Denver Broncos blog, news and rumors

John Elway and Pat Bowlen gather for a photo during and NFL news conference. (AP Photo/ Ed Andrieski)

John Elway and Pat Bowlen gather for a photo during and NFL news conference. (AP Photo/ Ed Andrieski)

Jim Harbaugh is out, Leslie Frazier is out, Jason Garrett is out, Gary Kubiak is out, Ron Rivera is out.

Mike Mularkey postponed his interview with the Denver Broncos until after the Atlanta Falcons are finished with the playoffs.

That leaves two of the original five expected to interview for the Broncos head coaching position: Eric Studesvilles and Perry Fewell. If you’re keeping count that’s a total of three former Buffalo Bills (if you count the recently self removed Gregg Williams) head coaches and two former interim coaches along with John Fox who has yet to interview, but is on the list as soon as the snow cooperates.

Now we have former Broncos offensive coordinators Rick Dennison and Jim Fassel (hopefully) thrown into the mix, Dennison is thus far the only coach in that group to have interviewed for Denver’s previous coaching vacancy which championed Josh McDaniels. For the most part the other coaches who interviewed for the position that the (forced) departure of Mike Shanahan created have ended up on their feet: Steve Spagnuolo (St. Louis Rams), Raheem Morris (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Frazier (Minnesota Vikings), and Garrett (Dallas Cowboys). It seems as if McDaniels was the only one of the group to not make his team better.Or was he?

There had been whispers and gripes amongst fans during the season that at some point Pat Bowlen handed over control of the team to Joe Ellis creating quite the side eye and near irrational demands amongst fans that led to an abrupt third quarter of the season seizure of the control of the team by Ellis/Bowlen from McDaniels. Was it McDaniels that failed or was he just allowed enough rope to hang himself with in order to make a larger point? On January 5th, 2011 Ellis’ role switched from Chief Operating Officer to President (formerly held by Bowlen) officially.

Enter John Elway.

Elway, like McDaniels was, is a winner.

Elway, like McDaniels was, is untested and unproven.

Is Elway, like McDaniels a further reiteration of a point that’s yet to be made?

The Broncos; unlike in 2008, are lining up coaches that really have no business being first options. Officially there has been no mention of Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden (staples in all recent off-season coaching hunt suggestions), the only real clue given is one by Elway who stated that the team was looking for someone with head coaching experience, whether it be in college or the NFL. Hello everyone on the entire potential coaches list (except Dennison)!

I guess, a more advised (and more hopeful) statement would have been to say that the Broncos were looking for a proven winner. Ellis let fans know that money was not the issue and with money not being the issue then why aren’t Gruden and Cowher on the plate for interviews? Old friend Marty Schotenheimer, Brian Billick, heck Bill Parcells even? Is the team really looking for a cure or merely a band-aid that they can cross their fingers and be hopeful that it will actually heal the wound instead of add another scar this time? I don’t see the problem in handing over control of a team if the person is proven. It makes far more sense than keeping it with someone who has no experience in personnel decisions.

I digress, the search goes on and there will be more surprise announcements. Some of the list will thin, there will be new additions and as the Super Bowl commences hopefully the team will have someone hired. Yes, with Elway involved there is always hope, but with this new era it’s hard to have. This whole thing feels more like the new Broncos than the old Broncos. The one thing that should be observed is that amongst those teams with coaching vacancies heading into the off-season (Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers) is who gets the more desired head coach, because a year or two ago there would have been absolutely no question who the more desired franchise to work for would be and unless something has happened that fans are unaware of publicly then that choice franchise would still be Denver.

  • Gbrider61

    I could see Fox as HC and Fassel as OC

  • Mattzaff

    i like perry fewell. look at the way the giants defense tore people apart this season. with a strong defensive draft and at least 5 meaningful picks this draft, we need to rebuild our defense, focus on that. tebow gets time to learn, we've got the receiving corp already, with another strong back (or two) from next yrs draft, i think we could have a very solid playoff contending 2012 team.

