That means change. A lot of it. Some would say it’s a bit overdue, including Chris Harris. Whether you agree or disagree, the 2019 Broncos will look a lot different than this year’s version. There are a lot of veterans who could be released, including guys like Brandon Marshall, Ronald Leary, Emmanuel Sanders, and Darian Stewart. Both Shaq Barrett and Shane Ray are all but certainly gone. Bradley Roby, Matt Paradis, and Shelby Harris all have contract expiring. Some or even all of them could move on as Elway creates cap space and turn the page to a new era.
The first part of that is already upon us though Broncos Country, with reports coming out today that the Broncos have requested interviews with a slew of candidates as Elway tries to find the next head coach of the team. While some in the media have said this week’s candidates are weak, I can’t see it. Sunday night I worked to create a coaching primer to look back to as Denver scheduled interviews and I was left with one impression: there are a lot of candidates.
As I worked on this list, I had a hard time seeing Breer’s point. There’s plenty of names out there, and Elway has the opportunity to make the kind of move that could put Denver back into the AFC West mix.
That doesn’t mean any of them will do just that. With the questions at quarterback, receiver, secondary and offensive line the moves Elway makes this year will have huge ramifications down the road. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t going anywhere. If Elway makes the wrong moves this spring it could create a situation where the Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers are basically an AFC East lite for the Andy Reid’s bunch to beat up on. Rue that day, and let’s hope the Duke pulls the trigger on the right kind of moves.
Your Broncos Links
The process to find the Broncos next head coach has already started. Check back often for all of the updates.
“I love Coach VJ. He’s been instrumental in my growth as a leader and as a player,” Miller said. “He’s a great coach; these are the cards that we have to deal with. The players we drafted this year are going to be second-year players next year. I love VJ, and I love his approach. That’s where I’m at with it.”
Report: Broncos request to interview Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for their Head Coaching job - Mile High Report
Fangio has no prior Head Coaching experience in the NFL and will be a first-time NFL Head Coach if hired, so that is a concern. What took so long? Was her overlooked? Or is he another Wade Phillips? That’s what these interviews are for.
Flores is a first year defensive coordinator who has spent his entire career with the Patriots as both a special teams and defensive assistant.
The Denver Broncos have requested permission to interview Pittsburgh Steelers OL coach Mike Munchak.
An interesting interview here.
“Again, we’re two hours removed from [relieving Joseph of his duties], so everything is very much still up in the air as far as that. But it’s a possibility. His name’s been floating out there, so yeah, there’s a possibility Gary will coach again.”
Trevor Siemian 2016 advanced stats: 22nd in DYAR, 21 in DVOA and QBR— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 31, 2018
Case Keenum 2018 advanced stats prior to today: 26th in DYAR, 26th in DVOA, 31st in QBR.
Leadership sure is expensive... https://t.co/IyxXUYpt9K
“I think after the Super Bowl we kind of just got stagnant. We haven’t evolved. We’ve got to figure out how we can evolve on offense, defense, special teams and everything—get better as players. We have to evolve with the times of the NFL. We’re behind right now.”
Just my two cents: if the #Broncos don't find a QB guru the issues on offense will perpetuate.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) December 31, 2018
Report: Elway eyeing John Harbaugh and Mike Shanahan for the Broncos Head Coaching job - Mile High Report
Rumor has it that Elway is eyeing these two veteran coaches.
Broncos have made great effort to get word out that next coach will not be Mike Shanahan and John Harbaugh not worth top draft pick.— Mark Kiszla (@markkiszla) December 31, 2018
The chatter in league circles regarding Denver’s future continues to be that G.M. John Elway would like to find a way to hire Ravens coach John Harbaugh or, failing that, a path to returning Mike Shanahan to the franchise.
Denver’s D, Phillip Lindsay, C.J. Anderson and Case Keenum all make notable appearances.
Let’s be honest, a playoff appearance is really the only thing that completely validates a new coaching hire for fans. We want what other teams have.
