Ding, ding, ding. Round one is over. The Broncos have completed their coaching staff.
Considering the team had many vacancies to fill including that of the head coaching spot, the Broncos got things done in a hurry. It took less than one month for them to wipe away most of the staff that started the 2010 season and replace them with “Elway’s guys.”
John Elway has been the face of the franchise for the past three decades, and going forward, things won’t change. He was hired as VP of Football Operations on January 5th, just three days after the Broncos final regular season game. However, it feels like he’s held some kind of power stick for a very long time.
When we think back to the good ole’ days, we think of Elway’s time under center. We think of playoff appearances and Super Bowl rings, and a home stadium that was filled to the Mile High brim every game. We think of sounds of Rocky Mountain Thunder that could probably be heard as far away as Kansas City.
It’s only fitting that John Elway is the one responsible for setting this new team up and off on the right foot.
The Broncos were a bit limited in terms of who they could interview for the head coaching position. This was due to the smaller pool of big-name candidates available this year and due to the fact that the Broncos just can’t afford a guy like Jon Gruden.
Of all the candidates that the Broncos interviewed, they picked the guy with the most NFL head coaching experience. The move strays away from the Josh McDaniels school of thought where hiring a successful coordinator, but inexperienced head coach was the way to go.
Elway knows the value of an experienced head coach and that’s why it was clear that John Fox was the right choice for the big job. Despite a 2-14 record with the Carolina Panthers in 2010, Fox is eight years removed from a Super Bowl appearance and six years removed from a conference championship appearance. He’s held a head coaching job since those playoff runs, and his focus is on the defensive side of the ball.
That was enough for Elway, Joe Ellis, and Brian Xanders to pull the trigger just a day after the initial interview.
Since then, it’s been the Four Horsemen (Ellis, Elway, Xanders, and Fox) that have worked day in and day out to set up their all-star coaching roster. They retained Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator and named Dennis Allen defensive coordinator. With new position coaches hired as well, the team’s roster development can begin.
Putting together the Broncos roster first entails evaluating the original talent (or lack thereof – however you perceive it). Fox hasn’t had the chance to do that yet since he’s been busy hiring his coaching staff. Now that the coaching hires are complete, the real work begins.
Along with looking at the current state of this Broncos team, the staff spent the beginning of this week at the Senior Bowl evaluating the upcoming talent. John Elway made the trip as well. When Elway was hired as VP, he said that he wanted to use the draft to start the rebuilding process of this franchise as opposed to the free agent market. With only six picks in this year’s draft, expect a lot of trades for picks so that the Broncos can beef up the defensive side of the ball whether they run the 3-4 or the 4-3.
It’s good to see Elway’s hand so heavily involved in this rebuilding process thus far. If he shows the same amount of competitiveness and grit in the front office as he did on the football field, then this franchise is on the upswing – in a Mile High Minute.
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