Cowboys Washington Football

Dan Quinn

DENVER — Broncos General Manager George Paton wasted little time Monday to start the organization's head coaching search after firing Vic Fangio Sunday. 

Woody Paige: Cowboys assistant should be Broncos' No. 1 coaching target

Paton and the Broncos requested to interview eight different candidates: Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. 

While Paton was quick to request the candidates, he talked Sunday about being patient in the search. And he and the Broncos will be forced to be patient, due to league rules. Coaching candidates who are set to play in the playoffs this upcoming weekend are unable to interview just yet. That means Hackett is the only current candidate that can interview this week, with the Packers on a first-round bye. 

Paul Klee: Broncos should hire this coach — and find a spot for Peyton Manning

The Broncos will likely try to move somewhat fast, though, as five other teams also have head coach openings — Jaguars, Vikings, Raiders, Bears and Dolphins. 

"Take your time. You don’t need to be in a hurry," Paton said of the process. "There’s a lot of really good, quality candidates. It’s really important to talk to them all. We have a small group, a tight-knit group that we’re working through that will be a part of the search. Again, we’re looking forward to it."

Of the six candidates, Quinn and Hackett appear to be the two consensus frontrunners. Quinn worked with Paton in Miami (2005-06) and is the only current candidate with previous head coaching experiences, spending six seasons (2015-20) leading the Falcons. And Hackett has been rumored as a candidate all season, as he's one of the most respected offensive minds in the NFL and will likely interview for multiple jobs. 

As for Mayo, Moore, Gannon and O'Connell, they're the up-and-comers of the group, all being under the age of 40 and all considered future head coaches — it's only a matter of time before either the Broncos or another team give these young coaches a chance. Gannon, like Quinn, is familiar with Paton, having been the Vikings' defensive backs coach from 2013-17 when Paton was an executive in Minnesota. Meanwhile, there's Glenn, who might be the biggest surprise candidate, but is well-respected across the league. 

And then there's Bieniemy, who might be the most intriguing candidate of the group. Bieniemy has been a candidate for head coaching jobs the past several years, helping the Chiefs become one of the most high-powered offenses in the NFL. Bieniemy is a graduate of the University of Colorado, where he was a star running back from 1987-90. 

Paton and the Broncos will likely consider a few more candidates in the coming days, which might include three former head coaches: Brian Flores of the Dolphins, Doug Pederson of the Eagles and Jim Caldwell of the Lions. 

"We’re excited to learn more about some of these great candidates," Paton said. "It’s going to be a comprehensive and a collaborative process to find the best head coach for the Broncos. We’re going to be thorough. We’re going to be open minded. We know this is a critical decision, and we’re going to get it right."

Load comments