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Report: Former Stanford Head Coach David Shaw is a “sleeper candidate” for the Broncos job

The Stanford ties run deep and it should not be a surprise that Shaw impressed during his interview.

Stanford v California Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

According to 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis, while Sean Payton appears to be the leading candidate, a sleeper candidate has reportedly emerged for the Broncos coaching job. That candidate is former Stanford head coach, David Shaw.

All the talk has been centered around former Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as the reported favorites for the Broncos job. However, a sleeper candidate has emerged and it really should not come as surprise.

David Shaw has a long history as a coach in the NFL and in the college game. He was a positional coach in the NFL before following Jim Harbaugh through the college ranks and eventually taking over for him at Stanford. He was very successful there during the start of his tenure there and was a highly sought-after coach by the NFL. The program has fallen on some hard times recently, but much of the blame does not fall on the shoulders of Shaw. He resigned from the program this past year and had his eyes on returning to the NFL. It would make sense that he would land in some capacity with the Broncos during his hiring cycle.

As we know, the Stanford connection with the Broncos is strong. We thought it might be able to land Jim Harbaugh, but that did not work out, but it might be able to land David Shaw. The one probably banging the table the hardest for Shaw is part owner Condoleezza Rice. She worked closely with Shaw while at Stanford and even helped with recruiting during his time there.

Shaw may not have the NFL head coaching experience they are looking for, but he is an experienced coach who checks a lot of boxes. He is a well-respected and intelligent coach who would bring a winning culture with him and some accountability to that locker room which is needed. He also ran a pro-style offense while at Stanford, so he would not be bringing a funky college offense with him to the NFL.

The amount of people who speak highly of him is pretty high. Even fellow coaching candidate Sean Payton had some high praise for Shaw. A few years back, he was publicly pushing for Shaw to get an NFL job. He was questioning why the NFL does not hire many minority coaches, and he offered that a team should hire David Shaw as a solution.

“My challenge always is this, and I use an example all the time. I worked with David Shaw in Philadelphia (with the Eagles), I think he’s an extremely bright candidate. Stanford graduate, he coaches at his alma mater. Every time I bring his name up, everyone says ‘David’s staying in college.’ And I understand that.”

So, I would expect Shaw to be among the finalists for the Broncos head coaching job. It may come down to Payton, Quinn, and Shaw, but we could see Shaw being part of the Broncos coaching staff regardless.

I would not be surprised to see Shaw hired as the Broncos offensive coordinator for Sean Payton or Dan Quinn. He does not have ties to Quinn that I know of, but Payton clearly thinks highly of him and probably would be interested in Shaw being his offensive coordinator.

It would make sense and Shaw has not interviewed with any other NFL team during this process. You have strong mutual ties and likely mutual interest making an eventual pairing between Shaw and the Broncos seem fairly likely.