Denver Broncos defensive coordinator search takes bizarre turn

Sayre Bedinger
Rex Ryan, Denver Broncos DC candidate
Rex Ryan, Denver Broncos DC candidate / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos' search for a defensive coordinator has taken a bizarre turn. As a matter of fact, you might even say it's taken a couple of bizarre turns. The search for coordinators on Sean Payton's Denver Broncos staff -- whether offensively or defensively -- has certainly been a long, extensive process. On the defensive side, the top names we've heard about so far have been names like Sean Desai, perhaps Vic Fangio (who was hired by the Dolphins), Ejiro Evero (who was hired by the Panthers), and some others.

And by "some others" I, of course, mean that the Broncos have thrown some shocking names into the ring, including former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan and now? Former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph.

Denver Broncos considering Rex Ryan, Vance Joseph for DC position

This news was shocking enough, but perhaps even more shocking considering it came on the heels of a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that Rex Ryan had emerged as perhaps the top candidate for the defensive coordinator position on Sean Payton's staff.

This offseason has already been a wild ride, hasn't it? The fact that the Denver Broncos now have Sean Payton -- the guy who coached the Saints for 15 years -- as their head coach has been arguably the least surprising thing to happen. How can we forget that they had to trade a first and second-round pick to get him?

After Payton was hired, it sounded like there was a decent chance Vic Fangio was actually considering a return to the Denver Broncos. He was reportedly going to be part of an all-star staff that Payton had been assembling behind the scenes while working at FOX, but obviously Payton taking the Denver job -- and perhaps the length of that process -- played into Fangio going elsewhere.

The shock factor of the 2023 offseason has borderline been unprecedented.

1. Sean Payton leaving the Saints to become the Broncos HC
2. The Broncos trading multiple high picks to acquire Payton
3. Vic Fangio nearly returning to Denver as DC
4. Ejiro Evero leaving for the Panthers
5. Nathaniel Hackett quickly resurfacing with the Jets
6. Derek Carr being released by the Raiders
7. Chiefs winning the Super Bowl
8. Rex Ryan emerging as a top candidate for Broncos DC
9. Vance Joseph interview requested by the Broncos (again)

It's hard to top all of that, isn't it? And yet here we are, with the Denver Broncos potentially close to hiring Rex Ryan as their defensive coordinator, a title he has not held since 2008. Ryan is obviously a longtime professional coach, so he's not without merit, but he's also been out of the NFL since 2016. It's fair to be a bit skeptical of the idea initially, at least.

Certainly, the folks at HBO are going to want the Denver Broncos as the subject of Hard Knocks and maybe not just for the preseason but perhaps the entire season.

Sean Payton has yet to make many "official" hires to his staff. We know Zach Strief is coming aboard as the offensive line coach, although that hasn't been announced yet by the Denver Broncos. Things have been hush-hush throughout the whole process, and that's how the Broncos really want it.

How will Broncos Country react to the idea of Vance Joseph coming aboard as a defensive coordinator? Or even Rex Ryan for that matter? At this point, it's almost like the Broncos will only be making somewhat of a stunning move at the DC spot, and we haven't even really gotten into who could be the OC just yet. I'm sure those options are equally stunning.

Next. 5 offensive coordinator ideas for Sean Payton and the Broncos. light