The Denver Broncos parted ways with first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett following a 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Now 4-11 and without their own first-round pick, the Broncos need to do a better job of hiring their next head coach. Fortunately, there are some candidates that could improve Denver’s situation in 2023.
Before we begin, let’s address the elephant in the room: Russell Wilson will be a Bronco in 2023. The former Super Bowl champion has been one of the worst quarterbacks in football this year, and Denver would probably love to move on if an opportunity presented itself. However, thanks to Wilson’s massive contract, there is no way the team could realistically move on and field a competitive roster. Because of this, the Broncos need to look for a head coach that can bring out the best in Wilson and stop him from being an active detriment to the team. The defense is loaded with playmakers – it’s the offense that needs fixing.
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Five Denver Broncos Head Coach Candidates For 2023
1. Ben Johnson
Entering the season, nobody believed that the Detroit Lions would have one of the best offenses in the league. However, after 16 weeks of action, Detroit currently ranks fifth in points-per-game, eighth in EPA/play, and sixth in offensive DVOA. They’re doing all this despite having Jared Goff at quarterback and only one truly great offensive weapon in Amon-Ra St. Brown. Offensive coodinator Ben Johnson deserves all the praise in the world for what he’s done this season, and he should be viewed as one of the better up-and-coming offensive minds in the league. While the two quarterbacks have dramatically different playing styles, Johnson deserves a chance to see if he can fix Wilson the same way he fixed Goff.
jared goff has 24 touchdown passes and basically all of them have been easy
the lions offensive coordinator who will not be named is putting in the work scheming open receivers in the end zone pic.twitter.com/m1hIm40gDc
— Tej Seth (@tejfbanalytics) December 24, 2022
2. Shane Steichen
Jalen Hurts was always a great athlete, but the former second-round pick has developed into a great passer since entering the NFL. While the offensive weapons and Hurts himself deserve a lot of credit for his development, this wouldn’t have happened without the coaching of offensive coodinator Shane Steichen. Steichen has been Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator since 2021, and is currently responsible for one of the most dangerous offenses in the league, even with Gardner Minshew under center. While Hurts is a considerably better athlete than Wilson at this point in their respective careers, the two players have a similar skill set and Steichen’s ability to scheme up outside routes should work well with Wilson’s preferred play style.
3. Sean Payton
Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is one of the best offensive minds of his time, and reports across the league indicate that he wants to come back and coach in 2023. If Payton can’t fix Wilson, nobody can, but it’s going to take some work for the Broncos to actually get him. For one, Payton will have no shortage of suitors, and he’d need to think that Wilson is fixable in order to have any interest in the job. Secondly, the Saints still have Payton’s rights, so the Broncos would likely need to trade a first-round pick for his services. Considering how few picks Denver has, they might decide it’s better to use what little draft capital they actually have on actual players.
4. Kellen Moore
It’s easy to look good when you have Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup all at full strength. However, the 2022 campaign proved that Kellen Moore is more than just a product of great players. While Cooper in Cleveland, Gallup recovering from an ACL injury, and Prescott sidelined for a decent chunk of the season, Kellen Moore kept the Cowboys offense rolling throughout the season. This was truly one of the better coaching jobs of the 2022 season, and it should be more than enough to eliminate any doubts about Moore’s ability to coordinate an offense. The next step is earning a head coaching job.
5. Eric Beiniemy
In what is becoming something of a tradition, the Kansas City Chiefs have the best offense in football, and Eric Beiniemy is not getting enough credit for his role. Yes, it helps having Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, but Beiniemy still helped this offense retain their elite firepower despite trading away Tyreek Hill. Perhaps there’s a reason that the man consistently gets overlooked for head coaching opportunities, but it’s hard to ignore this level of success every single year.