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Past Broncos teams reveal qualities new head coach must inspire

Looking forward is always best when making changes, but it doesn't hurt to look back now and then too.

Sporting News NFL Football Collection Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

It’s hard to believe it’s been less than a week since the Broncos played their final game of the 2016 season.

With the following day’s news that Gary Kubiak would be stepping down as head coach, and the intense coaching search that began about 43 seconds after Kubiak left the podium, it feels like the season ended weeks ago.

And suddenly we are deep into speculation about which potential head coach will keep which coordinators, who the coaches might bring with them, whether Wade Phillips will or will not stay on as defensive coordinator and a host of other questions that make my head spin.

So now I’m already missing football and feeling kind of nostalgic about these Broncos.

Maybe it’s because my second child was sick yesterday, so he stayed home from school and I introduced him to the greatest movie of all time - Super Bowl XXXII.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve been watching tons of Terrell Davis highlights for our "30-for-30" series.

Or perhaps it’s just all the reminiscent talk about Mike Shanahan now that his son Kyle is one of the head coach candidates for the nex.

Whatever it is, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I consider to be our greatest team - the 1997-98 version of Orange & Blue - and comparing it to some of our best teams since - the 2005 Broncos led by Jake Plummer, Rod Smith and Al Wilson; the 2012 Broncos with Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Von Miller and Champ Bailey; of course the 2015 Broncos that won a Super Bowl thanks to Miller’s other-wordly defense and Manning’s tactical offense.

When you look at each of the those teams, a few things stand out:

  • The quarterback was a definite leader.
  • The team was strong, but not necessarily dominant, on both sides of the ball - and more importantly had balance within those.
  • The coach/coaching was flexible.
  • Players stepped up and often played beyond their individual abilities

It’s easy to get down about 9-7, but perspective is a good thing. While this year’s team was not what many of us thought it could be, it was encouraging to see a lot of players show promise. But when you look at the list above, I think you see exactly what was missing this season and what absolutely needs to be "added" next season by whomever becomes the next head coach.

Kyle Shanahan, Vance Joseph and Dave Toub are the frontrunner candidates so far. All three have some standout qualities (trust me, Toub may surprise you) and all three have some deficiencies to overcome.

But if I’m John Elway (and clearly I’m not), I’m not looking for the guy who has the expertise or genius to fix every glaring football problem with the team right now. I’m looking for the guy who can develop leaders, hire better people to coach up players we have, be smart enough to know when "his way" is the best way and when it’s not, and perhaps most importantly, get the entire team on the same page week in and week out. All those things will help this 9-7 team easily transform to 12-4, 13-3, or heck, 19-0!

Until then, I’ll keep watching my Super Bowl XXXII movie and hoping our new coach watches it a few times too.

Horse Tracks - docllv's picks of the day

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