Broncos need to get their house in order if they want to lure top head coach candidates | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein discuss the Broncos search for a new head coach after the firing of Nathaniel Hackett after less than one full season. Charles to talked to a possible candidate who said there are red flags when it comes to the Denver job. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: We should talk about the Broncos' Nathaniel Hackett getting fired.


CHARLES ROBINSON: Russell Wilson-- I had written a piece where I quoted and had spoken to two candidates. They're going to be on the coaching circuit. They'll be on some lists. They might not be on other lists. But they're in the mix, in terms of individuals who should be getting head coaching interviews.

What was interesting, though, as you and I were texting-- and, you know, you brought up the fact that-- and it is it's a rarity to see an individual who might be up for a job, might be up for the Broncos job, speak out on a red flag in an organization, even anonymously.

But in this case, I thought about it a little more. And you know what I think it is? I think it's just because in Denver, it's such a special case, that this is so unprecedented, that no one's ever seen this. And not only that, that no one understands it. That like, even these candidates for head coaching jobs who have offensive resumes are sitting there staring at it and going--


CHARLES ROBINSON: --like, something happened that we're not learning about. And it's not just as simple as Hackett didn't know how to coach or Russell Wilson just fell apart, which clearly it's not apparent that he just fell apart, skill-wise.


CHARLES ROBINSON: It's so mind-boggling, what happened, that even people who are up for jobs are like uh, can you explain? Like, what is going on? What happened there behind the scenes that we don't know?

JORI EPSTEIN: Maybe one reason an offensive candidate-- again, someone that you granted anonymity to, and so it's not like they have to be like, hey, Denver, here's what the problem is. And potentially just either it could work really well that they liked the gumption, or it can work really poorly and they don't get the job.

But it's just kind of a reminder to the Broncos that even if there are only so many jobs open, if they want to really lure a candidate and feel like this candidate is going to pick them over another potential opening, and the best candidate is probably going to have more than one offer, they need to get some of their house in order.

And they need to understand what went wrong. And it's not just about, hey, Russ didn't drop back in this mat. Or he ran one play and freestyled, and someone else ran another.

Like, it's not it's not about that. It's more like, culturally, what was going on, and philosophically, and what were the personality clashes? And I think what's challenging is that if you're someone interviewing for a job, if you're a first-time candidate, you want to get that head coaching opportunity, you're probably going to have to accept the job accepting that you won't know a lot of what the problem is.

And it's really hard to get that second opportunity in the NFL. And so if it goes wrong, even if you're not a one and done, even if you're two and you're associated with this great Denver disaster, that's going to be really hard to move forward in your coaching career, just as we will see what Nathaniel Hackett's next step is.

He went from being Aaron Rodgers offensive coordinator during an MVP year to Russell Wilson's head coach who couldn't get the game management, and who couldn't get the play [INAUDIBLE], and all of these different things.

I think the other thing that's interesting to me is if you've got someone who's not a first-year head coach like Dan Quinn, who is currently the Cowboys defensive coordinator-- most of our listeners probably are familiar with him-- but what's interesting to me is on one hand, he wants that second opportunity. I worked on a story with him during training camp where he said on the record, I want to come back. I've got this notebook--


JORI EPSTEIN: --where I kind of mapped out my vision for what a team would look like. Here's what I want to implement, not just defensively, but offensively. Here's what I think a team needs to be successful after he left the Falcons, where he was fired about five games into the 2020 season.

He kind of took that time and asked people he worked with both on the field and off, what did I do wrong? Like, he made a list of like, it's literally like almost like he made his own burn book so he could understand it and try and change--


JORI EPSTEIN: --his scheme and change his coaching style. If you're someone like him, he was a candidate, as you mentioned and as you wrote about, for this Broncos job. I'm under the impression that Dan Quinn did not move all the way through the interview processes with all of the teams that he talked to.

And so if he didn't and he starts to see a big red flag in Denver, is that kind of guy going to want to say-- like, he's not getting a third chance. It's second or nothing.

CHARLES ROBINSON: You have to consider now what's changed. Now there's an ownership group here who has said-- I mentioned this in the story, and this is what some candidates are looking at because they've seen siloed organizations before where you have an owner who's like, I'm going to talk to the general manager separately, I'm going to talk to the coach separately. Everybody's going to report to me.

The chain of command is I'm at the top. It's not really a pyramid. It's a square with one line up to the owner. And everybody in the square has this individual pipeline to the owner. Sometimes that doesn't work great.