Denver Broncos: Brandon Staley hired, Ed Donatell to follow?

DENVER - 2009: Ed Donatell of the Denver Broncos poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by NFL Photos)
DENVER - 2009: Ed Donatell of the Denver Broncos poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by NFL Photos) /

The Denver Broncos’ new coaching staff under Vic Fangio is taking shape, and in addition to hiring Brandon Staley, Ed Donatell could return.

Vic Fangio is filling out his coaching staff with the Denver Broncos and has just filled a position that was previously a part-time position for the Broncos in 2018.

The Broncos didn’t have a full-time outside linebackers coach in 2018, but instead chose to have their pass rushers spend time with Reggie Herring (inside linebackers), Bill Kollar (defensive line), and DeMarcus Ware (part-time pass rush consultant).

This season, the Broncos have hired 14-year coaching veteran Brandon Staley — the Chicago Bears’ most recent OLBs coach — to be their new coach in the same role.

Staley and Fangio helped get the Bears’ pass rush near the top of the NFL this past season, as they ranked second in the league in sacks and had the third-most sacks (51) from their linebackers since the start of the 2017 season.

Prior to joining the Bears in 2017, Staley had been an assistant at the collegiate level for a number of schools. One interesting connection at one of his stops — Tennessee in 2012 under Derek Dooley — was with current Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson.

Johnson led the SEC with 138 tackles in 2012 with Staley coaching the Vols’ inside linebackers.

Staley is a very intriguing coaching addition but a more familiar name for Broncos fans is that of Ed Donatell, the secondary coach for the Broncos from 1995-99 and then again in 2010.

Donatell is reportedly interviewing with the Broncos again, but this time to take on the role of ‘defensive coordinator’. Since that position is likely to be Vic Fangio’s area, Donatell would be defensive coordinator by name and perhaps more of a defensive backs coach with a prominent voice in game-planning.

Donatell has held the role of defensive coordinator three times in the past with the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, and Washington Redskins.

He would potentially be a nice recruiting chip for some of the impending Chicago Bears free agent defensive backs (hello Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos) if they hit the market.

As if Fangio wasn’t a strong enough recruiting chip himself.

Donatell would be returning for a third stint in Denver and yet another stop working with Fangio. He worked with Fangio in Chicago and San Francisco as well, and the two have worked incredibly well together.

This seems like it would be an ideal match for everyone involved.

The Broncos have taken much of the Bears’ 2017 coaching staff for their own. Curtis Modkins was the Bears’ running backs coach, and Zach Azzani was their wide receivers coach.

Fangio was their defensive coordinator and Staley their outside linebackers coach. Now Donatell, their defensive backs coach, could be joining them all in Denver.

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The Broncos’ coaching staff certainly has a Windy City flavor to it.