Should Broncos turn to “retread” head coach?

Nov 18, 2021, 6:30 AM | Updated: 6:33 am
Denver,CO - October 27: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan congratulates Denver Broncos h...
(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

History has looked favorably on so-called “retread” coaches through the past two decades of the NFL, especially when it comes to the Denver Broncos.

For example, the Broncos’ three Super Bowl titles were won under the guidance of head coaches in their second job — Gary Kubiak and Mike Shanahan.

Also, the winningest coach (by winning percentage) in Broncos history is John Fox, who was in his second stint at the helm of an NFL franchise when he helped lead Denver to four consecutive AFC West crowns from 2011 to 2014.

“This century, 15 of the 22 Super Bowl championships were won by head coaches on their second job — from Bill Belichick to Andy Reid to Bruce Arians to Gary Kubiak to Pete Carroll to Tom Coughlin and Tony Dungy to Jon Gruden to Dick Vermeil,” said “Schlereth & Evans” co-host Mike Evans on Wednesday.

But, should the Broncos blow out its coaching staff at the end of the season, as many expect, would a “retread” head coach be the right fit?

“I’ve always been a fan of guys that have done it before because you learn during your first tenure the mistakes and the things you don’t want to repeat again,” said “Schlereth & Evans” co-host Mark Schlereth. “At least you should.”

Schlereth said one of the adjustments first-time head coaches have is learning how to leave their coordinator ways behind them.

“I think a lot of guys have a tough time letting go of coaching on a day-to-day basis. … They don’t see the forest through the trees. They’re too involved,” Schlereth said. “Whereas it was always explained to me, and I believe this to be true, your head coach’s job is to coach the coaches. And I think it’s hard to let go of some of that connectivity you have with players because they energize a lot of guys.

“That’s why there’s some guys that are just really good coordinators and never, ever make it as head coaches because they just can’t transition into what the head coach’s job is.”

Schlereth said he believes head coaches can learn a lot from their first stint as a head coach, however, and that “sometimes it takes getting fired before you can step back and look at the totality, look at it from a global perspective, and say, ‘These are really good things I did. These things need to change.’”

But what about the young, up-and-coming head coaches popping up throughout the league, like Matt LaFleur or Sean McDermott or Sean McVay?

“Should you be looking for the next Bruce Arians, Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan, Gary Kubiak, John Fox, or should you be looking for the next McDermott, LaFleur, McVay, Vrabel, that type?” Evans asked.

Said Schlereth: “I don’t think there’s a right answer. I think you have to know when you know.”


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