  • glaxsnax

    Well spoken, but incorrect. John Elway has said that time and patience will be needed to find Denver's next Head Coach (paraphrased). Wanting a coach with a defensive background does not preclude Dennison. Nor does wanting a coach with HC experience. What is wanted does not denote a “parameter”. The only thing I've heard from Elway is that the organization will take as much time and money as needed to find Denver's next Head Coach.

    It is sad that your seemingly diplomatic comments are only a guise to you being the first to cast a stone should anything go wrong for Elway.

    Denver needs the “Broncos Way” and that way will be the El Way. Dennison is just what we need on the sidelines in my opinion and I can only hope John feels that Rick is the Broncos-El-Way incarnate.

    Your comment was a bad one. You expressed nothing meaningful, owned no true opinion of your own, and used the term “we” instead of I as if your some wannabe sports journalist speaking for all the fans. Post again when you grow a spine or start bleeding Orange and Blue.

    Wow, this is fun again…lol

  • BroncoMan24

    Yeah I know. Although he did take an expansion team to the NFC championship game in their 2nd year. Carolina does have poor management and think that helped as well. That is why I think Fox wouldn't be a bad choice as well. With a good staff surrounding them, I think both could do well.

  • Mattzaff

    defense defense! i like fairly as a first round pick. coupled with dumervile, and with bannan and mays on rotation… wow talk about pass rush. obviously cb is another priority pick but i also feel we can address this issue in free agency. getting a cb in round two is okay we can continue to develop these players. Laramiefan you say we need to create respect for the run? why? kyle orton beasted on defenses early in the season. he finally got hit one to many times lost confidence. can you blame him? i for one give a lot of props to kyle orton. (and mcdaniels, remember its kyle orton) so with a mobile tebow, and a hopefully healthy backfield of mareno, lendale white, laurency maurony, lance ball. and correll buckhalter, i dont think we need to address rb as much as we do the defense. sure if theres a beast some where in round three or four i think it might be an option.

  • Mattzaff

    yeah and payton hillis. wow what a dumb move.

  • 5280

    this article is too figgity. to anxious. Denver will be okay. u just gotta give it time. I, personally, want capers as HC. i hope he interviews. I also think mularkey would be a great fit. I'm gonna throw out a theory here and i want you guys to mull it over. it seems as though elway has somewhat slowed down the pace on the search recently and the list isn't getting smaller but its lagging. could it be that elway is stalling as much as he can so that the falcons can either lose or win the super bowl so that he can get his chance to get mularkey? I mean mularkey was the top guy on the list besides harbaugh and now that he's postponed it seems like the urgency in the seach has fallen off. i mean, thats fine with me. I'd be satified with mularkey and i believe that no matter how long it takes theres a slew of good coaches and coordinators out there so i don't really think it matters. i think most fans right now are getting their nikkers in a twist for nothing and just really need to calm down. Theres a lot more to take care of then just the head coaching job. I also think that the 2nd pick overall in the draft should be spent on marcel darius and then we should trade back down into the 1st to getany one of the top DE's or DT's that are left. we dont just need to fine tune the Defence. We ne to draft players to start building around on defence and that should always start with ur DT's. if we develop a strong, sturdy, run stopping front D line, we can pick up more pieces as we go.

  • flbronc

    i like fairly too, but i think he might have played himself into the number one overall spot on monday.

  • anthony33

    Well it looks like Cleveland is going with Shummur (sp) – Rams OC – which is a bit surprising.

    It will be interesting to see if Mualrkey does indeed interview with the Broncos. I'll say this: if he did indeed bag the first interview so he could focus on the Falcons, then my respect for him went up a few notches.

  • Laramiefan

    Defense is the most important issue in the Broncos draft but I cannot stand to watch the Broncos running backs waste a down making two yards a carry . It sure makes it easy for the opposition to conduct a pass rush . How many times have the Broncos lost when they had a running back carry for a hundred yards ?

  • areferee

    Glad I could help! :-)

    I don't disagree with your opinions, except perhaps the wannabe journalist part. I'm just a fan. The “we” was a reference to other fans.

