The Denver Broncos have gone about reshaping their coaching staff over the past two seasons. From the top down, the key element on the staff has become experience.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast, this experience has turned into quite the experiment for the Broncos. Hiring Vic Fangio as head coach last season, and pairing him with such experienced coaches as Ed Donatell and Mike Munchak was apparently, just the beginning.
After a lackluster offensive season, the Broncos made a move to get rid of first time offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, and QB coach TC McCartney, favoring instead longtime offensive coach Pat Shurmur for OC, and Mike Shula as QB coach.
Shurmur has extensive experience as a coach in the NFL, including two head coaching gigs (and one interim HC job in Philadelphia), and three separate turns as an offensive coordinator. Shula was the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers when they went 15-1 and made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
Putting together a coaching staff with so much experience has created a fascinating dynamic in Denver. There is a lot of young talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. While much of the NFL is running to the young innovators for coaching positions (a la the Sean McVay rush), Denver has moved in a completely different direction.
This coaching staff is top to bottom filled with guys who have been in the NFL for decades. The most recent hire of John Pagano to be the outside linebackers coach continues to enforce that trend. Not only do these coaches have years of NFL knowledge stored in their memory banks, they have also worked with some great players in the NFL.
Pagano has helped coach players like Khalil Mack, JaDeveon Clowney, JJ Watt, Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram with the Chargers, etc.
The NFL is a copycat league, but John Elway and Vic Fangio are looking at doing their own thing when it comes to coaches. Hiring guys with a ton of experience, and a record for success with individual players could be the best thing for a team that has struggled to return to playoff form since winning Super Bowl 50.
If this mixture of young talent and seasoned coaches can find a way to coalesce, the Denver Broncos could be the surprise guest to the playoff party in 2020.