Denver Broncos’ New Ownership on Verge of Striking Out in HC Search
The Denver Broncos‘ new ownership group wanted to make a big swing for their next head coach. With names like Sean Payton, Jim Harbaugh, and, to some, Dan Quinn, the Walton/Penner group was swinging away for the big hire.
A few weeks later, the Broncos swung and missed on all of them. Harbaugh returned to Michigan, Quinn is staying in Dallas, and reports are they are out on Payton.
Those were the three big swings, and Denver missed them all. While many believed that the Walmart money could land the Broncos whoever, the issues with the team, like having an expensive quarterback who seems broken, rumored power issues internally, and a lack of draft picks, outweigh the money.
DeMeco Ryans then became the big target, despite Denver initially not wanting a first-time head coach, per multiple reports. Ryans blew away ownership in his interview, which only highlights a flaw in the Broncos’ process from the start.
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With the reports of Denver not wanting a first-time head coach, it was simply to explain away why the team didn’t interview some other hot candidates like Ben Johnson, Shane Steichen, and Jonathan Gannon. Even though reports from last year claimed Gannon had the best interview among all the Broncos’ candidates, it wasn’t enough to land him a second interview. However, Denver only conducted one second interview and that was with the eventual hire Nathaniel Hackett.
That led to a report that, like last year with Brian Daboll, the Broncos didn’t conduct certain interviews for another reason. Daboll was locked with a general manager, and Denver already had George Paton.
This year it was purportedly because an option was a favorite elsewhere, with many saying Gannon was the favorite for Houston. Well, things change, and the favorite isn’t the one who always gets hired, which is why you conduct those interviews anyway.
Now, Denver has only interviewed eight prospects, with three already ‘out’ and those three being the big fish. So the Broncos have four they can fall back on, and with Ryans emerging as the favorite for Houston, that leaves Raheem Morris, Jim Caldwell, David Shaw, and Ejiro Evero.
The Broncos’ ownership has failed to land the big fish. The Walton/Penner group’s process for interviewing candidates and their search has been flawed from the start. So now the Broncos are sitting on their hands waiting as the dominoes are starting to fall, which can lead to issues filling out the staff around whoever they do hire.
It’s past time the Broncos expand their search, but there is an issue. Denver can’t have a first interview with candidates like Gannon, Steichen, Lou Anarumo, Leslie Frazier, Brian Callahan, or Ken Dorsey until next week or after the Super Bowl.
With ownership striking out left and right, maybe the Broncos return to a couple of names that have passed them up. Maybe see if they can change their money, I mean mind, in some way — someone like Harbaugh, who has yet to get a new deal with Michigan, or Quinn.
One thing is clear: the Broncos’ new ownership with their intent on a big swing, if they keep missing, opinions will change quickly for the worse.
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.