienteering Trainer | Detroit Lions
Fraley has one of the most talented offensive line units in the NFL, but he helped make them look that way. As a result, he is quickly being regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL.
Brian Schottenheimer | Coaching Analyst | Dallas Cowboys
When Paton and the next head coach want to bring in someone with quarterback familiarity, Schottenheimer comes to mind. Darren Bevell is another, and both have worked with Wilson in Seattle.
Ejiro Evero | direct current | Denver Broncos
Evero is among defensive coordinator options but is also under consideration as head coach. It won’t be long before he gets a head coaching job so it would make sense for Paton to secure Evero. However, given his great performance on defense, it would make sense to at least keep him as defensive coordinator.
Scott McCurley | LBs Trainer | Dallas Cowboys
During the previous hiring cycle, McCurley was one of the few names floated as options to replace Quinn at Dallas or succeed him as defense coordinator. This year, McCurley will be considered outside of Quinn with what McCurley supported in Dallas.
Ryan Crow | OLBs Coach | Tennessee Titans
Crow has done a great job for the Titans in two years as coach of the Outside Linebackers. His unit is part of the fourth-tier pass rush Focus on professional football while it’s the team that blitzes with the fourth-lowest percentage in the NFL.
Kris Kocurek | DL Trainer | San Francisco 49ers
Kocurek is the NFL’s top defensive line coach. He’s brought in good defenders at several stops throughout his career. His time in San Francisco has finally started giving him the recognition that could lead to a position as defensive coordinator.
Christian Parker | DBs Coach | Denver Broncos
Parker was mentioned as a defensive coordinator option last year, and if the Broncos promote Evero or lose him to another team, Parker would be an internal option to replace him.
Aden Durde | DL Trainer | Dallas Cowboys
Durde was another coach seen as an option to replace Quinn or succeed him as defensive coordinator. Durde got his first coaching gig in 2018 and has stayed with Quinn ever since. It’s been a short career so far, but he’s a defensive savvy who’s been talked about in NFL circles.
D’Anton Lynn | DBs Coach | Baltimore Ravens
Lynn has worked for several teams and settled down as a defensive backs coach. He did a good job in Baltimore and deserves attention as a defensive coordinator.
Zachary Orr | ILBs Coach | Baltimore Ravens
Orr was a defensive assistant for the Ravens before getting a chance to become positional coach for the Jaguars in 2021, where he coached outside linebackers. He now coaches the inside linebackers for Baltimore and is working toward becoming a defensive coordinator. However, this could be a year too early for Orr to make the leap.
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