Broncos Have 3 Finalists for Head Coaching Job: Report

Broncos Kevin O'Connell

Getty Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell calls a play during a scrimmage.

After a week of rumors, we finally got a big update regarding the Denver Broncos‘ search for a new head coach. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the organization has narrowed their head coaching search to three finalists: Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.

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Kevin O’Connell Is a Surprising Finalist

Quinn and Hackett have been linked to the Broncos throughout the process, and it is not surprising that they are finalists. However, O’Connell is an unexpected contender.

With 10 candidates interviewing, there was always a possibility for a candidate other than Quinn and Hackett to emerge. There was some buzz surrounding Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, but he appears to be out of the running.

O’Connell is a former NFL quarterback. He was selected in the third round of the 2008 NFL draft by the New England Patriots. He only appeared in two games completing four out of six passes for 23 yards. He also spent time with the Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and San Diego Chargers.

O’Connell got his first NFL coaching job in 2015 when he was hired as the quarterbacks coach of the Cleveland Browns. He became an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

O’Connell was hired as the quarterbacks coach for the Washington Football Team in 2017. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019. He became the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2020.

This season, the Rams’ offense is seventh in the NFL in scoring and ninth in yards. Under O’Connell, quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a career-high 41 passing touchdowns, and he threw for 4,886 passing yards, which was his highest total since 2012.

Dan Quinn Appears to Be the Favorite, May Reunite with Darrell Bevell

Out of all the Broncos’ head coaching candidates, Quinn has undoubtedly received the most buzz. On January 13, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN called Quinn and Hacket the “primary candidates” for the job. On January 15,  Tom Pelissero of NFL Network called Quinn the favorite for the job.

Now, Quinn is officially among the finalists, and all signs are pointing in his favor.

Dan Graziano of ESPN reported that Quinn may already have a potential offensive coordinator lined up, as well. If Quinn is hired, Graziano said Jacksonville Jaguars’ interim head coach Darrell Bevell is a name to watch:

If that happens, watch out for Darrell Bevell as his potential pick for offensive coordinator (assuming Bevell, who finished the season as the Jaguars’ interim coach, doesn’t get the full-time job in Jacksonville)

Bevell and Quinn both served as coordinators for the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and 2014. Graziano also noted Bevell’s connection to quarterback Russell Wilson:

Bevell and Quinn were the offensive and defensive coordinators in Seattle in 2013-14, and in fact Bevell was the offensive coordinator there for the first six years of Russell Wilson’s career. Just something to watch, since Denver is looking for a quarterback this offseason and Wilson might be looking for a new home.

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