Sunday, December 04, 2022

Kishla: If all Broncos want is to play meaningful games in December, Dan Quinn is a safe choice as manager

Kishla: If all Broncos want is to play meaningful games in December, Dan Quinn is a safe choice as manager

If you liked Teddy Bridgewater as the Broncos quarterback, you’ll love Dan Quinn as the next coach.

Quinn or not Quinn? That’s the question, as Denver carries its whirlwind, the wings over America are looking for a new coach, looking for someone other than Uncle Vic.

But here’s a bigger question: Can George Paton be trusted to make the right decisions about the most important decisions a general manager has to make for a football team?

He has yet to prove it. Paton is a meat grinder. But a seer? Nope. George plays it safe, taking a cornerback rather than a quarterback with his best pick in the draft. He invites someone he knows and trusts to the Denver hangout, tells Teddy not to screw up and hopes for the best.

It’s not farsighted. This 7-10 entry is waiting to happen.

While hiring Quinn is far from the worst thing Paton could have done, and the best thing John Elway has messed up since Super Bowl 50, it’s still the same old, same old stuff the Broncos sampled while listening to moldy Pearl Jam tunes from the 1990s. , while pioneering offensive thinkers like Sean McVeigh and Matt LaFleur take to the dance floor, showing the NFL how we’re “doing it” now.

Quinn could have fooled you. But at age 51, the hottest coaching candidate in this NFL hiring cycle isn’t trendy because he’s wearing a baseball cap backwards. The more I looked under that cap, the more I wondered if Quinn is to head coaches what Bridgewater is to quarterbacks. Solid leader. But far from elite.

Hey, don’t twist. I don’t hate Quinn. He is a good person. The players like him. But if we compare him to Hall of Fame defensive coordinators or winning personalities who make the most of talent, Quinn is not Wade Phillips.

And for those of you keeping score at home: Phillips’ record as head coach in Denver, Buffalo, and Dallas was 82-54; Quinn went 43-42 before crashing out of Atlanta in 2020.

Yes, Quinn led the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Or so the summary insists.

But take a look at the 2016 Atlanta team that managed to beat New England 28-3 in the championship game. Quinn’s defense was suspect long before Tom Brady dismantled the Falcons. The real coaching genius on Quinn’s coaching staff was a young kid named Kyle Shanahan, who scored 33.75 points per game with Matt Ryan as quarterback.

After the Super Bowl, Young Shanahan got his own performance in San Francisco. And Quinn’s magic soon went awry.

Do you know who Quinn is? Poor version of John Fox. With plenty of NFL experience and a gray beard to prove it, Quinn has skins on the wall, as Foxy liked to say. Quinn and Fox are fun to be around. They will win you several games. But to win the biggest game? Good luck with that.

While the defense beat Carolina in Super Bowl 50, the Broncos were successful because Gary Kubiak masterfully handled Peyton Manning’s ego while the Hall of Fame quarterback’s body was falling apart.

If Paton can get Aaron Rodgers to leave Green Bay, then Quinn is perfectly capable of letting A-Rod write the attack script and game plan to his liking, just like Fox did with Manning. But is it really coaching?

Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett knows Rogers’ mind and quirks better than Quinn. If the Broncos are forced to settle for a minor quarterback (like Jimmy Garoppolo, perhaps?) in the crowd, wouldn’t the team be better served by a bright offensive mind as head coach?

If the Broncos hire Quinn, we can be sure he’ll be better at throwing a red bean bag and managing time than Vic Fangio ever was. But that’s a pretty low bar, don’t you think?

Rise or fall, recruitment fence swings to find the next McVeigh. Maybe it’s Hacket. Maybe it’s Brian Callahan, the Denver teammate who won the championship and now whispers to Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow. Maybe it’s Kellen Moore, coordinator of the baby-faced offensive in Dallas. Maybe it’s Kevin O’Connell, who currently works as McVeigh’s right-hand man.

They all have a better idea than Quinn on how to maximize quarterback performance.

Quinn or not Quinn?

It depends on whether Paton wants to play it safe or risk his greatness.

Maybe all we do at Broncos Country is play meaningful games in December. Right, George?

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