Happy New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, friends. Since it’s also Black Monday, and there have been a lot of firings today, the speculation has started to ramp up regarding who will be getting specific jobs in specific places.
That has led to speculation that Mike McCoy and/or Jack Del Rio will be getting head coaching positions, and it follows that Broncos fans want to speculate on who’d replace them.
One thing I want to say here is let’s just chill for a hot minute. There’s no guarantee that a team will want to hire either coach, and further, they may not want to take a bad job if one is offered. Remember, the fact that either coach may not be able to start work until February 4th is working in favor of the Broncos. A hiring team is going to have to really want McCoy or Del Rio to sacrifice having their guy in place for a lot of key offseason work-ups.
If the Broncos do lose one or both, I’m here to tell you that the names that people are throwing out are probably the wrong ones. If you’re thinking that the Broncos will be looking for big names, you should probably figure again.
This year’s Broncos are at the top of the NFL offensively, finishing fourth in yards and second in points. (They’re third in offensive scoring, if you take away the 60 points the defense and special teams are responsible for.) On defense, they’re second in yards and fourth in scoring.
That makes the Broncos the only team in the NFL that’s in the top five in both yards gained and allowed. Houston is the only other team in the top ten in both, finishing seventh in each category. The Broncos are also the only other team that’s in the top five in both scoring offense and defense. (The rest of the best teams in the NFL – New England, Atlanta, Houston, and Seattle - are all in the top ten of both categories.)
This team is doing the right things on both sides of the ball, and it has the right players and schemes in place. The last thing they’d want to do is hire a Lovie Smith to run the defense. He’s a scheme guy, a devotee of the Tampa 2. Playing Tampa 2 with Von Miller on the roster would be insane. I realize that Lovie is a name you know, but the Broncos aren’t going to want to completely change a scheme that has been terrific this year. Chill out, and stop being absurd. Besides, word is he's already been contacted by four teams about filling their new head coaching vacancies.
An even more absurd name that I’ve seen on Twitter is Norv Turner as offensive coordinator. He’s the dictionary definition of a scheme guy, and what’s more, he believes in not counting on the QB to audible or even use a check-with-me system. A cursory look at the roster shows one guy on the Broncos who has ever played in Turner’s Air Coryell scheme – Jacob Hester. It’s highly unlikely that the Broncos would hire Turner to make Hester comfortable. As for Peyton Manning, Norv might be the single worst fit among all football coaches walking the planet.
If Del Rio leaves, I could see a possible outsider coming in, but it would almost certainly have to be somebody who isn’t married to some specific scheme. For one thing, that’s not how John Fox rolls, and for another, what the Broncos are doing now is working just fine. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If the Broncos stay internal, linebackers coach Richard Smith has been a coordinator before, and secondary coach Ron Milus is well-regarded. Do you want a real dark horse outsider? How about Romeo Crennel? He’s very close with Fox personally, and he’s made a career out of being able to work with a lot of different types of talent. Crennel’s scheming against the pass is outstanding, and as a bonus, he’s never going to be a head coach again, so there’s virtually no threat of losing him that way.
If McCoy leaves, I could see Tom Moore being hired, if he isn’t made the offensive coordinator in Tennessee. Clyde Christensen could also be hired away from the Colts, or (most likely) Adam Gase could be promoted from the current staff. Whoever comes aboard, continuity will be most important.
It’s fun to speculate, but let’s wait and see if either coordinator is invited to leave, and actually wants to do so. By the time that happens, we’ll have a better sense of which assistants are on the market, and we can make a more educated guess, if one is even needed.