Pros and cons of Denver Broncos head coaching finalists

Denver Broncos - Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) before their game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, October 21, 2019 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
Denver Broncos - Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) before their game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, October 21, 2019 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL /

The Denver Broncos have appeared to narrowed their head coaching search down to two finalists. What are the pros and cons of each coach?

It appears as if Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett are the two finalists for the Denver Broncos head coaching position.  

Nathaniel Hackett had his second-round interview in Denver on Monday, and Dan Quinn’s second-round interview is Tuesday.

Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell was also apparently a finalist,  but it is unknown whether the Denver Broncos want to interview him for a second time.

As of now, the two most likely candidates to be the next head coach of the Denver Broncos are Quinn and Hackett.

I’m glad these two are the finalists because it appeared that Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was impressing big time, but I personally do not see the appeal with him.

I don’t think the team can make a bad hire by choosing either Quinn or Hackett, but there are clear pros and cons to each coach that need to be talked about.

Pros and cons to Denver Broncos HC finalists

Dan Quinn

The pros for Dan Quinn seem obvious to me.

Firstly, he has head coaching experience, and it’s a widely held view that many coaches perform better during their second go-around as a head coach than their first.

Pete Carroll, Andy Reid, Bill Belichick, and Bruce Arians are all on their second stops as head coaches, and all four men are viewed as good coaches, at the least.  The argument here is that a failed first-time head coach often learns from their mistakes, and corrects them during their second stint.

Dan Quinn should be no different, but one thing about Quinn that does stick out is the success he enjoyed as the Atlanta Falcons head coach.

Quinn went 43-42 as head coach, lasting into his 6th season.  He got fired after an 0-5 start in 2020.

Dan Quinn also went to a Super Bowl in his second season, which most coaches can’t ever say.

Quinn’s first head coaching stop was largely a success.  It wasn’t excellent by any means, but it definitely wasn’t a failure.  His 3-2 postseason record also sticks out to me.

Another pro of Dan Quinn is his ability to connect with and bond with his players.  Many of his current players speak on this, and Micah Parsons specifically has said how badly he does not want Quinn to leave.

Quinn is seen as an excellent leader, one who can motivate and inspire.  In case you lived under a rock for the last three seasons, Vic Fangio was far from a leader.  He was dull and uninspiring in front of a microphone and constantly threw his players and coaches under the bus.  Quinn brings a leadership element that the Broncos haven’t seen in a while.

As for the cons, it remains to be seen how effective he can be as head coach again.  He struggled with time management during his time in Atlanta, and his teams often collapsed late in games.

He’s also a defensive mind, and I think some Broncos fans see that as a turnoff.

It remains to be seen if he can develop a quarterback as well.  The Broncos still can draft a quarterback, so how do we know if Quinn will be able to put the necessary coaches on his staff to develop a young signal-caller?

Quinn would not be a homerun hire, but he’s solid and could help dig the Broncos out of irrelevancy.

Nathaniel Hackett

The pros to Nathaniel Hackett are obvious.  He shares a clear connection with Aaron Rodgers, should he become available.

He also has a strong record of success.  He was the offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2017 when they made the AFC championship game.

He’s also been the offensive coordinator in Green Bay since 2019.  Aaron Rodgers has had the best two-year stretch of his career, and Hackett is the brains behind that offense.  Hackett is a young offensive mind, something the Broncos have not had in quite some time.

Hiring Hackett would follow the trend of teams hiring young, offensive coaches.

Just look at the four teams remaining in the NFL playoffs.  Three of them employ young offensive coaches.

Many of the teams who made the playoffs this year and in recent years past also have offensive head coaches.  That is the direction the NFL is going to, and it’s a copycat league, so the Broncos should consider following suit.

As for the pros, there is always a risk when a team hires a first-time head coach.  What if Hackett doesn’t have enough connections across the league to build a competent staff?  What if he can’t lead a team in general?  What if he’s too carefree?  What if he’s more of a manager and not a leader?

There are a plethora of unknowns when hiring a first-time head coach.  If it wasn’t for Joe Burrow, Zac Taylor probably would have been fired already.

Another unknown, though perhaps less known than Quinn, is Hackett’s potential ability to develop a young quarterback, if the Broncos decide to go that route.  I think the biggest attraction with Hackett is him potentially bringing Aaron Rodgers with him to Denver.

But, what if the Denver Broncos can’t land Rodgers in a trade?  Can we trust Hackett with another quarterback?

While there are more unknowns and more cons with Hackett than Quinn, I do truly believe he should be the hire in Denver.