3 Best Coaching Options to Aid Broncos Starting QB in 2022January 24, 2022
3 Best Coaching Options to Aid Broncos Starting QB in 2022
The Denver Broncos want to be where the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs are this morning: in contention for the Super Bowl. To get back to the big game for the first time since the 2015 season, Denver needs to find a new head coach and a franchise quarterback.
Denver has been searching for a quarterback since Peyton Manning retired following Super Bowl 50. The duo of Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock wasn't good enough to make a playoff push in 2021.
For the coach, the shortlist may be down to a final few options.
"The Denver Broncos have narrowed their head-coaching search to two finalists, per source," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler tweeted. "Team interviewed 10 candidates and many are being informed tonight. Many around the league believe Dan Quinn will be one of the finalists."
Here we'll examine three potential head coaches who would make sense as Denver looks to build around a new signal-caller.
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn may be a clear favorite to be the Broncos head coach.
Mike Klis of 9 News Denver pointed to Quinn's history with general manager George Paton as a reason why, writing: "Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn figures to remain the favorite because of his previous head-coaching experience and strong previous working relationship with Paton."
Paton and Quinn were together with the Miami Dolphins. Quinn later rose to prominence as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks during the Legion of Boom era, and he also reached the Super Bowl as the Atlanta Falcons head coach.
This past season, Quinn helped spark a turnaround for the Dallas defense. In 2020, the Cowboys ranked 21st in total defense and 25th in points allowed. This past season, Dallas ranked 19th and seventh in those same categories, respectively.
While not an offensive coach, Quinn could still help Denver's next quarterback tremendously. The Broncos have plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and if Quinn can get the most out of that, it would take a lot of pressure off of the signal-caller's shoulders.
If the Broncos look to a young quarterback—quite possibly one taken in the 2022 draft—allowing him to play game-managers alongside a strong rushing attack and an elite defense would be an ideal strategy.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has also interviewed for the Denver job, and he would be a great choice if the Broncos choose to have an offensive coach.
Bieniemy has been with Kansas City since 2013, first as running backs coach before taking over as OC in 2018. As offensive coordinator, he's helped mold Patrick Mahomes into arguably the best quarterback in the NFL.
Could Bieniemy help do the same for Denver's next quarterback? Perhaps, and his experience with running backs—he played the position in the NFL from 1991-1999—shouldn't be overlooked. The Broncos have a good one in Javonte Williams, and the Chiefs OC could make life a lot easier on a young running back.
Bieniemy's experience coaching in the AFC West shouldn't be underestimated, either. He undoubtedly knows how to attack the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers, and he should have some ideas on how to battle the Chiefs as well.
If the Broncos can add a bright offensive mind while also weakening a divisional rival, they must at least consider the move.
The downside with Bieniemy is that the Chiefs are still alive, and Denver may not be willing to wait for Kansas City's run to end.
According to Klis, Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is among the favorites for the job.
"Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett also figures to be among the top two to five candidates because of his previous play-calling experience in Jacksonville and natural head coach-type presence," Klis wrote.
The Packers' early playoff exit doesn't look great on Hackett's resume, but it does make him available earlier than many might have expected. While the Packers mustered only 10 points in the divisional round, they finished the regular season ranked 10th in yards and points.
Since 2019, Hackett has worked with one of the game's all-time greats in quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He should have plenty of insight into how to coach a quarterback to greatness—and there's a chance that he could even help lure Rodgers to Denver.
According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, pursuing Rodgers is Denver's "Plan A" if the quarterback tries to force his way out of Green Bay in the offseason.
Breer also puts Quinn at the top of Denver's wishlist, but Hackett could be a better alternative if the Broncos go hard after Rodgers. With stints as the Buffalo Bills' and Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator also on his resume, Hackett would be a great choice if Denver wants an offensive coach.