Elway and his Super Bowl rings can be charming, but this will be a tough sell.
There is no better NFL opening than Cleveland. The Browns' future is brighter than some playoff teams. Couldn't be happier for their long-suffering fans.— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) December 31, 2018
Sutton will be my major miss of the 2018 NFL Draft class, and will likely be the cause of a change in my grading scale. My evaluation was spot on, as I labeled Sutton with one of the highest ceilings in the wide receiver class and, if he could iron out some rigid aspects to his game, become a WR1 in the NFL. Watching the film of him in his rookie season, Sutton has more refined hand usage to beat press coverage, as well as more consistency in his route breaks. I should’ve valued his size and athleticism more, and banked on his development. My grading scale will reflect that this draft cycle.
DaeSean Hamilton came on strong over the last month of the season, with 25 receptions and 2 TD’s over the last 4 games.— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) December 31, 2018
Expecting big things from BaeSean™️ in 2019 pic.twitter.com/f4KYaLyzcE
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri Here’s a bombshell for you, and more fallout of Herbert going to back to school. Lock is a big-armed and moderately athletic quarterback, so he does fit John Elway’s mold at the position. But it’s quite a leap for Lock to get into the top 10 of the draft.
Hochman: By being one of the guys, Drew Lock is THE Missouri Tiger | Benjamin Hochman | stltoday.com
“I’ve always said that the measure of a good quarterback is similar to the measure of a good coach — it’s how well you can motivate the players around you to play for you,” said former Mizzou quarterback Corby Jones, who led the Tigers to two bowl games in the late 1990s. “Drew has always been a team guy. It’s never been about Drew’s numbers. It’s about what he can do to help his team win. And that transcends every boundary.
“I don’t think I would have made this decision if I wouldn’t have been projected to go early,” Jones said.
A Look around the West
Your AFC West champions talked to media after the game on Sunday
It seems like a distraction for other teams to be interviewing our coaches while they are preparing for upcoming playoff games. And let’s be honest: it is a distraction for them.
The Hunter sets his sights on Baltimore!
35. Chargers vs. Seahawks: A team with no fans vs. a team whose fans are on the other side of the country from where the game’s being played. The Chargers won the regular-season matchup, so it’s not like this is anything we haven’t seen even this year. Sorry, Seattle. You lack the unique spice of previous Seahawks squads.
“There are a lot of other [African-American coaches] out there who would be great head coaches,” Lynn said. “But it’s really still all about getting someone to give you that first opportunity to show what you can do.”
Monday Morning Digest, Playoff Preview Edition: MVP Mahomes Is Locked and Loaded | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
Player No One Wants to Face in the Playoffs: Mahomes
Team Most Screwed By Seedings: The 12-4 Chargers must travel across the country to play a 1 p.m. road game against the 10-6 Ravens, which doesn’t seem fair. On the other hand, if the Chargers played a home game in the postseason, it would really underscore the fact that they play in the kind of venue that usually hosts licensed classic rock tribute bands.
Basically like signing a top free agent for the playoffs. Anthony Lynn said last week Henry would be in the mix. Sounds like he’s really, really in the mix. https://t.co/O6e2CmKAy3— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018
Rapoport reported in September that Gruden has his own staff that helps him judge talent and make decisions that was separate from people who were closer to McKenzie. Mayock figures to work closely with Gruden, but it remains to be seen what level of control he might have on the Raiders’ roster considering this is his first position in an NFL front office.
There are five teams eligible for Hard Knocks in 2019:— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) December 31, 2018
That Raiders team is built for HBO. Rooting for it,
And so, enter Mayock: the roster-builder who could help bring Gruden’s vision, no matter how kaleidoscopic, to fruition. Mayock and Gruden have spent the last decade showing up to the same events on the NFL calendar; likely bemoaning the same blunders and bungles that they never would have committed were they given their shot in the league.
Can you stay in the AFC West if you’re so far West you’re really East?
