Posted Mon Jul 9th by Jon Heath
After recording an 8-8 record and a playoff berth last season, Denver’s top two 2011 coordinators — Mike McCoy and Dennis Allen — suddenly became head coaching candidates. The Oakland Raiders were granted permission to interview both coaches (and they ended up hiring Allen) and the Miami Dolphins considered signing McCoy.
Allen was considered the one responsible for Denver’s somewhat of a defensive turnaround last season and McCoy was credited with creating a potent offense by evolving his playbook to tailor to his players’ unique skill-sets. Heading into the 2012 season, McCoy remains a 2013 head coaching candidate and the man who replaced Allen — new Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio — could be on track to returning to the top of the coaching food chain.
If quarterback Peyton Manning performs well and the Denver Broncos win their division again this season, McCoy will emerge as one of the most sought after coaches in the league. On the other side of the ball, if the defense benefits from Manning’s presence and improves on their 2011 campaign, Del Rio will be viewed in the same regard—if not better—than Allen was last offseason.
Del Rio has coached under John Fox before (in Carolina during the 2002 season) and was top dog in Jacksonville from 2003-to-2011. During that time period the Jaguars enjoyed dominating defensive success with limited offensive production and unfortunately, limited overall success. While his head coaching resume is far from exceptional (69–73 overall), Del Rio’s defenses consistently ranked among the top ten during his tenure in Jacksonville.
If Denver’s defense ranks among the top ten in 2012 and sends several defenders to the Pro Bowl, it will direct warm fuzzy wuzzies towards Del Rio in league circles. And if some of the young rising stars on defense, such as Von Miller breakout under Del Rio’s coaching, it could lead to the sixteen-year coach interviewing with other teams next offseason.
McCoy is a similar case. If the offense excels under Manning, it would open the door for McCoy to follow in Allen’s footsteps and accept a head coaching gig elsewhere in the NFL. If McCoy did move on, it would open up the door for the Broncos to sign Manning’s former Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore, who said he is going to return to coaching in 2013. But that’s a different subject for a different time.
As of now, McCoy and Del Rio are Denver’s top two coordinators. If the team has a successful 2012 season, they may have two vacant coaching positions heading into 2013.
Alternatively, if the Broncos do well enough under McCoy and Del Rio, the two coaches may not want to leave a winning team. Both of the coaches have worked under Fox in the past and have been successful coaching with him. If the two coordinators love their situation in Denver, teams may not be able to pry them away. Only time will tell.