By Marc Mandell @Mandell_W on Twitter/360Sports Review on Facebook
I’m sure that most of us have an idea of who John Elway is looking to hire as a replacement for Gary Kubiak. The list is; Kyle Shanahan, Vance Joseph, and Dave Toub. This isn’t necessarily the order in which Elway has placed the potential candidates however. I did want to take a quick moment and give some perspective on these three and let you know what you might expect from the next Head Coach, the 16th, for our Denver Broncos.
Head Coach: Needs to be a leader of men, and have a wonderful ability to delegate responsibility. As well as allowing those hired to complete their tasks without micro management. Listening, communication, and humility. These are the traits of a successful HC.
Kyle Shanahan The son of Mike, has played a roll in some successful offenses, namely Atlanta’s this season. He is a young talent that is arguably the hottest name floating around for the next Head Coach. He already has 4 interviews this week! He is a hot name because the league has been watching the maturation of the young Shanahan for 4 or 5 years now. Every new job, brings rumblings of another newer, higher quality one. He has been increasingly desired and for good reason. Atlanta is an excellent example. He took Matty Ice, who hasn’t really done much aside from implode every year, to running for MVP. The running game has spiked, with creative blocking for the O-Line and much more comfortable running backs. It shows that he can adjust to his team, and lead them to winning. The Falcons are in the top 5 list of offenses this year, and are in their bye week for the playoffs. Vast improvement for the team I’d say. Quality: From Shanahan, is his knowledge for offense, something the Broncos neeeeeed to fix for next year, as well as offensive creativity and the ability in connecting with both young and older players. Getting them to buy into his scheme and system is the other thing Denver’s offense could use a strong dose of. Question: From Kyle is age, and ability to lead a team, not just an offense. Can he be a head coach? If there was ever a time to find out, and whether he is in Denver or elsewhere, now is it. Result: Shanahan will struggle with micro management, but if he can get it figured out, will be a 10-6 coach in Denver next year.
Vance Joseph. If you recall this is the guy that Denver wanted for the DC position a couple years ago, but ended up “settling” with Wade Phillips. Two years ago, Cincinnati wouldn’t allow the Broncos brass permission to speak with him. Instead, last year when our old friend Adam Gase got his first HC gig in Miami, he was able to court Vance to be his DC. Vance has been on the radar for a number of teams the last couple of years. He seems to have that HC aura, and those that have worked both with him and for him have terrific things to say about him. Quality: Seems to have HC abilities and carries himself in the appropriate way. Would probably try hire Wade Phillips back, as they have worked together in the past and have a mutual respect for one another. Wouldn’t micromanage his coordinators and be the leader that the team needs. Question: Much like Shanahan, it’s experience. He has been a coordinator, but never had the responsibility of a HC. He is relatively young, which will most likely be the direction Elway will be headed in. An open minded coach, but with out HC experience. Result: 9-7 season, with some flashes of brilliance and shadows of question. Trending in the right direction though.
Now before we continue, I feel like Denver is at a red light, and can go one of two ways. The first is to use Siemian, or go get a Tony Romo type and continue to chase another ring. Which is typically what Elway is all about, winning right now. With this defense, the window is still open. The other direction is that the team decides to try and develop Paxton Lynch. According to most, he is still 2-3 years away from being a full-time top 20 QB. Jared Goff, the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft is a project, as well as Carson Wentz. Why would Lynch be any different? Lynch is gifted, but hardly disciplined or even experienced.
I keep getting the feeling that Elway is wanting a coach that will………do his bidding, kind of. Elway moved up in the Draft to get this kid and he did so in the 1st round. Not the 2nd or 3rd or 4th, the 1st. He doesn’t want to be wrong. What makes me nervous is that, as a Denver sports fan, there is another team in the mile high city that works this way? The way of, do what I want no matter what, or leave. The Rockies, and the Rockies have never been a poster child for, I don’t know… winning. That’s why this head coaching hire is going to be very, very telling to us fans as to what Elway is up to. Will he stand by his traditional ways of winning right now? Or will he demand his new coach to try and rush the development of HIS young QB, at the risk of missing this championship window by wasting the defense that is still a top 5 squad? To me it’s about winning right now. Go get Romo, continue to use Siemian, and don’t worry about the Memphis project. He is cheap and will be on the roster for 4 more years. Let’s win now. Just something to keep an eye on.
Back to the last candidate for Head Coach.
Dave Toub. This one is a little curious to me, as Dave Toub is the special teams coordinator in KC. Special teams coaches have never struck me as a potential head coach material because, well frankly it’s not as sexy as an offensive or defensive coordinator. That was until I found out 2 things, the first is what part they have on a team, and second is which current head coaches started as special teams guys. The biggest name on that list? John Harbaugh, the current head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. He was the special teams coach on the Eagles for 9 years. Oh, and can you guess who his head coach was at the time? Andy Reid. The current head coach of the Chiefs and boss to Dave Toub. The thing that a SPTC bring to the table isn’t as biased toward the offense or defense as the appropriate coordinators are. Special team guys have their hands in all the pots, providing both offensive and defensive mindsets to his guys. Successful SPTC’s show flexibility and discipline. Would Toub be a good fit here in Denver? Quality: he seems to know how to manage his players and he is able to put them in the best positions to be successful. I’m choosing to ignore Tyreek Hill, because if you can’t get Hill to be successful, you need to consider a different profession. Aside from Hill, Toub, has a solid special teams group and his guys seem to respect him, as well as his head coach. Question: Is whether he can go from SPTC to HC smoothly and successfully. Harbaugh became a defensive backs coach before his HC gig in Baltimore, which I believe was more quality of an experience than some would think. Result: much like Vance Joseph with a 9-7 season, however his trend would be pointing down rather than up with Vance.
By the end of this search I feel it will be a Vance Joseph led team, with Mike McCoy as the OC. I really hope that Wade Phillips will be back but I know that Washington is calling his name quite loudly. I think Joseph has been Elway’s guy for a couple of years now, and after missing out on him for DC job in 2014, I feel he won’t pull a single punch to get him this time.
My view on Shanahan is that he will be a good head coach, even if he was in Denver. However, hang with me here, if Shanahan was hired and it didn’t go well, it would be so much more difficult to fire him because of all the attachments and connections that the Shanahan family and the Denver Broncos have. Kyle went to Cherry Creek High school, and married his high school sweetheart. Elway watched Kyle grow up, and Kyle watched his dad take the Broncos to winning back to back SuperBowls. To have to fire him would be difficult and would most certainly leave both parties with bridges burned. All while the fans watch the soap opera play out on Twitter and local media outlets. Vance Joseph is a hire that makes sense, yet has zero connections to Denver fans and Broncos Brass. Where Shanahan is an easy hire, Joseph would be a much easier fire. Falling in love is always far simpler than the break up, especially with a past fling. Tell me I’m wrong.
Who do you want to succeed Coach Kubiak? Is it Shanahan, or Vance, or even Toub from KC? Is it someone I haven’t mentioned? Let me know who you want to see at the helm. I’ll entertain the thought at the very least.