Denver Broncos Head Coaching Candidate: Rick Dennison


Rick Dennison may not be the most well-known head coaching candidate for the Denver Broncos league wide, but among Broncos fans, Dennison's potential return would be a homecoming of sorts.  Dennison is very familiar with the Denver Broncos organization, and he is thought to have some kind of edge because of that. 

This is a guy that has more than earned his stripes in the league, and he is one of the more well respected coaches out there. Is he the best man for the job? He will certainly light up his interview (which we will all likely be able to see into later today), and his resume' is very impressive.

Dennison was a candidate the last time the Broncos had a head coaching search, and it's no coincidence he is near the top of the Broncos' list this time around.

EXPERIENCE

Where to begin? Dennison's football career began at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, CO, about an hour away from Denver. He stayed close to home after his high school days and attended Colorado State, where he had a very nice collegiate career, one that included a 2nd team Academic All-American selection. Dennison graduated from CSU with a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering, and he would also later earn his master's degree in the same field.

Dennison's collegiate career was followed by a playing career, and this is where he becomes familiar to Denver Broncos fans. Dennison was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 1982, and played with Denver until 1990.

His playing career included 128 games (52 starts) and three Super Bowl appearances. The Broncos obviously didn't get over the hump until 1998, but even all the losing in Super Bowl games didn't stop Dennison from winning the Ed Block Courage Award in 1989, and a year before that he ranked second on the team with an astounding 133 tackles.

Following his playing days, Dennison got his coaching career started ad Suffield Academy where he spent three years as an assistant. In 1995, he joined the Denver Broncos, where he stayed until 2009.

From 1995-1996, Dennison was an offensive assistant for the Broncos, and in 1997, he was handed the reins to the special teams unit.

He did not disappoint.

Talent had a lot to do with it, but when Dennison took over as the special teams coach, Darrien Gordon and Jason Elam each made trips to the Pro Bowl as a return man and kicker respectively. He held the special teams position from 1997-2000, and then a dynasty began.

Denver's running game was great with Terrell Davis lining up behind John Elway and a fierce offensive line, but when Rick Dennison took over the line in 2001, he stayed there until he left after the 2009 season, and for good reason. With Dennison coaching the line, the Broncos' rushing attack put up over 135 yards per contest and averaged 4.5 yards per carry, good for 2nd and 3rd in the league over that span of time.

When Gary Kubiak left the team after the 2005 season, Dennison assumed the "offensive coordinator" duties for the Broncos, but he was still responsible for the offensive line as well. 

After a very successful career as a Denver assistant, Dennison followed his old friend Gary Kubiak to Houston this past year where he served as the Texans' offensive coordinator. Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and company were already rock solid for the Texans, but never before had they had an elite running game.

That all changed in 2010 as Arian Foster emerged seemingly out of nowhere and put together one of the best individual seasons by a running back in recent years, much less from an undrafted back. Foster led the NFL in rushing and was also a key receiver for the Texans, and their offensive attack was as complete as any in the league.

 

COACHING TREE

In the NFL, Dennison has coached under Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak. Needless to say, this is a guy that will implement the zone blocking scheme, and the quarterback better be athletic enough for rolling out and a lot of play-action set up by the zone-running. 

Dennison's philosophies are no secret to Broncos fans, who will instantly recognize this kind of offensive attack that he brings. 

 

MHR GRADE

Dennison is known as "Rico" around these parts, and is well-liked by the Denver Broncos and their fans. There are many right now who feel like this is his job to lose, whether it's because of familiarity or whatever. Dennison knows the Broncos, he understands the rivalries, he understands the fans, and he's a great football mind. 

I would not be shocked if he were named the Broncos' head coach by the end of the week, but it will be interesting to see who he brings along with him. To me, that is the key--who are these coaches going to bring along to help them?

Dennison is a respected guy, and he's been around the league for a very long time. I would have to guess that he is going to come in and interview today, and blow his former teammate away. 

Right now, it could easily be Dennison's job to lose.

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