Gary Kubiak won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos last season, but he’s decided to call it a career. After several health issues the past few years, Kubiak is retiring from coaching, leaving a very attractive opportunity for those looking for a new job.
Heading the list is a coach who interviewed for the job before Denver hired Kubiak in Vance Joseph. He’s hardly the only name the Broncos should look at, though. There are several good candidates likely to be available in the coming weeks, including one from Dallas’ coaching staff.
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Vance Joseph, Dolphins defensive coordinator
The most popular name being linked to the Broncos at this point is Joseph, who’s had success in Miami as the team’s defensive coordinator. He was a hot commodity just a few years ago when he was the Bengals’ defensive backs coach, and he’ll be that again in the coming weeks. In 2015, the Broncos likely would have hired Joseph if John Elway didn’t go with Kubiak instead, which is what makes him such a good candidate for this job.
Joseph commands the respect of his players and gets the most out of a unit that may not be littered with talent. He’s done a good job with veteran pass rusher Cameron Wake, using him sparingly but yet very effectively. The Dolphins don’t have a strong secondary talent-wise, but Joseph has extracted the most of Byron Maxwell and Tony Lippett, among others.
Scott Linehan, Cowboys offensive coordinator
Cue the rumors of Linehan and Tony Romo leaving Dallas for the Broncos. Romo has been linked to Denver since Dak Prescott cemented his place as Dallas’ quarterback of the future, and now Linehan could get some attention, too. Linehan runs a quarterback-friendly offense, which has turned Prescott from a spread, read-option quarterback in college to a legitimate MVP candidate in the NFL – all in less than a year.
One can only imagine what he could do with Paxton Lynch, a guy the Cowboys desperately wanted at the end of the first round. His offensive philosophy and balance between the run and pass would work well in Denver after a season in which the running game fell apart. Even if Romo doesn’t leave for the Broncos, Denver has a couple of quarterbacks Linehan can work with.
One drawback: Linehan's last stint as a head coach -- with the Rams from 2006-08 -- ended with an 11-25 record.
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Kyle Shanahan, Falcons offensive coordinator
Could John Elway bring another Shanahan to Denver? That might depend on his relationship with Mike Shanahan, which has been reported to be not good. However, his son Kyle Shanahan would be a terrific fit with the Broncos. He’s done a great job with Matt Ryan in Atlanta, turning him into an MVP candidate this season. The Broncos have question marks at quarterback, but at least they have a couple of young guys on the roster in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.
Shanahan can work with both guys and develop them into better quarterbacks – ones who could potentially lead the Broncos in 2017. There will be questions on the defensive side of the ball with Wade Phillips’ contract expiring, so Shanahan would need to bring in a good defensive coordinator.
Joe DeCamillis, Broncos special teams coordinator
DeCamillis is an obvious candidate to succeed Gary Kubiak. He’s been the special teams coordinator for the past two seasons, working well with Kubiak on the coaching staff. DeCamillis would bring not only experience but familiarity with him should he get promoted.
Bill Musgrave, Raiders offensive coordinator
Bill Musgrave has obviously worked wonders in Oakland this season, turning Derek Carr into an MVP favorite after being a great young quarterback in 2015. He’s likely to receive some interest across the league in the coming weeks, and staying in the AFC West is a serious possibility. He could make the jump to the Broncos as their next head coach, which Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News is reporting.
He’s a native of Grand Junction, Colo., so returning home where he was a backup to Elway in the late 1990s is always a positive. The Raiders rank fifth in rushing, third in points, sixth in total yards, so he’s obviously showed his ability to coach. He’s never been a head coach, but his work as an offensive coordinator is well regarded. His teams have ranked in the top 10 in rushing yards five times, and that is an area where the Broncos need to improve.