BRONCOS

Dan Quinn plus Luke Getsy would equal same old, same old for Broncos

Jan 19, 2022, 6:46 AM
Dan Quinn...
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos are going through an exhaustive search for their new head coach. Over the last week or so, they’ve traveled across the country to talk to some of the top head coaching prospects in NFL circles. General manager George Paton has assembled his crew and has the job of finding the next man who can lead the Broncos into a future that hopefully will be brighter than the last six years and zero playoff appearances.

I’ve written about the team possibly getting a Packers combination with both Nathaniel Hackett and Luke Getsy – Packers OC and passing game coordinator respectively. That seems like a good one for Green Bay, and it would give the Broncos a stronger chance at getting quarterback Aaron Rodgers via trade. Hackett is one of the hottest head coaching candidates out there while Getsy, even though he’s interviewing for the top job, is seen more as a prospective offensive coordinator – something he’s never done at the pro level.

However, it was Broncos insider Mike Klis (#9Sports) who suggested it could be a different combination – including Getsy – for the Broncos. Klis was on The Fan this week and opined that the Broncos could add Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as the head coach and Getsy as the offensive coordinator.

It’s an interesting blend to be sure, and one I hadn’t really considered until Klis suggested it. Quinn is considered the favorite to land the job – and one has to wonder if it was Quinn all this time – and promoting Getsy to OC still gives you an avenue to Rodgers.

After Vic Fangio was fired, Paton revealed the key attributes for the next coach.

“The No. 1 quality is leadership. We’re looking for someone to lead this entire organization, to lead this community, and to lead our players. That’s the No. 1 trait we’re looking for. Obviously, we want the best football coach. I’m not worried about what side of the ball, and I’m not worried about a play caller. We want leadership. That’s our No. 1 priority,” Paton said.

Will Quinn and Getsy feel like something the Broncos have done before? Let’s take a look.

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Finale Flop

The Cowboys were bounced in the Wild Card Game by the San Francisco 49ers, and Quinn’s game plan wasn’t great. They struggled to play with discipline when going up against a Kyle Shanahan / West Coast offense. The 49ers offense is not complicated, although the language when running it is. Everyone has seen the Shanahan concepts for years; it is just a matter of putting your defenders in the right spots to stop it – and hoping they maintain the discipline it requires to slow that machine down.

The work of the 49ers on the ground, 38 rushes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, was something Quinn’s defense couldn’t stop. That ground game is the basis for all things the 49ers – and other Shanahan offenses – want to do. It all starts with the run, and everyone knows that, but the Cowboys couldn’t stop it.

It was not a great finish for Quinn’s defense, and one that should have been brought up – although gently – in the interview process. What could have Quinn done differently? Facing the 49ers in the postseason is one thing, but facing the high-powered offenses of the Chiefs and the Chargers is quite different – and perhaps more difficult.

We haven’t seen Getsy’s team yet, as the Packers were the no. 1 seed in the NFC and had a bye. Coming up this weekend in the Divisional Round, the Packers will be at home to face the upstart 49ers. Even though Getsy doesn’t have his fingerprints on the game plan the way Quinn did for Dallas (and they’re on opposite sides of the ball of course), it will be interesting to see if the Packers can fare better against a common opponent. With Rodgers slinging the rock, and at home in the comfy confines of Lambeau Field, I have a feeling that will be the case.

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Never Called Plays Professionally

Getsy has been an offensive coordinator before, but he’s never had that role in the NFL. He’s only worked for the Packers in his pro career, but in college for one season each at West Virginia Wesleyan and Mississippi State he did work as an OC. So, Getsy has experience but not at the pro level when it comes to calling plays and designing an offense.

A former quarterback, Getsy has a great connection with Rodgers and can speak his language. However, the Broncos need to plan on coaches who will be great with or without Rodgers – something we’ve never seen from Getsy as he’s only worked for the Packers since 2014. Getsy is well-respected and has worked hard to put himself in this position, but it’s a great unknown of how he’d do as an OC in the NFL. It’s also an unknown just what kind of system he would bring to Denver if given the job of running the offense. One would assume it would be a Shanahan system, but Getsy might have other ideas.

This move would be somewhat reminiscent of what the Broncos did in 2019 when they hired first-time OC Rich Scangarello. Like Getsy, Scangarello worked in the Shanahan system and had never called plays. When the team couldn’t come to an agreement to hire Gary Kubiak as their OC under Fangio, they quickly pivoted to a person with an unproven skill set. Scangarello showed his inexperience early on with the Broncos – hell, his first play as an end around to Noah Fant that was never set up – obviously – because it was the first play in the first game. However, as the season went on – and especially when quarterback Drew Lock was inserted into the lineup – Scangarello seemed to get better.

I thought, after Lock went 4-1 as the starter as a rookie, Scangarello had done enough to save his job. That was not the case, and he was fired after just one season.

Is Getsy just another version of Scangarello? Only time will tell, but it looks like he could get an opportunity in Denver this upcoming season.

***

Good Coaches, Bad Combinations?

No matter how experienced or inexperienced these coaches are, we can all agree that they are good coaching candidates for the Broncos. There’s no denying that, but are they a bad combination?

Chemistry is a big thing in our world, no matter what you do for a living. You can have two great people and put them together and things fall apart if they don’t work well together.

Quinn is a former head coach, and he’s beloved by Paton, but he can’t just turn the ball over to Getsy as a first-time OC. That’s what Fangio wanted to do with Scangarello – and it didn’t work. When Fangio saw that as a problem, things seemed to become personal between the two and it was apparent to anyone around the team that the coaching duo didn’t really get along.

Hiring Quinn and Getsy would be an upgrade from Fangio and OC Pat Shurmur – and honestly it would difficult to find such a terrible combination as what the Broncos used to have. However, the Broncos just don’t need an upgrade from terrible – they need the correct coaching combination to catapult them back into the playoff – and yes, Super Bowl – conversation.

Because they’ve never worked together before, I’m not sure Quinn and Getsy could do that. Of course, get Rodgers and they’re right where we all want them to be but I just don’t want to get my hopes up too high that in one offseason Paton will fix head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback all in one felled swoop.

This is the most important offseason in Broncos history. Paton needs to get things right and avoid mistakes from the past like pitting a defensive minded head coach with an offensive coordinator who has never called plays.

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Dan Quinn plus Luke Getsy would equal same old, same old for Broncos