    I don't have a preference for head coach. As I stated, each brings certain qualities to the job. My preference as a man would be Dennison, and he may well be the choice.

    My concern, as stated, is that we get behind the selection with our full support. It sounds like it will be quite a task, considering all the difference of opinion and the waning support for Elway's qualifications.

    Your expertise in writing the lines exceeds your ability to read between them. Your turn…

  • LevonZevon

    McNeidermier failed, he lied and he scapegoated others (like Nolan).

    We failed to interview Rex Ryan and now we don't even interview his brother Rob (who is also schooled in blitz-packages).

    All those years with Champ and we never did what Rex does with Revis (to basically allow an extra-defender at Safety to rove around, blitz the passer, blow up screens or be an unblocked run-supporter).

    Yet Champ was every bit as good as Revis was (and is still playing great, if somewhat more injury-prone). Too bad, we squandered his prime years the way Reeves squandered Elway's by only unshackling him on 3rd down after the defense brought in substitutions.

    If only we had defensive-minded head-coaches who did more than talk about attacking defenses (while actually telling their players to keep everything in front of them and never unnerving the opposition's QB).

    15 years of this bland Cover-2 defenses, even though the one game in 20 we finally blitz early-and-often always pays off handsomely? WHYYYYYYYYYY?

    Can't we try it the other for for a season and see how many extra wins, extra pass-pressures, extra turnovers and extra-motivated defensive squads we can finally see? There's no rule, after all, that D.J. Willliams can only be blitzed 10 times a season.

    Look at how Philly's Mike Vick was so prepared to be blitzed in the first-half that he never went deep. That's because a blitzing defense like Green Bay gets into an offense's head so much that even uncharacteristically holding-back pays dividends. But teams count on us not blitzing and get comfortable going through all their reads consistently (and primarily because we hire ego-maniac offensive head-coaches who want to use all their gambles on offense).

    McDaniels even virtually invited other teams to blitz us by ignoring Scheffler and never replacing him at pass-catching TE(thus giving oppossing Safeties nothing to worry about deep… what with Orton and now Tebow's difficulties throwing accurately down-the-seam).

    Yet Pat Bowlen surrounds himself with people who fail to notice the higher rates of success for coaches who share Rex Ryan, Dom Capers or late Eagles Def. Coordinator Jimmy Johnson's philosophy.

    Its always someone who puts their chips down on some supposedly-unique offensive philosophy. Dennison will bring back zone-blocking, but that requires finding a late-round gem that even Shanahan lost his touch in locating around 2005.

    Fox is tired and will just play the same conventional football as his peers (even if he'll likely not alienate the players by demanding such Napoleonic and thin-skinned subservience that anyone who questions him is shown the door).

    But Rob Ryan grew up with Rex and Buddy's outstanding knowledge of morale-boosting attacking defenses. He'll be a players coach and his Browns squads over-performed until the last two weeks when they had mentally-checked out for Mangini.

    If he can't get Bailey back to be our Revis, he can be the perfect head-coach to utilize Peterson or that Nebraska Prince at CB the same way (and maybe starting man-to-man on their #2 WR while we double their #1)..

    Or he can build a Revis-based defense around Peterson and allow a safety to roam the way that Ryan has done so successfully.

  • LevonZevon

    McDaniels personnel moves are the real reason he was fired. He did prepare the team well for eventualities. But his coaching also lacked the killer instinct and was too risk-averse (and his ignorance of the TE/Safety relationship was so bizarre… especially as his mentor Mr, Bill brought ijn two pass-catching TE's in addition to Alge Crumpler in one off-season) .

    Imagine how many coaches would want this job if Cutler was allowed some say in the last head-coach and we selected Morris, Garrett or Spagnuolo? Actually, we probably wouldn't be looking to replace them now.

    But I think it'll be interesting what happens in Green Bay beats Atlanta. Cleveland hasn't named a head-coach so they are also waiting for this outcome and I imagine that Mularkey would prefer to work for Holmgren and a better offensive-line.

