After overseeing an Atlanta Falcons attack that shattered franchise records for points and yards, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will have his pick of head coaching opportunities this January.
Although Shanahan is also set to meet with the Rams, Jaguars and 49ers, the Broncos have emerged as the frontrunner for his services.
Appearing on Wednesday’s edition of Up to the Minute Live, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Kyle favors following in Mike Shanahan’s footsteps with Denver.
“The word around the league right now,” Garafolo said, “the word with people involved in coaching searches and gathering all of this information is that that’s the job Shanahan has his eyes on — going to Denver where his father coached.”
In that case, Shanahan is undaunted by the manifold shadows cast in Denver.
His father is the most successful coach in franchise history, hoisting back-to-back Lombardi Trophies with quarterback John Elway, who now runs the team’s football operations. He would be replacing 2015 Super Bowl-winner Gary Kubiak, under whom Shanahan developed his chops as precocious play-caller and quarterback whisperer with the Houston Texans from 2007 through 2009.
Why is the 37-year-old coordinator in such high demand? Only four teams in history — the 2000 Rams, 2011 Saints, 2012 Patriots and 2013 Broncos — have recorded more yards and points than the 2016 Falcons. Atlanta is one of just three teams this century to score on over half of its offensive possessions.
His golden touch has propelled Matt Ryan to the forefront of the MVP race, no surprise given Shanahan’s history with quarterbacks.
Before arriving as a godsend to Atlanta, Shanahan coaxed the best years out of Matt Schaub, schemed Robert Griffin III’s unparalleled Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign and guided Brian Hoyer to the best season by a Browns quarterback in the past half-decade.
If he does land in Denver, Shanahan will be charged with resurrecting an offense that cost the team a chance to defend its Super Bowl title.