John Elway and the Denver Broncos have keyed in on three men to take over as head coach of the team. Oddly enough, one offensive coordinator in Kyle Shanahan, one defensive coordinator in Vance Joseph, and one special teams coordinator in Dave Toub are being considered for the job.
Elway shouldn’t be looking at unit stats or success on the field. He should be looking for specific leadership qualities that make someone a great head coach.
If Joseph has those characteristics and Shanahan does not, then the best hire is clearly Joseph. Toub could be a dark horse candidate, but literally nothing has come of his interview last week.
Most of the rumors swirl around Joseph being the front-runner and around the men he hopes to tap for coordinator positions.
Mike McCoy. The rumors are swirling that Joseph would want to bring McCoy back to Denver with him if he gets the head coaching position. The move has gotten mixed responses from Broncos fans, but what really matters is who he brings with him to fill out the coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball.
The only way passing on Shanahan makes any sense is if Joseph has a strong plan to bring in experience and innovation to the offense. McCoy has proven he can make it work with both Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning, which no one else in the NFL can lay claim to.
Who might follow McCoy to Denver: Ken Wisenhunt, Nick Sirianni, John McNulty, Shane Steichen, among others. All of them are currently on the Chargers payroll, but that will likely change once they hire their own new head coach. On thing to consider is that Eric Studesville could end up being one of the only holdovers on the offensive side of the ball from the previous regime.
Joe Woods. There has been plenty of rumors suggesting Wade Phillips might be on his way out and if those rumors prove to be true the heir to one of the NFL’s best defensive units would be current Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods.
The only reason - and I mean the only reason - this is a bit unsettling for Broncos fans is because Phillips turned a talented defense under Jack Del Rio into an elite game-changing defense. As good as Woods is turning the the best pass defense over the last two years, it is unlikely he will effectively replace the four decades of NFL experience that Phillips has.
It would be a big risk and one that appears not to be set in stone. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Broncos are doing their best to ensure the defensive coaching staff is maintained.
The Broncos ultimately want someone who will keep the defense intact and fix the offense. The reported intent to bring former Broncos offensive coordinator and Chargers coach Mike McCoy back to Denver may address the latter point. As to the former, one source with knowledge of the source recently took issue with the notion that Joseph automatically would move on from defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, promoting current Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods into the job. Phillips remains on the radar screen in Denver, and the desire for continuity applies across the board.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Of the three candidates the Broncos are interested in, only Joseph has his picks kind of laid out on the coordinator positions. A head coach must be a strong leader and must be able to delegate effectively, which means we shouldn’t be stuck on where his defense with the Miami Dolphins ranked or where the Atlanta Falcons offense ranks.
What matters is only how effective he is at managing personalities and egos. The more I personally learn about Joseph, the more I become comfortable with him being the coach Elway and the Broncos front office selects to take the head coaching reigns heading into the 2017 season.