Broncos could be making a huge mistake in latest head coach search

Sayre Bedinger
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson is congratulated after Saturday night's win over the Tennessee Titans. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Tennessee Titans to decide the AFC South championship at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL, Saturday, January 7, 2023. The Jaguars went into the half trailing 7 to 13 but came back to win with a final score of 20 to 16. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]Jki 010723 Bs Jaguars Vs T 12
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson is congratulated after Saturday night's win over the Tennessee Titans. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Tennessee Titans to decide the AFC South championship at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL, Saturday, January 7, 2023. The Jaguars went into the half trailing 7 to 13 but came back to win with a final score of 20 to 16. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]Jki 010723 Bs Jaguars Vs T 12 /
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It’s very possible the Denver Broncos are making a terrible mistake with their 2023 head coaching search, which is officially underway. The Broncos held their first interview of the cycle on Monday with Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh. The second interview taking place is Tuesday with the team’s current defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

As of right now, a list of six candidates has emerged and it looks like the Broncos could keep the list limited to those six guys. Those six candidates?

  • Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
  • Ejiro Evero, Denver Broncos
  • DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco 49ers
  • Raheem Morris, Los Angeles Rams
  • Dan Quinn, Dallas Cowboys
  • Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

What mistake is the Denver Broncos ownership group potentially making?

This is a rather good-looking list of candidates, to be honest with you. The Broncos seem to be interviewing (or have requested to interview) a number of the hottest head coach candidates in this year’s cycle as far as first-time HCs go (Evero, Ryans) and they also appear poised to take big swings on guys like Harbaugh and Payton.

There’s no problem with the guys on the list, exactly, but some of the guys who are not on the list.

Why is the team not interviewing Shane Steichen, who has helped develop Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts the last handful of years?

Why is the team not interviewing Ken Dorsey, who has been part of developing Josh Allen and has worked for two really good coaches in Sean McDermott and Brian Daboll?

Why is the team not interviewing Ben Johnson, who took the Detroit Lions’ offense to the next level in 2022?

Why are we making a big fuss about this in the first place? Well, the Broncos sort of have a history here of not interviewing some of the best candidates in a respective cycle, or interviewing some of the best candidates and not picking them.

2017:

  • Broncos hired Vance Joseph
  • Interviewed but did not hire Kyle Shanahan
  • Did not interview Sean McVay
  • Did not interview Sean McDermott

2019:

  • Broncos hired Vic Fangio
  • Did not interview Matt LaFleur
  • Did not interview Dan Campbell
  • Interviewed but did not hire Zac Taylor

2022:

  • Broncos hired Nathaniel Hackett
  • Did not interview Mike McDaniel
  • Did not interview Doug Pederson
  • Did not interview Brian Daboll
  • Interviewed but did not hire Kevin O’Connell

The Broncos had very narrow coach searches in 2017 and 2019 under John Elway and Joe Ellis. In 2022, George Paton cast a wider net, but apparently didn’t cast it wide enough, missing out on three coaches who made it to the playoffs in 2022. That includes Doug Pederson, a coach the Broncos didn’t even speak with, who apparently wanted the Denver job…

But you can see where I am going with this. The Broncos have a relatively limited search going on right now and they certainly have every right to add to it or even subtract if they feel they’ve found the right guy. This is Greg Penner’s search, not mine.

It just seems like, for a variety of reasons, the team and prospective candidates could benefit by meeting one another and talking through the job opening. What’s their outside perception of the Broncos? What did they notice about Russell Wilson in 2022 and how would they “fix” him in 2023? Getting that unbiased perspective wouldn’t be bad education for someone like Penner, or even George Paton as he goes about constructing the roster for 2023.

What could it hurt the ownership group to talk to Frank Reich about getting Russ back on track? I’m honestly not sure, but then again, I’m not conducting the search for the team’s next head coach.

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