ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The more the Denver Broncos win, the better the chance they lose — coordinators, that is.
Defensive boss Jack Del Rio and his offensive counterpart, Mike McCoy, figure to be hot commodities for any head coaching vacancies when the season finally winds down. That’s simply the price of success.
“You like to see people get opportunities and have those options,” said coach John Fox, whose Broncos (11-3) will host Cleveland (5-9) on Sunday. “I’m sure it will be no different this year.”
Losing a defensive coordinator has almost become a rite of passage for cornerback Champ Bailey. One year with the Pro Bowler and they’re out the door.
That’s been the case the last six seasons and there’s a possibility it could happen again after this year, especially with the way Del Rio has the defense humming along.
Surely, orchestrating one of the top defenses in the league will garner Del Rio some consideration for another head coaching job.
Bailey understands, though. He would never stand in the way of an upgrade, even if it meant learning another new system from yet another coordinator.
“It (stinks) not to have a guy coming back that you’ve done good things with, but any time a guy gets a promotion, you’ve got to applaud that,” Bailey said. “I’d be happy for him. It would (stink) for us, because we’d have to start all over again, but it is what it is.
“Everybody wants a promotion.”
McCoy nearly had one a year ago, receiving not only kudos for the job he did with overhauling the offense to fit Tim Tebow’s unorthodox style, but strong consideration as a head coach. He was in the running for the Miami Dolphins job before it went to Joe Philbin.
This season, he’s assisted in resurrecting the career of Peyton Manning, who’s thrown for the fourth-most yards passing (4,016) in a season for the Broncos and has an outside chance to break Jay Cutler’s franchise mark (4,526) set in 2008.
Not bad considering Manning was coming off neck surgery and few figured he would have this bountiful of season.
So dominant has the offense been during the Broncos’ nine-game win streak that they’re beating teams by an average of 12.7 points.
Even more, they’ve also averaged 29 points a game this season, an output that could draw teams in need of a head coach toward McCoy.
Although, he quickly deflected the attention.
“Good players make good coaches,” McCoy said. “My wife and I and the kids, we absolutely love Denver. We’ll see what happens. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If not, hey, we can stay here for a long time.
“We have a lot of football left this year to go. We’ll see what happens down the road.”
McCoy has certainly earned the respect of Manning, who also credits quarterbacks coach Adam Gase with his stellar performance this season.
“I’m grateful for their help and support,” Manning said.
A defensive coordinator moving on after a season in this city has almost become expected. After last season, Dennis Allen bolted to take over in Oakland.
Other coordinators who have filled the spot over the last few years include Larry Coyer (2006), Jim Bates (2007), Bob Slowik (2008), Mike Nolan (2009) and Don Martindale (2010).
That has Bailey wondering — kiddingly, of course — if he’s doing something to drive them off?
“I know I’m up there,” Bailey said of where he would rank among players who’ve had the most coordinators through a career. “I’ve got to be up there. I don’t know how many I’ve had — 12, 13, whatever. It’s nothing new to me.”
Del Rio has a rather good thing going in Denver with two of the elite pass rushers in the game in Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, a talented linebacker collection and a secondary led by Bailey. That’s a pretty formidable ensemble in which to build a dominating defense.
He’s really in no rush to go anywhere just yet.
“When you’re a young guy and you haven’t been there, the urgency and desire to get that opportunity is such that you’d take just about any job given to you,” said Del Rio, who was in charge in Jacksonville for nine seasons. “I don’t feel that way now. If there’s something that fits and the right situation comes along, so be it. But in the meantime, I’m all in, 100 percent as a lieutenant on this staff. I’m somebody that John Fox, John Elway … and the players can count on. I’m 100 percent invested in helping them be their best.”
Any chance Baily would consider being a player-coach, should Del Rio ever move on?
That way, Bailey could assure a level of continuity for years to come.
“Ahh, no,” Bailey said, smiling.
NOTES: Broncos OL Chris Kuper missed practice Friday with a balky left ankle and migraine symptoms. He’s doubtful for the game against the Browns. … FB Chris Gronkowski (hamstring) was limited at practice. There are nine other players on the injury report listed as probable. “Right now, we’re relatively healthy considering we’re second-to-the-last regular season game and that’s all good,” Fox said.
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