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News » In search of a wanted man Bowlen's job description for Shanahan successor: 'Win the Super Bowl'

In search of a wanted man Bowlen's job description for Shanahan successor: 'Win the Super Bowl'

In search of a wanted man Bowlen's job description for Shanahan successor: 'Win the Super Bowl'
For the first time since Broncos owner Pat Bowlen rang in the new year in 1995, he is searching for a new coach for his Football team.

And on Wednesday, he officially offered the job description.

"I want somebody to come in here and win the Super Bowl, that's my No. 1 goal," Bowlen said. "That's what I want to do, it's what I'm here for. Good coaching, good players, good personnel and all the rest of the stuff."

With that, Bowlen will go about the business of what he called a "historic change" in the organization, the business of replacing Mike Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl winner for the Broncos who also is the franchise's winningest coach.

But while Shanahan had the final say on all Football matters, Bowlen on Wednesday also signaled another fundamental change in how the team does its business. The new coach will not have that kind of power.

The new coach will oversee the team's coaching staff, strength and conditioning program and direct the team's on-field strategy and offseason activities. The personnel department, currently directed by Jim Goodman, will oversee the draft and Free Agency.

And it is Bowlen, with a small circle of advisers that will include Broncos chief operating officer Joe Ellis, at the end of the line.

"I felt Mike was doing both those jobs and doing them well, and I don't anticipate the next coach having both those jobs," Bowlen said. "But, ultimately, it ends up on my desk, I'm here every day, I make the decisions, that's going to continue. . . . I run the show."

Because of that, Bowlen said the Broncos will be focused on finding a new coach because he said his plan is to leave the team's personnel department intact.

Asked about the possibility of hiring a new general manager to oversee personnel, Bowlen said, "I haven't even thought of hiring a general manager. My focus would be a coach."

And already the team appears to be positioning itself toward a run at a coach with a defensive background as well as revamping its defensive philosophy.

After all of Shanahan's assistants met with Bowlen and Ellis on Wednesday, several were told they are free to pursue other jobs, including defensive coordinator Bob Slowik and several of the other defensive assistants.

Of the defensive staff, only line coach Bill Johnson and linebackers coach Jim Ryan, a former Broncos player, attended Bowlen's and Shanahan's news conferences. Almost the entire offensive coaching staff was present.

Shanahan said Bowlen was "going to keep the offensive staff intact, as much as he can. We've got to make some changes, obviously, on the defensive side."

Bowlen initially said none of the assistant coaches would be retained, but he clarified later through a spokesman the assistant coaches who remain when a new coach arrives will be evaluated by the new coach, then decisions will be made.

But Shanahan and quarterback Jay Cutler have lobbied for the team's offensive staff, and Bowlen said Wednesday he plans to keep Cutler informed of the search, calling him "the man around here."

This season, Cutler was selected for his first Pro Bowl after he set single-season franchise records in yards passing (4,526), total offense (4,726 yards), attempts (616) and completions (384) to go with 25 touchdown passes, which tied him for the third-highest single-season total in Broncos history.

The quarterback, who spoke with Bowlen and Shanahan on Wednesday from Nashville, Tenn., where he was attending the Music City Bowl, has made no secret he enjoys working with quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who also called the plays this season.

"Whatever head coach comes in and doesn't see what the offense did in both the running game and the passing game - the youth - would have to be crazy not to try to keep the people that made it happen," Shanahan said.

"That's why when I do leave, I feel excited for Denver," he added. "I'm not trying to put pressure on anybody, but it's what they've done this year. Got to go out and get the defense done the right way."

Bates has three years remaining on his contract after signing a two-year extension.

While Bowlen said he had made no contact with any candidates, it is likely the Broncos initially will lean toward a defensive coach such as Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as they begin their search process.

Schwartz and Bates have known each other for some time, and the two were co-workers when Bates took his first NFL job as a Titans assistant coach.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher repeatedly has said he believes Schwartz is ready to be a head coach.

Several personnel executives in the league said there already was a buzz in the scouting community that the Broncos, because of their firepower on offense, could be the job that finally lures Bob Stoops away from the University of Oklahoma. Bowlen said he would give consideration to a college coach.

Stoops has been linked to several NFL openings in recent years. But he is well-compensated at the collegiate powerhouse, set to earn $6 million this year because of a $3 million bonus for finishing his 10th season in Norman, Okla.

Former Arizona Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis, also on Fisher's Titans staff, New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan are other defensive coaches on the league's current A-list.

Also, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, 32, is someone many people in the league consider an up-and-comer if he is surrounded by established coordinators.

"This job . . . this is a very highly thought of job and I expect to get a very good head coach . . . ," Bowlen said. "I want him to be a 10 in every area."

If Bowlen chooses to lean toward offense, former Giants coach Jim Fassel is pursuing openings around the league, having even written a letter to the Oakland Raiders.

Former Broncos assistants Mike Heimerdinger and Gary Kubiak also could fit on the offensive side. Heimerdinger is the Titans' offensive coordinator and Kubiak has two more years remaining on his contract with the Texans.

To secure a head coach who is under contract with another team, such as Kubiak, the Broncos would have to work out a deal with the other team and likely have to surrender compensatory draft picks.

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been one of the most pursued coordinators in the league in recent seasons. And former Broncos assistant and current Miami Dolphins receivers coach Karl Dorrell has head coaching experience at UCLA.

Because of the Rooney Rule, the Broncos have to interview at least one minority candidate, and the league would prefer more than one be considered. Also, because of the playoffs, there are several timing issues that could impact the speed at which the Broncos can fill the job.

For teams that have a playoff bye this week, the Broncos could interview one of their assistants only until Sunday if they formally have asked for and been granted permission. That could include Schwartz,

Heimerdinger and Spagnuolo.

Then the next window to interview assistants from teams that advance to the Super Bowl comes in the week after the conference championships. Those assistants can be interviewed in their home cities.

All other assistants with teams in wild- card games this weekend can be interviewed once their teams are knocked out of the playoffs or in the week after the conference championship games if the teams keep winning.

Assistants on teams that didn't make the playoffs can be interviewed at any time.

But Bowlen and Shanahan set the table for high expectations with the belief the team's high-powered offense, with players such as Cutler, Brandon Marshall and left tackle Ryan Clady, is set for a quick return to the postseason.

"This is a process that starts (Wednesday) . . . " Bowlen said. "I'm not sure how long it will take or who the candidates are at this time."

"You leave a team that has the utmost character, you feel good about it," Shanahan said. "You look at the offense, at what we did, you feel like you're leaving a team that's got a chance to be a difference-maker. . . . I don't want to put any pressure on the new head coach, but you take a look at the offense, the youth, the talent, defensively we lost a couple of our captains this year, they'll be back, guys that went out, they'll be back, through Free Agency, the draft, people want to be a Denver Bronco ."


The list

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he has yet to contact anyone to be his next coach, but a poll of several personnel executives around the league says these names would be on any team's initial list:

* Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz

* Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

* Titans linebackers coach Dave McGinnis

* Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan

* Buccaneers defensive backs coach Raheem Morris

* Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops

* Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger

* Texans coach Gary Kubiak

* Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

* Dolphins receivers coach Karl Dorrell

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 1, 2009

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