Posted Wed Jan 26th by Monty
Six years. Six different defensive coordinators.
Zero playoff appearances.
Dennis Allen has accepted the most dangerous coaching job in the NFL: Denver Broncos defensive coordinator.
Larry Coyer, Jim Bates, Bob Slowik, Mike Nolan, and Wink Martindale didn’t get another year to fix their mistakes. For one reason or another (Coyer was fired after several years as DC; Nolan left; the rest were one-and-done), the position of Broncos D.C. is more fluid and unpredictable than a Tim Tebow red zone scramble.
And the Broncos’ defense has gone from bad to worse.
That is why it is absolutely imperative the Broncos do everything in their power to retain Allen in 2012. Hiring a new defensive coordinator every year isn’t just shooting themselves in the foot; it’s shooting themselves in the face.
Surely John Elway and John Fox feel the same way. Surely they feel they “got their guy,” short-term and long — but when have the Broncos not felt that way at this point in the offseason? Not once in those five prior instances did the Broncos expect to be hiring another defensive coordinator in twelve months’ time. So why should we expect the hiring of Allen to be any different?
The Broncos’ best bet is head coach John Fox himself. Fox has the patience, smarts, and defensive background to stick with a plan for the long haul, even if it isn’t paying immediate dividends.
Taking a look at Fox’s track record with defensive coordinators confirms this. In his nine-year tenure with the Panthers, Fox hired three defensive coordinators: Jack Del Rio (one season), Mike Trgovac (six seasons), and Ron Meeks (two seasons).
More importantly, he’s never fired a single one.
Del Rio had such success he left to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars after he and Fox’s first year. Trgovac mysteriously left of his own accord, part of an assistant Panthers coach exodus in 2008. According to reports, every Panthers assistant who left that year was not under contract in 2009 — it’s possible Trgovac’s decision had everything to do with ownership and little to do with Fox. Finally, Fox’s last D.C. hire in Charlotte, Meeks, maintained enough clout with the team and players to remain on staff as secondary coach, with Sean McDermott taking over as defensive coordinator. Not a bad hire out of the bunch.
Furthermore, his hires of Ron Milus as secondary coach and Richard Smith as linebackers coach will only fortify the likelihood Allen remains in 2012. These are experienced assistants who know Fox and know the Broncos. Allen is set up for success.
Simply put, John Fox isn’t going to let the Broncos go through a seventh defensive coordinator in seven years.
Unless, of course, he and Allen produce the type of one-year defensive turnaround that lands Allen a head coaching job next year. Knock on wood.