The Denver Broncos are in the market for a new head coach after Gary Kubiak retired earlier this week to focus on his health. It sounds like two more names on the team’s list of candidates are Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Kansas City Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub.
NFL Insider Rand Getlin reported Tuesday that the Broncos will interview Joseph.
And NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport added that the team could soon request to interview Toub, who’s currently working for a divisional rival.
So who’s Joseph and why does his name sound familiar?
Joseph, 44, is the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator. He has existing ties to the state of Colorado. He was a reserve quarterback for the Colorado Buffaloes from 1990-94 and a graduate assistant with the program from 1999-2001.
Most of Joseph’s NFL coaching experience came as a defensive backs coach. The Dolphins hired him as their defensive coordinator in January 2016. The team’s defensive numbers this season were poor, but the Dolphins were also dealing with numerous injuries.
The Broncos tried hiring Joseph as their defensive coordinator shortly after Kubiak became the head coach in 2015. But the Bengals reportedly didn’t allow Denver to interview him.
OK, cool. What about Toub?
Toub, 54, has spent most of his professional career as a special teams coordinator. He’s interviewed for head coaching gigs in the past — including the Bears’ opening in 2012 — but wasn’t hired. Toub is generally regarded as one of the best at what he does, and the numbers back that up.
It’s not very common to hire a special teams coach as a head coach; Ravens skipper John Harbaugh is one of the rare examples. Yet it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Special teams coaches work with every position group on the team, and they are forced to make quick in-game decisions. Those skills would seem to translate well into head coaching.
So, to recap:
There are at least three names the Broncos are kicking around if you are to believe the national reports: Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who the team is going to interview, Joseph and Toub.
Denver is one of six NFL teams with a head coaching vacancy. The others are Jacksonville, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Buffalo. In terms of rosters that are built to win immediately, Denver is the clear-cut No. 1.
I have no insider knowledge on what the team’s thinking or feeling about these guys. But if I was a betting man, I’d wager the Broncos go with Shanahan. John Elway indicated earlier this week that he’d like to choose someone who is young. Shanahan, 37, checks that box. Denver also needs someone to repair an offense that looked broken in 2016. Who better to do it than Shanahan, who just coordinated an offense that scored a whopping 33.8 points per game?
The Broncos, who don’t need rebuilding as much as they do retooling, are in a unique position. Perhaps that allows them to take their pick of the lot.
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