Heavy NFL insider Matt Lombardo named three rising assistant coaches that could be ideal fits for the Broncos.
One of the most important things that Denver’s search committee will be looking for is how the next head coach will get quarterback Russell Wilson back to playing at an elite level.
Lombardo mentioned Detroit Lions’ offensive coordinator Ben Johnson as a fit for the Broncos. The 2022 season has been the first season in which Johnson has been an offensive coordinator and the first time that he’s called plays.
Johnson has taken the 25th-ranked Detroit offense from 2021 and turned them into a top-five scoring offense this season.
Another offensive coach Denver could target is Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen.
After spending four years as the quarterback coach for the Los Angeles Chargers, Steichen became the offensive coordinator for Philip Rivers‘ final season with the Chargers.
Steichen was the offensive coordinator for quarterback Justin Herbert when he was drafted in 2020.
In 2021, Steichen was then hired by the Eagles as the offensive coordinator to help develop quarterback Jalen Hurts and build an offense for him.
For most of this season, Hurts was playing at an MVP level before getting hurt with a shoulder injury.
Denver Could Go With a Defensive Mind
Since their historic defense, Denver has had four top-10 scoring defenses over that seven-year span.
Lombardo mentioned that a certain defensive coordinator could an option in Denver.
“After Nathaniel Hackett’s failure to build a system around Wilson, and given the wealth of talent on the Broncos’ defense, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans could an attractive option to owner & CEO Greg Penner.”
Once Ryans ended his playing career, he joined the 49ers’ coaching staff in 2017 as a defensive quality control coach. He then became the inside linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2021.
In his first season as the defensive coordinator, Ryans’ defense battled plenty of injuries, but he still was able to put together a top-10 scoring defense. This season, Ryans owns the best defense in the NFL giving up just 16.5 points per game.
Broncos Can Hire From Within
The Broncos are going to search far and wide for their next head coach with the hopes of getting the franchise back to its winning ways.
One option could be a member that’s already on this coaching staff, defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.
When speaking to the media after the firing of Hackett, Paton said that the team, “hopes to interview Evero” after the season.
Denver offered the interim job to Evero first, but he declined.
When Evero met with the media for the final time this season on January 5, Evero explained that he would like to be a head coach someday.
In his first season as the defensive coordinator for the Broncos, Evero’s defense was ranked as a top-five defense for most of the season until they gave up 51 points to the Los Angeles Rams on Christmas day.
Entering the final game of the season, Denver now owns the 10th-best scoring defense in the NFL.
If Denver wants to keep their defense elite entering 2023, the Broncos could hire Evero as their head coach and find an elite offensive coordinator that can get Wilson back to playing like he did with the Seattle Seahawks.