The Broncos will have competition if they want to hire Dan Quinn
On Tuesday, the Broncos continued the search for a new head coach by interviewing two more candidates to replace them. Among them was Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
For multiple reasons, including the fact that he’s the only one of the 10 scheduled interviewees who has been a head coach before, Quinn is considered the favorite to get the job. But if that’s true, the Broncos will have competition for his services.
Cowboys’ DC Dan Quinn is scheduled to interview this week for HC jobs with Denver, Minnesota, Miami and Chicago, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 18, 2022
And on Wednesday, a fifth team entered the fray.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 19, 2022
During his weekly appearance on “The Drive,” Schefter told DMac and Tyler Polumbus that he expects Quinn to receive multiple offers. In other words, the Broncos aren’t the only team who have the former Falcons head coach at the top of their list.
Thus, George Paton and the rest of Denver’s search committee may have to convince Quinn to take the job more than he has to sell them that he’s the right man to turn around a franchise that has posted five-straight losing seasons and hasn’t made the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 season.
How hard will that task be? Well, let’s take a look at Quinn’s other suitors, based on four key factors – ownership, general manager, roster and competition:
Ownership – The storied franchise is owned by Virginia Halas McCaskey, the 99-year-old daughter of the team’s founder, George Halas. She’s been in charge of the team since 1983, a stretch that has included more downs than ups. Two of her sons have also been involved with running the franchise. As with a lot of businesses that get passed down through generations, it’s made for a bit of a messy, underperforming operation. One that doesn’t figure to get better any time soon, as the family has owned the franchise since its inception more than a century ago. (3 out of 10)
General Manager – At the end of the 2021 season, the Bears parted ways with Ryan Pace. So they’re currently looking for a new GM. A hiring committee is in place, one that includes Hall of Fame front office executive Bill Polian. There are several notable names on the list, but it’s unclear if the new head coach will have a say on the new general manager or the other way around. That would create a bit of uncertainty for Quinn or whoever else is offered the Bears job. (3 out of 10)
Roster – The Bears roster only features two Pro Bowl players. Outside linebacker Robert Quinn regained some of his early form, once again becoming a legit pass rusher. And return specialist Jakeem Grant is a dynamic special teams player. But the big question is at quarterback. Last year, the Bears moved up to select Justin Fields with the No. 11 overall pick. The new head coach will need to believe in the former Ohio State star, as Fields will be given every opportunity to be Chicago’s franchise quarter. (4 out of 10)
Competition – The NFC North is a mixed bag. The Packers are clearly the class of the division, but their reign will only last as long as Aaron Rodgers is their quarterback. He may leave Green Bay after this season. Or he may play his whole career there. But the 38-year-old QB isn’t going to play forever. The Vikings are perennially a contender, but they’re also looking for a new general manager and head coach. They may also be in the QB market. So the future is uncertain in Minnesota. And the other divisional foe is the Lions. Detroit is a perennial doormat until further notice. (5 out of 10)
Attractiveness of the job: 15 points
Ownership – More news may develop over time, but the firing of Brian Flores at the end of the season seemed to come out of the blue. The former Dolphins head coach was righting the ship, posting a 24-25 record during his three seasons. And this year, his team won eight of their last nine games to finish above .500 for the second-consecutive season. So it’s odd Stephen Ross decided to oust him. It raises questions about the owner’s meddling, judgment and overall stewardship of the franchise. What will a new head coach be stepping into? (2 out of 10)
General Manager – Chris Grier has been the Dolphins GM since 2016. He’s been with the franchise since 2007. During that time, he’s made some questionable moves. He’s traded first-round picks for veterans who haven’t panned out. He’s spent big money on free agents who didn’t live up to their contracts. And he’s made some questionable selections in the draft. Nonetheless, he won the power struggle with Flores, showing that he’s tight with Ross. That’s a tricky situation for a head coach to walk into. (3 out of 10)
Roster – The Dolphins roster doesn’t have a lot of stars. Only cornerback Xavien Howard earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2021. They do have some young talent, however, led by wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who was a breakout star during his rookie campaign. The big question is similar to the one in Chicago. Does a new head coach believe in Tua Tagovailoa? The second-year quarterback is going to continue to be a source of consternation, as it was with Flores. That’s a tricky situation for a new head coach. (3 out of 10)
Competition – The Dolphins are in a tough division. The Bills are one of the best teams in the league, evidenced by the fact that they’re playing this weekend in the Divisional Round. They have a great young quarterback in Josh Allen, so that doesn’t figure to change. Same can be said for the Patriots. Under Bill Belichick, they’ve been a dynasty. And with Mac Jones, there’s a chance things can get back to a Super Bowl level in New England. The Jets stink, but might not for long. They have last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Zach Wilson, at quarterback, so they could improve in the coming seasons. (1 out of 10)
Attractiveness of the job: 10 points
Ownership – Zygi Wilf and his brothers purchased the Vikings in 2005. During that time, they’ve really only had a couple of regime changes. Rick Spielman was hired to be general manager after Fran Foley bridged the transition for one year. He had been on the job until the end of the 2021 season, when the Wilfs decided to change course. They same can be said for head coaches. Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier and Mike Zimmer are the only coaches who’ve headed the Vikings under the Wilfs, something that has to be attractive to a head coach. They’re patient. They stay the course. And they give coaches what they need to succeed. (8 out of 10)
