Less than a year ago Gary Kubiak and Peyton Manning were hoisting the Lombardi trophy above their heads after a 24-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers. They are no more. Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset as a two time Super Bowl champion and potentially the greatest quarterback of all time. Now Gary Kubiak has gone. A Broncos legend, Kubiak was a long time back up to John Elway, and was a coach when the Broncos won their first two Super Bowls. However, less than a year after winning Super Bowl 50 as head coch, Kubiak has retired and the Broncos are on the search for a new head coach.
Times are changing in Denver as they usher in a new era whilst John Elway continues to build his dynasty. The Broncos have two young quarterbacks in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch who have plenty of upsides, but have had their difficulties this season. Siemian was Kubiak’s guy but it appears Paxton is Elway’s. Along with that, Elway said in his recent press conference that he is looking at a younger coach to take charge and take Denver back to the Super Bowl soon. There have been plenty of names rumoured to be in with a chance of the job with the favourite appearing to be the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. This week the Broncos will be interviewing Falcons offensive coordinator and son of former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan Kyle Shanahan, as well as Kansas City Chiefs’ special team’s coordinator Dave Toub.
Toub is certainly not as young as the other guys but has proven himself as a terrific coordinator with the Chiefs’ special teams proving a key cog to their wheel, particularly through Tyreek Hill and he could be the sort of guy to make Kalif Raymond into a similar player. Toub would certainly seem to be at the back of the queue but should not be counted out of a job that will at the top of many coaches’ lists.
Kyle Shanahan is the favourite among the Broncos’ faithful and they will be hoping he would bring similar success to the job as his dad Mike did, who won two Super Bowls as head coach in Denver. Shanahan could definitely be the coach to transform the stagnant offense. He was been the mind behind the Falcons’ flying offense as they have put up superb numbers and Matt Ryan is in the MVP race.
Kyle is also a very young coach so fits the Elway mould perfectly and would be a terrific coach to work with for the two young quarterbacks. Another upside to Shanahan is he is likely to keep Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator and leave him in sole charge of the defence. You get the feeling any coach who cut ties with Wade would be immediately unpopular, so Kyle would be starting on the right foot if he kept him.
This leads us onto the current frontrunner for the job Vance Joseph. Vance had been interviewed before Gary Kubiak was appointed so Elway will have a good idea of what he could bring to the table. Vance would certainly be the motivator and he could likely leave the play calling to both of his coordinators. However, he has only been a coordinator for one year and is relatively inexperienced as a coach in the NFL so would be something of a gamble. He, like Kyle, has ties with the state after previously coaching at the Colorado Buffaloes where he also went to college.
Mike McCoy, recently fired by the San Diego Chargers, could also be brought in by Vance Joseph as the offensive coordinator to return to the role he held from 2009-2012. There have been rumours that he could bring in a new defensive coordinator, potentially Denver’s defensive back’s coach Joe Woods, but there is nothing to say he will and who the coaches bring in as coordinators could play a big part in the interview process.
Other names touted for the job are Jon Gruden, Jim Harbaugh and Jim Bob Cooter. There is no chance Gruden returns as a head coach and Harbaugh is currently raking in the money at Michigan. Of the three Cooter is the most likely, however he is yet to be requested for an interview and that certainly puts him at the back of the queue, if he’s even in the race at all.
It will certainly be an exciting offseason and the Broncos’ opening seems to be the most enticing job for any prospective head coach. The Broncos could have their pick of who they want, so it’s up to John Elway to choose who is the best to lead this franchise forward. I’m hoping for Kyle, but it will certainly be an interesting new era for the Denver Broncos