Early Sunday morning, the Denver Broncos fired head coach Vic Fangio. In the wake of a third straight losing season, Fangio was shown the door.
Fangio being jettisoned was expected after the Broncos played their way out of playoff contention in early December. Since then, rumors have swirled on which coaches Denver likes as possible candidates to succeed Fangio.
The most common name linked to the Broncos' head-coaching vacancy has been Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. On Sunday, in the immediate aftermath of Fangio's firing, Dallas insider Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.com reported that Quinn is a "top candidate" to take over.
Quinn has revitalized the Cowboys' defense in Year 1 as coordinator. He served as Atlanta Falcons head coach from 2015-20.
Quinn led the Falcons to their second all-time Super Bowl appearance where he had the New England Patriots dead to rights with a 28-3 third-quarter lead. Tom Brady stormed back and vanquished Quinn's Falcons in overtime to hoist Super Bowl LI's Lombardi Trophy.
It was all downhill for Quinn from there as his offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, departed for the San Francisco head-coaching job. Despite having a franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan, Quinn was unable to replicate Shanahan's offensive success and it ultimately led to his doom as head coach.
Before Atlanta, Quinn served as assistant head coach to Pete Carroll in Seattle for two years before temporarily taking a job at the college level with the Florida Gators. Quinn returned to the Seahawks in 2013 and was the brainchild behind the defense that decimated Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
That's what landed Quinn his head-coaching gig in Atlanta.
On Sunday, Broncos GM George Paton took to the podium to discuss the firing of Fangio and what comes next for the organization. One thing Paton made clear is that the Broncos will cast a wide net in this coaching search and that the leadership attribute will be the top consideration.
Paton, who will have full autonomy on hiring Fangio's replacement, revealed that he won't limit his search to either offensive or defensive-minded candidates. Quinn's specialty is obviously defense and although the last two failed head coaches in Denver specialized on that side of the ball, he brings top-notch leadership acumen to the table.
In the NFL, where there's smoke, there's often fire. It wouldn't surprise me to see Paton seek an interview with Quinn as the two have a history together.
However, it would be an upset if the Broncos didn't hire an offensive-minded coach to succeed Fangio — and one that has a successful resume as a 'quarterback whisperer.' Paton will begin preparations to start requesting interviews with candidates but with so many coaches working on Sunday, those overtures will have to wait until Monday morning.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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