Super Bowl Contenders
Two years ago, Lamar Jackson became the youngest Heisman Trophy winner ever. Next weekend, Jackson will be the youngest starting QB to start a playoff game in NFL history. Incredible. pic.twitter.com/rUKJqYhK6F— jacob calvin meyer (@jcalvinmeyer) December 31, 2018
The playoff field is finally set. Here’s your guide to everything you need to know about the 12 teams vying to win Super Bowl LIII.
Injuries will have a big impact on the playoffs.
The Rams put together a remarkable 2018 season with historical significance.
Final rushing success rate & EPA/carry on designed runs.— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) December 31, 2018
C! J! Anderson! pic.twitter.com/8ncgTZnjW9
Retired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz looks back on the NFL season and gives an advance look at next weekend’s playoff games.
Dearest mother —— Capt. Andrew Luck (@CaptAndrewLuck) December 31, 2018
Our celebration festivities were mighty, but brief. We begin our march to Houston to thrice battle the Texans. Each unit has a victory over the other. We shall drill among bulls to better understand their tactics. I am equal parts confident and anxious.
“We’re on the field, and I was like, ‘Oh, here we go again,’” Mosley said. “But we told ourselves, Just stay resilient, man. We got four more downs. That’s all we needed.”
Quarterback Nick Foles has bruised ribs and no break, sources told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. With the news, the expectation is Foles will be good to start against the third-seeded Bears on Sunday in Wild-Card Weekend.
The Bears traded for Khalil Mack to prevent QBs from extending plays, but the Eagles might be the only team whose right tackle, Lane Johnson, is equipped to spar with the superstar defensive end.
Catching up with Black Monday News
Prospective head-coaching candidates should be wary of taking the Jets’ job for these four reasons.
The story of the day is not the coaches that get fired, it’s the GM’s who still have jobs. How the GM’s are getting the benefit of the doubt that coaches aren’t getting is hard to explain— Joe Banner (@JoeBanner13) December 31, 2018
The Jets have never even been to the Alamo Bowl.
Sources told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is interested in Adam Gase, who was fired as Miami Dolphins coach on Monday. Cleveland has also put in an interview request for Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, a source told Schefter.
In three seasons in Miami, Gase exits with a 23-25 record. The coach led the Dolphins to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance his first year with the club. The past two years, Gase compiled a 13-19 record. After jumping out to a 3-0 start to the 2018 season, Miami finished 7-9.
Gase will not be on Elway’s list. Elway made him call more running plays and that led to dispute. Then Elway interviewed Gase after Fox firing. Just a courtesy. Already wanted Kubiak.— Woody Paige (@woodypaige) December 31, 2018
In addition, he lost support in the locker room over the second half of the season. Three players told ESPN they felt Gase held some players, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill, at a different standard than others and that alienated some on the team. Those players said they felt there wouldn’t be a lot of hard feelings in the locker room if Gase was fired.
Sounds like Adam Gase goes into this meeting today with Miami ownership in a good spot. If Gase is fired, I’m told he becomes the instant front-runner for the Packers job. Scary combo in the NFC North— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) December 31, 2018
NFL Coaching Rumors: Peyton Manning has interest in Browns getting Adam Gase and is in owner’s ear - CBSSports.com
The future Hall of Fame quarterback is talking to Jimmy Haslam about Gase coming to Cleveland
Gase's record the last two years should be much worse than 13-18 (soon to be 19). Counting the score today, the Dolphins are -215 in point differential in 17/18.— Unshakable (@Yah_Mule) December 30, 2018
Following a third straight losing season, Marvin Lewis is out as Bengals coach, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported per a source on Monday. Pelissero reported that Lewis informed his coaching staff and that owner Mike Brown made the decision.
Speculation about Lewis’ future has clouded the past few years, particularly as the team struggled to return to the success they had from 2011 to ‘15, when they made five straight playoff appearances. The Bengals re-signed Lewis last season despite mounting dissatisfaction from a fan base that has not seen a playoff win since the 1990 season.
