ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Elway flew to Boston on Saturday to interview New England Patriots linebackers coach and defensive play caller Brian Flores about the Denver Broncos’ head coaching vacancy.
Flores, 37, also interviewed with the Packers and Dolphins about their openings.
Flores, who played linebacker at Boston College, broke into the NFL in the Patriots’ scouting department in 2004 and moved onto Bill Belichick’s coaching staff in 2008.
While there’s plenty of buzz about Flores, he brings caveats for Elway, who went with a novice head coach who had just a year’s coordinating experience when he hired Vance Joseph two years ago.
Elway fired Joseph on Monday with an 11-21 mark, including 6-10 in 2018.
And the previous time the Broncos hired a lieutenant from Belichick’s coaching three, it blew up in their faces. Josh McDaniels lasted less than two seasons and was fired in the wake of a videotape scandal and a 5-17 slide.
A month later, Elway joined the front office and hired John Fox.
Now, Elway’s looking for his fourth head coach in six seasons following his mutual split with Fox in 2015, Gary Kubiak’s stepping down for health reasons in 2017 and Joseph’s dismissal in 2019.
Other candidates who have interviewed for the Broncos’ job this time around are Rams QBs coach Zac Taylor, ex-Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and Steelers O-line coach Mike Munchak.
The Broncos plan to interview Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on Monday in Chicago.
The Broncos’ vacancy is one of eight head coach openings in the NFL but isn’t as glamorous as those in Green Bay, Cleveland or New York (Jets), where those teams already have their franchise quarterback in place.
The Broncos’ QB carousel since Peyton Manning’s retirement has included four starters — Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum, who had a disappointing debut season in Denver after signing a two-year, $36 million deal last spring.
Regardless of who Elway hires, star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said he expects wholesale changes on the Broncos roster: “I see it as a big rebuild coming on. I see it as a tidal wave.”
Harris said the Broncos can’t waste any more time running a flip-phone offense and old-school defense at a time when the league has adopted college concepts such as the read-pass option.
“We’ve got to hurry up fast,” Harris said.
That’s a sentiment Elway certainly agrees with, although he’s loath to use the term “rebuild.”
Elway said he won’t lower his expectations with a first-year coach in 2019, insisting, “We’re not that far off.”
Elway said he just needs to hire the right coach, give him the right staff and make the right draft picks and the Broncos can be back in the playoff mix this time next year.
“That’s just the way I’m built,” Elway said. “At 58, the desire, the drive is there, it’s as great as it’s ever been. Like I said, the older I get, the more I dislike losing. I don’t know where that comes from. But it just adds more fuel to that fire. That’s why it’s a great challenge for me and the rest of our staff to get this thing straightened away.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON
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