247SPORTS – The Denver Broncos have completed four interviews for their head-coaching vacancy. The candidates John Elway and company have met with include Chuck Pagano (former Colts HC), Zac Taylor (Rams QBs Coach), Mike Munchak (Steelers O-line) and Brian Flores (Patriots DC).
With one interview officially left on the schedule — Bears DC Vic Fangio on Monday — a new report has two ‘front-runners’ emerging in the race for the Broncos’ head job. Per NFL insider Benjamin Allbright, the Broncos like the two candidates they’ve interviewed who’ve already been head coaches in the league.
“They haven’t completed interviews, but early front runners continue to be Munchak and Pagano,” Allbright said Saturday morning via Twitter regarding the Broncos’ coaching search.
After rolling the dice on a first-timer in Vance Joseph, it would be understandable if John Elway is drawn more to head-coaching candidates who have experience in the job and both Pagano and Munchak can check that box.
On one hand, an argument can be made that the Broncos need a head coach who can step in and immediately earn credibility in the eyes of the players. The Broncos do have several holdovers from the team’s Super Bowl 50 Championship, and word on the street was that those same veterans struggled to buy into Joseph’s unproven mantra.
Neither Pagano nor Munchak could say that they’ve won it all as a head coach, but their respective resumes offer plenty of proven bona-fides. In the case of Pagano, he’s got a winning record as a head coach, and has led his team of the past to the AFC Championship Game. Munchak, while he had almost no success the first time around as the Titans’ head coach, at least has ‘Pro Football Hall of Fame’ on his resume as a former player.
Competency, capableness, credibility, expertise — these are all important attributes for the next head-coaching hire. On the other hand, we know that Elway remains “intrigued by the new/college offensive concepts” dominating the NFL. Taylor’s name would ostensibly rise to the top under such considerations.
Almost every team in the NFL playoff tournament is employing these new-school offensive philosophies. It might be the newest flavor in the league, but there’s no doubt it has already proven it’s viability, which means it’s here to stay for a while.
Pagano and Munchak, for all their strengths, are old school coaches. If the Broncos indeed hired either, their subsequent coordinator hires would be of the utmost importance.
That’s what would make or break a Pagano or Munchak regime. And with Gary Kubiak waiting in the wings, being grandfathered into some offensive coaching role in 2019, I’m not convinced the Broncos would truly be ready to embrace the offensive evolutions that have taken over the NFL.
If it indeed came down to those two candidates, give me Chuck Pagano. At worst, the Broncos would be getting a playoff-winning head coach, and a guy who’s gotten this close to the big dance. But for what it’s worth, the heretofore choosy Mike Munchak reportedly has “strong interest” in the Broncos job.
With Vic Fangio on deck for Monday, the outside perception is that the Broncos will quickly announce their hire early next week. However, don’t be surprised if one or two additional candidates get shaken loose after this weekend’s round of Wildcard playoff games.