DENVER — Ejiro Evero is batting leadoff.
The Broncos’ first in-person head coach interview will be this week with their own defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, a source told 9NEWS. Other head coach interviews by the Broncos will be held virtually this week, including one with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, a source confirmed.
The Broncos’ search committee will be led by owner and CEO Greg Penner and include fellow owners Carrie Penner, Rob Walton and Condoleeza Rice and general manager George Paton. All were present at the Broncos’ final game of the regular season Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Another candidate -- former and still under contract as the New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton -- confirmed on his NFL Fox show Sunday morning that he has talked with the Broncos about their job that has been officially vacant since Nathaniel Hackett was fired the day after a Christmas Day 51-14 embarrassment at Los Angeles.
“Denver's the first team and I was able to have a conversation with their owner and that's kind of the protocol,’’ Payton said on FOX. “So it'll go team to Saints and then the interview process can't officially begin until the 17th of this month. So that's where it's at."
Because Payton is under contract with the Saints, he can’t hold an in-person interview with another team until Jan. 17th. The Broncos could have held a virtual interview with Payton this week but decided to wait until he’s fully cleared.
The Broncos will formally begin their search Monday by sending out permission requests to interview head coaching candidates who are currently employed with other clubs. The Broncos are expected to be interested in Dallas defensive coordinator and former Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn, but because his Cowboys play in the NFC Wild Card round next weekend, he also cannot be interviewed until the following week, either Jan. 16 or 17.
Besides Evero, the Broncos must interview two external minority candidates for their head coach position per the league’s Rooney Rule. Defensive coordinators Rahim Morris of the Rams, the 49ers DeMeco Ryans and the Bills’ Leslie Frazier are among the Black coaches who figure to be in interview demand from multiple teams during this coaching cycle.
The Broncos’ search committee would prefer an experienced head coach as the team’s previous three hires – Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio and Hackett -- were first-time head coaches and finished with losing records.
Although Evero does not have head coaching experience, he more than showed he had the maturity, coaching acumen and leadership skills to handle his jump to first-time coordinator this year. The Denver defense ranks No. 7 in total defense (318.0 yards per game) and No. 10 in points allowed (20.7 ppg) in the NFL.
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