Throughout the season, players complained about the same mistakes happening week after week and said there were players who didn’t follow coaching, especially on the defensive side of the ball, which was Wilks’ specialty.
Cardinals started a rookie QB, suspended their GM, fired an offensive coordinator in October, played 10 different OL combinations, switched to a 4-3 defense, and had a future Hall of Famer ask for a mid-season trade.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 31, 2018
Not exactly shocking they had the worst record in the NFL.
Team president Michael Bidwell is considered to be easily swayed by fan reaction. General manager Steve Keim, who had overseen three bad-to-mediocre drafts before hitting in 2018 and who was absent all training camp after pleading guilty to an extreme DUI, put together an uncompetitive roster. Yet of the three, only Wilks is the one without a job.
Vance Joseph, former Broncos head coach Joseph, who was just fired by Denver, was reportedly in the mix to be the Bengals’ next defensive coordinator before Lewis’ departure. That would imply the Bengals are interested, and this is a better fit than Denver. It’s still a tough sell for Cincinnati fans given his 11-21 record the past two seasons.
Packers request to interview Steelers OL coach Mike Munchak, Saints TE coach Dan Campbell for head coach | Packers Wire
The Packers have formally requested interviews with two more assistant coaches. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Packers would like to meet with former Titans head coach and current Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak.
NFL Coaching Carousel: Falcons sack Steve Sarkisian, two more coordinators; Dan Quinn operates as DC - CBSSports.com
The Falcons made some serious changes after a disappointing season
Bevell wasn't perfect, but he got scapegoated for a lot of Seattle's offensive struggles near the end of his tenure, imo. From 2012-2015, the Seahawks' offense finished 4th, 7th, 5th, and 1st in DVOA. https://t.co/78IvyreWt9— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) December 31, 2018
News from the rest of the NFL
“You dislike anyone to be fired because of what it does to families. It really knocks you back, and so forth,” John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, said on the phone. “But you also understand that there are certain realities about this game, and the No. 1 reality is coaches have to win. We just have to make sure we’re showcasing people of color and giving them opportunities, which we do through the Rooney Rule.”
Black Monday is so... Black— Domonique Foxworth (@Foxworth24) December 31, 2018
NFL insider notes: The league’s diversity problem, Blake Bortles’ last start and more from Week 17 - CBSSports.com
With another coaching and GM cycle set to begin, there is a lack of diverse candidates and not much is being done about it
The Vikings’ season ended with a thud and a whimper when they lost Sunday’s must-win season finale 24-10 to a Chicago Bears team that had nothing to play for but a minor shift in their playoff seeding.
Should Mike Tomlin stay as head coach? Is the team’s Super Bowl window closed? Will they finally be aggressive in acquiring top talent in the offseason?
Several sources said the Steelers’ decision to not play Brown against the Bengals had nothing to do with any type of knee injury.
The disagreement occurred Wednesday morning during a routine walk-through practice that precedes their regular afternoon practice on the South Side. Brown became disgusted and threw a football in anger at one of his teammates, several sources said.
One of Mike Tomlin's trademark sayings is, "We will tolerate you until we can replace you."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 31, 2018
In 15 games, Antonio Brown had 104 catches, 1297 yards and 15 TDs - in the face of constant double teams. IMO, he's not replaceable.
“I am disappointed in the behavior today from T.J. Yeldon and Leonard Fournette,” Coughlin’s statement read. “They were disrespectful, selfish and their behavior was unbecoming of a professional football player.”
If the guarantees are stripped from that money, the Jaguars would be able to cut Fournette with no financial repercussions. A likelier avenue to pursue would likely be an attempt to trade him to another team in hope of acquiring some draft compensation they can use toward building a better team than the one that was on the field in 2018.
And then there's the Jaguars, where I wonder why the coach or GM get a pass.— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) December 31, 2018