    But Mularkey is probably Elway's top-choice as he combines offensive ingenuity with a familiarity with how Pittsburgh's front-office built through the draft inexpensively, maintained a top work-ethic and used creative zone-blitzes to un-nerve the opposition through a more-physical 3-4.

    He also isn't so big-headed that he wouldn't assume that only his offensive acumen is needed to win games (in a league where even the Ravens understand that their powerful natural pass-rush must be supplemenetd often with blitzing).

    Even after playing Pittsburgh's Charlie Batch in the early part of 2010, a Raven told the NFL Network post-game camer that no QB in the NFL can be stopped with five-or-more seconds to throw.

    Sadly, no one in Denver seems to prioritize acting upon nthis (and we can't even supply half the natural D-line pressure that Baltimore can).

    And if Bowlen, Elway and Xanders think Dumervil's return– and another 15 sacks– will automatically resolve this they are deluding themselves.

    Even in 2009, most of Elvis' sacks were after 4.5 seconds had elapsed and the opposing QB was so comfortable back there that he was going through his reads a second-time.

    He only can go around OT's and therefore they set up as wide as possible (secure in the knowledge that he was never coached to develop, or try, a spin-move). And he's way too weak in the lower-body to bull-rush them, even though his leverage and the widened area in between the LT and the LG is prime for the plucking.

    So we need to have a coach who will send DJ or Mays through the B-gap (since Bowlen cannot afford spending money on a powerful OLB like LeMarr Woodley to start opposite from Doom).

    If Bowlen did– instead of standing Pat and being the equivalent of baseball's Charlie Finley of the 1970s– we could use Haggan, DJ and Mays on the inside (while keeping Hunter as the backup to Doom).

    Too bad, these head-coaching interviews won't include someone who'll ask the tough questions about how to create the pass-pressure we vitally need. Knowing our brain-trust, it'll likely be sidetracked into assurances of stabilizing the running-game and offensive-line (as if that is the only panacea the Broncos require).

    That is equally important, but the last few decades of a missing pass-rush cannot continue to be kicked like a can down the road forever. When will B.T. ever devote an article on the history of the Broncos pass-rushers anyway?

  • breanna

    knowshuan is and will be a grate runningback for long time.Hes just a rookie but he shows a lot of talent at times.Lance Ball looks grate too.

  • stav

    Agreed on Fairly, I hate to say it but we need to either shit or get off the pot on Champ. His situation directly influences what we do at #2. If he walks then what do we do, leave a huge hole at CB? I think we may be forced to take Peterson there, but maybe trade down a few spots, get another pick, and then take Amukamara. What we do with Champ and Orton, hopefully way before the draft, has a big sway on what happens in April.

  • Stav

    ZONE BLOCKING. We need to bring it back. Knowshon would be a success in that scheme, and Dennison would bring it.

  • Stav

    I understand what you're saying but above our issues with the offense is the glaring joke of our defense. I find it difficult to believe that any team would finish their season last in defense and then not immediately address that in the draft and FA, not one of those but both those options. I'm all for picking up a few guys via FA, like a serious run at DeAngelo Williams, Roman Harper (get rid of Dawkins), or Dawan Landry, but that's it. All our other needs have to be addressed in the draft instead of throwing money away at more FA's.

    Most importantly, if we can't pressure the qb, we could have Champ, Revis, and anyone else back there and it wouldn't matter, DB's can't stay with WR's all day. Ayers has shown nothing and we've pretty much given him the job. Maybe a year with Elvis on the other side may help, but we're a DE, an NT, and a dominant ILB away from having a decent defense. Those should be three of our first four picks in April.

  • Ian Henson

    I'm saying that there is a difference between the arena football league and the allure to an arena football player to play for someone like John Elway versus being able to draft talent at the NFL level.

    As an example, I was pointing out how proven general managers and coaches get it wrong all the time.

    Maybe I was misunderstanding your original comment, but I thought you were saying that since Elway was good at making teams in the AFL that he would be able to translate that to the NFL.