General Manager – As mentioned, the Vikings just parted ways with Rick Spielman. So they’re looking for a new general manager. That could be a bad thing for a new head coach, as they don’t know who they’ll be working with on a daily basis. Or it could be a good thing for someone like Dan Quinn, who could leverage his in-demand status to push for the GM of his choice. This is similar to what Kyle Shanahan did in San Francisco, when he helped John Lynch get the general manager job in 2017. The pace of the interview process is slower in Minnesota than Chicago, hinting that it could be an opportunity for Quinn to have more influence. (5 out of 10)
Roster – While the Vikings roster might not be loaded with talent, there is plenty to work with on both sides of the ball. Most importantly for Quinn, who is a defensive guy, the offense is in pretty good shape. Dalvin Cook is among the best running backs in the league. Justin Jefferson is a great wide receiver. And if they decide to retain him, Kirk Cousins is a more-than-serviceable quarterback. Quinn could even retain Klint Kubiak and the offensive coaching staff, allowing him to focus on rebuilding a defense that features Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. (7 out of 10)
Competition – As mentioned with the Bears, the NFC North is a mixed bag. Chicago is a bit of a mess. Detroit is always a mess. And Green Bay is facing life without Aaron Rodgers soon, or sooner. So in theory, Minnesota could be the class of the division in relatively short order. (7 out of 10)
Attractiveness of the job: 27 points
NEW YORK GIANTS
Ownership – The Giants are a legacy NFL franchise. They’re currently owned by the sons of two of the league’s all-time titans, John Mara and Steve Tisch. Unlike in Chicago, things have worked out well in New York. The team has won multiple Super Bowls this century, beating the Patriots twice in memorable championship games. They’re well-regarded in league circles and don’t have a reputation for being meddlers or overly tough on coaches. (8 out of 10)
General Manager – At the end of the 2021 season, the Giants parted ways with Dave Gettleman. So they’re currently looking for a new GM. Much like the Bears, they’re well on their way to finding one. Currently, there are five finalists for the job. Ryan Poles and Joe Schoen have had two interviews each, so they’re believed to be the favorites. Joe Hortiz, Monti Ossenfort and Adam Peters are also believed to have a good chance of landing the job. One of those five would be Quinn’s boss, as the new head coach figures to have no say in the new GM. (3 out of 10)
Roster – It’s all about the quarterback. Yes, there are some nice pieces in New York, highlighted by running back Saquon Barkley, but none of them matter as much as the player lining up behind center. Right now, that’s Daniel Jones, who the Giants spent the No. 6 overall pick on in the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s been three up-and-down seasons for the young QB, leaving plenty ready to pull the plug and move on. Would Quinn be inheriting a guy who can still be a franchise quarterback or is he starting at square one? (2 out of 10)
Competition – Two years ago, a sub-.500 team won the NFC East. This year, two made the playoffs, although the Cowboys and Eagles both lost in the Wild Card Round. In other words, the division is a mixed bag. Every year, a different team seems to win it, as Dallas, New York, Philadelphia and Washington seem to take their turns atop the NFC East. There is no huge mountain to climb. There is no great young QB to deal with for the next decade, aside from maybe Dak Prescott. So it’s certainly a winnable situation. (6 out of 10)
Attractiveness of the job: 19 points
How do the Broncos stack up? Well, let’s take a look:
Ownership – Currently, the Broncos don’t know who the owner will be when the 2022 season gets underway. The Pat Bowlen Trust will most likely oversee a sale in the coming months, but who will ultimately end up being the highest bidder is anyone’s guess. There are reports that Peyton Manning or John Elway could be involved with the winning group, which would be encouraging. But this is an unknown. That could be good, as they haven’t proven themselves to be a Stephen Ross. Or it could be bad, as they might turn out to be worse. (4 out of 10)
General Manager – George Paton is highly thought of in NFL circles. He has a good relationship with Quinn, as the head coach candidates was quoted seven years ago stating that he’d like to work with the then-Vikings executive someday. And Paton has done a good job in his first season, namely in the draft, where he found several players who contributed in year one. From a working-relationship standpoint, Paton and Quinn appear to be a very good match. (8 out of 10)
Roster – This is a little tougher. On paper, there are a lot of good pieces. But on the field, they didn’t produce much in 2021, as the Broncos had zero Pro Bowl players. On defense, however, Quinn would inherit the likes of Justin Simmons, Pat Surtain and Bradley Chubb. Those are some nice cornerstones. And on offense, there are young, highly drafted players like Jerry Jeudy, Javonte Williams, Noah Fant and Courtland Sutton to build around. The key, once again, is quarterback. If Quinn isn’t high on Drew Lock, which would be the guess, the Broncos will need a plan for addressing that position. Quickly. (5 out of 10)
Competition – This one is not a very rosy picture. Two out of the three other teams in the AFC West made the playoffs this season. And the one that didn’t was within a field goal on the last play of the last game of the regular season away from getting in. Plus, they all have good quarterbacks. Derek Carr is a playoff-caliber QB. Justin Herbert is going to be one, as the second-year QB is a star in the making. And Patrick Mahomes already is, having won an MVP and been to two Super Bowls. That’s a tall task to sign up for. (3 out of 10)
Attractiveness of the job: 20 points
The Broncos job is attractive, but it’s likely not the best job currently open. So if the Broncos really want Quinn, they might have to bank up the Brinks truck and convince him to become Denver’s next head coach.