After firing Vic Fangio on Sunday, the Denver Broncos will now begin looking at potential head coach candidates to replace him. Here is Broncos Wire’s early list of six candidates the team should consider.
6. Patriots ILBs coach Jerod Mayo (35)
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Mayo would be a defensive-minded coach with just a few years of coaching experience. It’s hard to imagine Denver going from Fangio to another defensive-minded coach with no head coach experience, but NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero listed Mayo among the “names to watch,” so he’s obviously an candidate to keep an eye on. Mayo won a Super Bowl and earned two Pro Bowl nods as a linebacker with the Patriots from 2008-2015.
5. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (52)
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Bieniemy played college football for Colorado before going on to serve as running backs coach (2001-2002) for the Buffaloes and later as CU’s offensive coordinator (2011-2012). He joined the Chiefs as their RBs coach in 2013 and was promoted to OC in 2018. After coaching KC’s high-powered offense over the last four years, Bieniemy is considered a promising offensive-minded head coach candidate.
4. Cowboys OC Kellen Moore (33)
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A former quarterback-turned-coach, Moore is also considered an intriguing offensive-minded head coach candidate. Moore began his coaching career as QBs coach with the Cowboys in 2018 before being promoted to OC in 2019. Similar to Bieniemy coaching Patrick Mahomes, Moore has benefited from coaching Dak Prescott, but both are considered strong candidates nonetheless.
Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett (42)
Hackett is an experienced offensive coordinator who has coached with four different NFL teams dating back to 2006 (with a college football stint at Syracuse from 2010-2012). If the Broncos hire Hackett, they would be expected to also pursue the quarterback he’s coached since 2019.
2. Bucs OC Byron Leftwich (41)
(AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Another former QB-turned-coach, Leftwich played for five teams from 2003-2012 before retiring and transitioning to coaching. He started his coaching career as the Cardinals’ QBs coach in 2017 before being promoted to interim offensive coordinator in 2018 and then getting hired by the Bucs in 2019 to serve as their OC. He helped Tampa Bay win Super Bowl XLIII last season and he might be one of the top offensive-minded coach candidates available.
1. Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (51)
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Quinn is a defensive-minded coach, but unlike Fangio when he joined the Broncos, Quinn has experience as a head coach in the NFL. After serving as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator when Seattle dominated Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, Quinn became the Falcons’ head coach in 2015 and he helped Atlanta reach Super Bowl LI in 2016. Quinn went 43-42 with the Falcons before being fired last year. He’s now the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator and he helped Dallas beat the Saints 27-17 as an interim coach last month when Mike McCarthy was out with COVID-19.
Quinn is ranked No. 1 on our list because he wanted to work with current Broncos general manager George Paton when Quinn was a head coach candidate in 2015. Paton was waiting for the perfect opportunity (one he took with the Broncos in 2021), and he opted not to interview for either of the two GM openings in 2015. Quinn then accepted the Falcons’ job.
Paton (then as director of pro personnel) and Quinn (then as defensive line coach) worked together with the Dolphins from 2005-2006.
Now that Paton is running the show in Denver, Quinn will likely be considered one of the top coach candidates to watch.