Ten things about the Broncos’ coaching search and the NFL’s overall carousel:
1. As of mid-day Wednesday, general manager George Paton was on Day 18 of his search, the starting point being Jan. 9 when coach Vic Fangio was fired. Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has been the only one of the 10 candidates to receive a second interview; he visited the team facility Monday.
2. The Broncos aren’t in a rush … and don’t need to be. Amazingly, that remains the case two-plus weeks after the regular season. This game of musical chairs is unlike any in my memory covering the NFL. Back in the old days (like up until last year), teams raced through their interviews to get a hire made. Maybe teams have learned from their previous mistakes and see the value in being exhaustive in their searches.
3. Number of openings over the last five years: 2017 — seven; 2018 — eight; 2020 — six; 2021 — seven; and nine (!) this year after New Orleans coach Sean Payton resigned on Tuesday. A remarkable amount of turnover.
4. Is Paton being patient or indecisive? Until I hear otherwise, I will go with “patient.” Patient in wanting to interview 10 candidates and not rushing into second interviews. The benefit of the interviews: Intel. Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon could have been asked for his thoughts on the Broncos’ offensive personnel. Same for their defensive personnel when they met with Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
5. Is it surprising Dan Quinn hasn’t visited for a second interview? Yes and no. Yes — he has other suitors so if he was the Broncos’ Plan A, it would have made sense to get him into town and get a deal done. No — Paton and Quinn have known each other for nearly 20 years, so they don’t exactly need a second in-person meeting to see if they have a rapport; that may have been one of the objectives in hosting Hackett on Monday.
6. Since meeting with the Broncos on Jan. 18, Quinn has met with Miami, Minnesota, the New York Giants and, for a second time on Wednesday, Chicago. Does Quinn even want the Broncos’ job? Only he knows, but he should consider the landscape if, for example, he gets offers from the Broncos and Bears. Chicago plays in the NFC North, which has Detroit (rebuilding), Minnesota (in transition) and Green Bay (quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ status is unclear). In the AFC West, Quinn would have to scheme six times against Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr.
7. Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell remains the wild card finalist, mostly because I know the least about him and what his scheme and coaching staff would look like. The Rams’ win at Tampa Bay on Sunday threw a wrench into the Broncos wanting to meet quickly with O’Connell for a second time. The earliest they can meet is Monday after the Rams host San Francisco in the NFC title game.
8. Another hiccup was Cincinnati upsetting Tennessee; the Broncos were able to only conduct a video conference with offensive coordinator Brian Callahan last week and might have wanted to meet in-person had the Bengals lost.
9. The Giants (Joe Schoen), Chicago (Ryan Poles) and Minnesota (Kwesi Adofo-Mensah) have filled their general manager openings, so expect their head-coaching search to heat up. Jacksonville is the only team to have gone stealth during the search; its team website and Twitter pages have not announced any completed interviews. Amateur hour.
10. Not shockingly, it’s tough to project what Las Vegas owner Mark Davis is up to. He turned in a permission slip to the league for a general manager candidate before the building knew Mike Mayock was fired. Their general manager search is up to eight candidates. And the Raiders have only interviewed interim coach Rich Bisaccia and New England inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo (who also met with the Broncos) for the full-time job.
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