There are a lot of names being bandied about for the HC, but I was always taught that you can't figure out who the best candidate is unless you know what you're looking for. Based on that, I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of the conditions and criteria that go with the new position.
Based on PB's press conference it sounds like the new HC is going to have to get along with the current personnel office. PB is demonstrating a lot of confidence in the Goodman's and Xander. While he hasn't said anything, Jim Goodman is for all purposes the acting GM. Any propective HC will have to be able to work with him.
Also, the fact that PB is filling the HC position before a GM slot tells me that PB wants the best "coach" and will restructure the front office to best let the new HC do his business. At the same time, PB has said it is unlikely that he will give the new HC the kind of authority and responsibilities that Shanahan had. The new HC will have to be willing to be the HC and not the GM, but this also means he doesn't have to be a strong and administrator.
Current Coaching Staff
At first many thought PB was letting the entire coaching staff go. Actually he just said he didn't anticipate keeping them. This was alter clarified to each would be evaluated on a case by case basis. To me that means that no one is guaranteed a job, but also there won't be any housecleaning without good reason. PB also said if you're worried about money find another business which to me says that just because you signined a contract extension doesn't mean you won't be let go.
If we look at the current staff it would seem that Dennison and Turner are probable safe. Dennison because of the truly outstanding job he has done with our very young offensive line and Turner because of his body of work over the decades and the PFM he worked with the revolveing door at drummer, I mean running back this year.
Probably no one on the defensive staff has a job. Likewise STs. Bates is another matter. As QB coach he has done a good job bringing Cutler along. I would like to see fewer ints and more look-offs but some of that may be the product of an HC who encouraged Jay's "gunslinger" mentality. A new HC may have a different perspective. As OC, Bates was less than stellar. Game after game, once they got past the scripted plays, the play calling was unimaginative and predictable. While he has rapport with Cutler, I see Bates as very much on the bubble.
PB has made it very clear that he want the Broncos not only win win another Super Bowl, but to return to the level of elite teams, the teams other teams dread playing. Any new HC is going to have to present PB with a plan to acheive that, not just a good resume, and that means a plan to get from the team we have today, to a team that can win week in and week out, that never quits, and that can win in good weather or bad, indoors or out.
Most observers would admit that the offense is probably only a RB away from a truly elite offensive unit. The RB may not be needed. On the other hand, there is so little on defense, that an entire rebuild is needed. This one could be a scrape-off. Also, while our kickers are adequate (more so Kern than Prater) our coverage and return units are sub-par. Most disturbing is the apparent breakdown of fundamentals, tackling and gap/lane discipline. Defense and STs are as bad as the offense is good. To be an elite team you have to be good at at least two out of three and you have to be solid at the third. Also, the almost complete absence of takeaways is ludicrous.
Any new HC is going to have his hands full rebuilding the defense and ST. I'm guessing here, but is candidate were to propose completely rebuilding the offense and defense, PB my think that will take longer than he is willing to take. It seems that the new HC is going to have to be able to quickly develop young defensive talent, assuming the Goodmans find it, at get the exisiting defenders to play to their potential. He will most likely have to be willing to work wiht the existing offensive system, ZB & one-cut.
That does not mean the HC needs to be a defensive specialist himself, but he better have a damned good DC lined up. In fact there is a danger in hiring a current DC that we just get the reverse of the current situation, a defensive genius who neglects the offfense. I think the new HC is going to have to be someone who maintians a steady focus on all aspects of the game. I also think the new HC is going to have to bring some experience at the elite level. One of the facets that seems to be missing is that none of the current players seem to possess the mental toughness the intagibles that come from playing at the highest levels.
So here's my take on what is needed and required.
- Willingness to be HC only and not GM,
- Willingness to let personnel do their job,
- Willingness to work with (some) of the existing coaches,
- Willingness to work with the pieces that are working (offense) while rebuilding the ones that aren't (defense and STs).
- Experience with winning at the highest levels over a sustained period,
- Proven grasp of all aspects of the game (offense, defense, STs) not just their specialty,
- Proven ability to get players to perform as a team,
- Proven ability to accurate assess player abilities,
- Proven ability to develop young players.
Based on that, do we see any of the candidates differently?