Coming into the 2022 NFL season, the Denver Broncos were viewed as a team who could legitimately make the postseason, and possibly make a run deep into the playoffs.
The playoffs are set to begin this weekend, and the Broncos are not a part of the field thanks to their 5-12 record. High expectations and lackluster results are usually a recipe for disaster in terms of NFL job security, and the Broncos decided to let head coach Nathaniel Hackett go after just 15 games.
With a roster that appears ready to win now, the Broncos will look to replace Hackett with candidates who have some sort of track record in hopes of bouncing back next year.
We’ll look at three coaches they should target for their vacancy.
Many times in the NFL, franchises like to switch up the specialty of their outbound head coach with someone who brings expertise in the other side of the ball. The Broncos hired Hackett last year thinking that he would help jolt their offense, considering Hackett’s previous NFL experience. That obviously did not work out, so the Broncos may now be inclined to bring in someone who has cut their teeth on the defensive side of the ball.
Enter Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who has a reputation of leading notable units such as the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” last decade, or a strong Dallas unit this year. As head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, Quinn led the franchise to a Super Bowl appearance. Additionally, Quinn has ties to current Denver quarterback Russell Wilson dating back to their Seattle days, which would help Quinn have instant credibility in the locker room.
One of the biggest names in the hiring circuit this year is former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. He spent this season working with FOX Sports as a studio analyst, but appears ready to get back on to the NFL sidelines. The pursuit of his services is going to be very interesting, considering that the Saints still retain Payton’s rights. The former Super Bowl winning head coach retired and was not let go by the organization, meaning that a team who wants to hire him may have to part ways with draft picks.
The Broncos do not have a lot of attractive capital in that regard, since they sent players and picks to Seattle to acquire Russell Wilson. However, Payton might be the best candidate out there, and Denver might be willing to do whatever it takes to land him.
It would certainly make a lot of head lines if current University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh returned to the NFL. He had many great years in the same capacity leading the San Francisco 49ers, and would be someone who could be a catalyst for a return to glory in 2023.
Harbaugh’s conviction and acumen helped San Francisco resuscitate a mediocre situation under center with Alex Smith, and it stands to reason that he could do the same thing in Denver with Russell Wilson. It might take a lot to convince Harbaugh to leave one of the best college programs in America, but he has done it before, leaving the Stanford job to coach the 49ers.