Where Denver coaching search stands after two weeks


Ten things as Denver’s head coaching search plows into its third postseason week.

1. Two weeks and eight interviews are in the books for the Broncos in their search for a new head coach. There are seven remaining candidates with Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh out of the picture. Next up: Likely another round of interviews with a smaller group of finalists (or a finalist) in Denver in the coming week.

2. Denver could start bringing people in as soon as Monday, but with former New Orleans coach Sean Payton now reportedly backing his initial interview with Carolina up until Monday, sources familiar with the Broncos’ search say Denver’s next round of interviews could start closer to the middle of the week and go as late as Friday. Essentially, the search committee isn’t racing to finalize a hire just to get it done. Payton, in particular, is the biggest name on the market and it would be no surprise if his timeline has an impact on how teams with openings proceed.

3. Part of the benefit of bringing a candidate or candidates to Denver is the opportunity to meet with subsets of people and cover ground in more detail than a couple of hours in a hotel allows for. A year ago when Nathaniel Hackett came to the Broncos’ facility, he spent about eight hours on the ground. While the new ownership group may not structure on-site interviews in the same manner, they typically are more wide-ranging and provide a chance to meet others outside the search committee, potentially in more of a one-on-one environment, along with seeing the facilities and more.

4. Sunday brings a matchup of defensive coordinators who interviewed for the Broncos head coaching job when DeMeco Ryans’ San Francisco 49ers host Dan Quinn’s Dallas Cowboys. Ryans interviewed for the job Thursday in the Bay Area and Quinn on Friday in Texas. They are the last two of the Broncos’ seven candidates for the job who are still actively coaching this season. Quinn, of course, was also a finalist for the Broncos job last year.

5. One thing to keep in mind regarding Quinn and Ryans: Whichever team wins Sunday, that person will not be available for a second-round interview until after the NFC championship game next weekend. So if the group is adamant about speaking further with that candidate, the process would extend into the final week of January.

6. So far, Denver’s search is proceeding along a similar timeline to last year’s. Hackett ultimately agreed to terms with the Broncos on Jan. 27, 2022. Depending on exactly how the next few days unfold and how many people the search committee brings to Denver, CEO Greg Penner and company could find resolution on or around the same date a year later.

7. This year’s search has been different in several ways, too. Fewer candidates — eight initial interviews compared to 10 when general manager George Paton ran the process — and also a trend away from offensive coordinators without head coaching experience. Last year Denver interviewed five — Hackett, Eric Bieniemy, Kellen Moore, Brian Callahan and Kevin O’Connell — plus a then-quarterbacks coach in Luke Getsy. This year? Zero. Every offensive mind Denver spoke with over the past two weeks has been a head coach in the NFL or in college.


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