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Report: Dan Quinn, Nathaniel Hackett, and Kevin O’Connell finalists to be Broncos head coach

Multiple league sources predict Paton will advocate for Quinn

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
The Broncos could hire Quinn this week
Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

According to 9News’ Mike Klis, three of the Denver Broncos’ 10 candidates are still in play to be the 17th head coach in franchise history. General manager George Paton is expected to have a second round of interviews with Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Green Bay Packers’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett this week. The Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell remains under consideration as well, and could interview after the Rams play in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers next Sunday.

Within minutes of Klis’ report, Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reported that multiple league insiders predict Paton will advocate for Quinn, the only former head coach the Broncos interviewed. Wilson also reported two coaches could join Quinn in Denver.

Should Quinn get the job, he’s expected to try and bring Cowboys secondary coach Al Harris as part of the coaching staff. Jaguars interim coach Bevell, a former Seattle Seahawks colleague, is another candidate for a potential Quinn staff.

During Quinn’s first season as the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks was also the Legion of Boom’s best, capped off with a 43-8 win over Peyton Manning’s Broncos in Super Bowl 48. Those Seahawks led the league in takeaways while allowing the fewest points and yards in the league, a feat that hadn’t occurred since the Chicago Bears did it in 1985.

Quinn left the Seahawks after 2014 to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Following an 8-8 season in 2015, the Falcons made it all the way to Super Bowl 51 and led the New England Patriots 28-3 in the third quarter before losing in overtime. Following the loss Quinn’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left for the 49ers and his team only made one more playoff appearance before back to back losing seasons. Quinn was fired after an 0-5 start in 2020. Following his ouster, the Cowboys hired Quinn to take over their defense from Mike Nolan. In his first year on the job Dallas led the league in takeaways as they improved from 23rd to second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

In addition to the Broncos, Quinn’s also a candidate for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, and Chicago Bears, but his connection to Paton seems to give Denver the upper hand. Quinn was a defensive line coach with the Miami Dolphins during the time Paton was the director of pro personnel. Quinn was reportedly hoping to work with Paton during his time in Atlanta, and he is one of the two candidates from Paton’s initial short list of Vic Fangio replacements from October.

The Packers’ Hackett got his start as a coach at UC Davis in 2003. He’s the son of longtime NFL assistant Paul Hackett, and prior to his role as Aaron Rodgers’ offensive coordinator, he called played with the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Syracuse Orange men. During Hackett’s one year at Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib set school records for completions and yards, and tied the school record for touchdowns in a season. In 2017 with Hackett calling plays the Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles posted the best season of his career as the Jaguars made it all the way to the AFC Championship game.

O’Connell is the son of a former FBI agent, and a former NFL quarterback who wore five different jerseys during his four years in the league. He got his start in coaching with the Cleveland Browns and has since worked for the Jay Gruden in Washington and Sean McVay in Los Angeles. While he’s never officially been a play caller, he’s been a key part of crafting game plans since 2018.

Poll

Who do you want the Broncos to hire as their 17th head coach?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Dan Quinn
    (584 votes)
  • 62%
    Nathaniel Hackett
    (3025 votes)
  • 25%
    Kevin O’Connell
    (1215 votes)
4824 votes total Vote Now