  • Ian Henson

    I feel like Dennison's the leading contender now as well. Which I wouldn't be against, but I wasn't very excited about him in the 2008 search.

  • Ian Henson

    That's the man thing, we are missing out on a lot of good coordinators by not having a HC in place.

  • Ian Henson

    Wow, Levon, welcome to the comments. I do find it odd that we're not interviewing Rob Ryan, maybe we're just avoiding Oakland coaches all together?

    I echoed your statements on blitizing the entire season.

  • Ian Henson

    McDaniels was a hot candidate following the Patriots (nearly) undefeated season, but chose to stay on with New England. Similar to how Jason Garrett stayed in Dallas past his hot streak.

  • Ian Henson

    He's either pulled himself out or has been declined the positions that he's up for.

  • Ian Henson

    There's been a January 19th deadline announced. Which I think wouldn't exist if the Broncos were actually waiting for Mularkey.

    On your draft notes… With drafting I am really absolutely on or horribly off (I wanted Aaron Maybin over Robert Ayers, but I also wanted DeSean Jackson over Ryan Clady and ESPECIALLY over Eddie Royal). Do you see Dareus as the best DT in the draft or do you see someone as better and getting picked up by Carolina?

  • Ian Henson

    I agree, though I don't know that it is the actual running back. I think it's more about the offensive line, in 2009 Moreno, Buckhalter, pretty much anyone who carried the ball looked decent. In 2010 completely submerged in the power-blocking scheme (with three of the five Shanahan zone blocking hand picked linemen) our running game looked atrocious… Was that more Laurence Maroney's fault, rookie offensive linemen or something else? To me Lance Ball looked good nearly every time he touched the ball.

  • flbronc

    i'm not sure we dont draft patterson even if we do keep champ. there's been talk of him moving to safety at some point- maybe after another year or so at corner. that would allow patterson and cox to split some time and develop further cb. it also gives us some insurance on games that bailey is out for his nagging injuries.

  • flbronc

    i also think lendale white could be a beast in a zone scheme as well. once he is on the second level, he's tough to bring down.

  • Ian Henson

    If you're on twitter John Elway has offered for fans to submit questions for their interviews. It could be just a PR move, but I thought it was pretty decent of them to offer that.

    As for the history of the pass-rushers, we can definitely get to that when we get further into the off-season. Depending on the current CBA talks, we could be doing history of the Broncos exclusively for some time.

  • Stav

    He's the only one who can bring himself down – headcase.

  • Stav

    I agree, I've been saying for the past few months to sign Champ to a 4 yr contract, 2 at CB and the last two at S, whatever the guy is asking for to stay, and it REASONABLE, they should do it, he has to retire as a Bronco, and he's still a probowl caliber CB. If they pick Peterson at #2, no complaints here.

  • badimo

    Has anyone considered Josh McDaniels?

    He is a proven winner and has previous NFL head coaching experience.

  • Stav

    Yeah – they can hire him to pick up the used jock straps and run out to grab the tee after kickoffs.

  • flbronc

    yea, but if he can keep healthy and out of trouble, we dont really need to address the rb position in either the draft or fa.

  • jdkchem

    In each case you're evaluating talent and how well that talent fits your organization. That is fundamental regardless of what level you're at. Whatever level you're building a professional organization at you still need the same skills.

  • jdkchem

    This is exactly why I think Dennison will be the next head coach. And if Brunnell is available as a FA they should snatch him up and dump Quinn. Who better to tutor Tebow than Brunnell?

  • jdkchem

    You have the “grate” part right so far.

  • cj

    Badimo are your F-ing HIGH??

