Former Atlanta Falcons coaches seen as possible Denver Broncos head coaching candidates

Dan Quinn

In what will forever be known as the Christmas Massacre that ended Nathaniel Hackett’s Broncos head coaching career before finishing his first season, Denver was slaughtered by the Rams on Jesus’ birthday. Now, the club is on the lookout for a new lead man to potentially pair with GM George Paton, if he keeps his job. New owner and CEO Greg Penner will lead the search, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any candidates list without former Falcons coach Dan Quinn on it.

If you remember, Quinn was actually considered the favorite to be the next head coach in Denver over Hackett. However, he ultimately pulled his name from the hiring pool to return to Dallas to pursue a Super Bowl with the Cowboys. Quinn figures to be among the hottest candidates this hiring cycle, and it makes sense for Denver to at least explore the possibility.

Penner might want to avoid Paton’s former list altogether, but Quinn should still be considered. He’d bring coaching experience and would help the dying culture in the Broncos locker room. Despite Russell Wilson being quite possibly the easiest person in the world to dislike, Dan Quinn has never met a player who hated him. He could very quickly mend fences between Wilson and his teammates.

Regardless of how the season shakes out for the Cowboys, who could very well win the Super Bowl, Quinn will receive several interview requests after turning in another impressive defense. It may not wow you in the metrics department like last season, but any unit with Micah Parsons on it strikes fear into opposing offenses. And the Broncos’ defense is as talented as any in the league. Another interesting facet of this scenario: Quinn has experience with Wilson — the two spent extensive time together in Seattle — and Paton.

He coordinated some of the best defenses of a generation led by the Legion of Boom. Quinn parlayed his time with the Seahawks into six seasons in Atlanta, making the Super Bowl in just his second year. It’s very easy to see the fit. One name that I haven’t seen very often is Raheem Morris.

He’s one of the more experienced coaches in the league — with experience on both sides of the ball, a head coaching stint with Tampa Bay, and as the interim in Atlanta following Quinn’s firing in 2020. Morris also won the Super Bowl with the Rams two seasons ago as their defensive coordinator, and there’s been no inclination of genuine interest in him as a candidate.

Over three seasons with the Buccaneers, Morris didn’t have the sexiest overall record but did lead them to a 10-6 finish in 2010 and a 4-2 start in 2011, ranking as one of the best 22-game stretches in franchise history prior to Tom Brady’s arrival. He was interviewed last offseason by the Vikings but ended up being passed over for his former associate Kevin O’Connell.

Hopefully, both Dan Quinn and Raheem Morris receive serious head coaching consideration this offseason. Each deserves another crack.


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