  • 5280

    @ian. I dont know i would say dareus is THE BEST DT in the draft, but i would put him in the top five. but i dont know, i think daquan bowers would be THE BEST de in the draft, but i dont if we should take him at #2 and trade down with a second rounder back into the 1st and make a move for dareus if hes still there, or take fairley at #2 and trade down and pick up another 1st rounder to pick up dareus that way. becasue, in thinking about it, i REALLY like what fairley brings to the table for a 3-4 shceme. fairley mixed in with dum and ayres with dareus up front would create a good deal of havoc for an offencive line. fairley's ability to rush the QB is off the charts. Bowers could bring it too, but he'd have to be able to become a cover LB/DE and i dont know if he's suited for it. what do you think? either way i dont think we can afford to not go after a guy like dareus because he not only can get penatartion on passing play but he can be an effective run stopper which has also been killing us defencivley. the draft is deep this year. if anything we could maybe pick up clay mathews brother with a 2nd or 3rd round pick. in a nut shell though, those are the types of players we should be going after. either a DT, a DE who's lean and fst enough to double as a LB, or a LB whos blazing fast who's specialty is killing QBs that way we diquise a blits more effectively. the front & should be the main focus.

  • 5280

    oh, and i also think that, no matter what, we should keep the #2 pick and not trade it away. theres just to many things we can get out of a 2nd pick and to waste a quality pick like that would be a bad stratagy, i dont care whos available at that spot.

  • CJ

    If we trade down we can repair this horrible draft set up by the worthless trades of mcdanials

  • stav

    I think we have to trade down, but trade down as in stay in the top 10. As we need a NT, DE/LB, CB with the first three picks we can easily pick an immediate starter from a lower draft spot in. There's plenty of defensive talent in this draft where from 2-10 we'd still pick quality. If we could pick up a third rounder somewhere it would be worth it.

  • CJ


  • jdkchem

    That was one year and never above .500 after that.

  • glaxsnax

    You, my good man, have earned my respect as apposed to my ire. It is refreshing to see that lucidity is now gained in your comments.

    A reader of phrase ought not need to “read between [the lines]”. And this is not the venue to approach an audience with predigested thoughts.

    So, we agree that whomsoever is championed by the Bronco's admistration to coach said Broncos will be supported by THE FANS.

    We seem to have an accordance with the notion of Dennison Coaching the Broncos.

    In reading between the lines, I would also assume that, WE THE FANS are quite leery of trust, i.e. Josh McDumbAss.

    Now we shall invest our trust in The Second Coming of Elway, hallowed be thy name. The rapture to follow will take all non-believers and the souls of the fallen will be vindicated.

    For the record, I lived in Seattle (as a devout Bronco's fan) for 12 years, from '97 to '09. I witnessed similar debates during the anointment of Holmgren. False prophets are soon to be exposed. I also had to point out to Seattlites that, although Denver may have been a “rival” in their eyes, the Sea-Hawks were never considered to be contemporaries, and Denver has better fans, but I digress.

    Now, I must return to my labors of praying that this blog is seen by the Powers That Be, and minting currency that is embossed with “IN ELWAY WE TRUST”.

    As an aside…I always felt that a video montage of the Mile High Salute should have been set to the tune of ACDC's “For Those About to Rock”. And what the hell is up with the endzone decore, on the grass, at Investco @ Mile High? That 70's, art deco, gheto touchdown image has got to go. It displays no pride in the HOME FIELD. If it's a league throwback issue then I missed it.


    Any Thoughts?

  • areferee

    Sorry it took awhile to get back to you. I've been watching reruns of “Frasier”.

    We share much more than a love for Seattle, the underground and coffee houses. I am totally with you on the atrocious end zone decor. It's like a bad trip through Shakespeare's “Touchstone”…and anything that helps bring back the “Mile High Salute”, I'm all in favor.

    Keep up the PacNW wit and wisdom. You're always a good read.

    (It looks like we might have a further connection in Jim L. Mora.)

  • areferee

    Sorry it took awhile to get back to you. I've been watching reruns of “Frasier”.

    We share much more than a love for Seattle, the underground and coffee houses. I am totally with you on the atrocious end zone decor. It's like a bad trip through Shakespeare's “Touchstone”…and anything that helps bring back the “Mile High Salute”, I'm all in favor.

    Keep up the PacNW wit and wisdom. You're always a good read.

    (It looks like we might have a further connection in Jim L. Mora.)