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Broncos head coach candidate Zac Taylor brings greatest risk, most potential

Taylor is one of five candidates being interviewed by John Elway for Denver's head coach position
Credit: Getty Images
Quarterbaks coach Zac Taylor is seen on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, December 2, 2018.

KUSA – Zac Taylor is the outlier on the Broncos’ head coach candidates list.

He is the youngest candidate at age 35, and the least experienced as he’s never been a full-time coordinator, much less a head coach. He’s also the only candidate whose background is not steeped in the game’s down-and-dirty elements of defense or the offensive line.

All of this may also make Taylor the most exciting of the Broncos’ candidates, a group that also includes former Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano, Pittsburgh offensive line coach Mike Munchak, Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and New England defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

RELATED: Broncos begin head coach interviews with Boulder's own Chuck Pagano

Taylor will interview with general manager John Elway, director of player personnel Matt Russell and the Broncos’ search committee Thursday near the Rams’ headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Taylor’s top two selling points: One, he spent the past two seasons as an offensive coach on Sean McVay’s staff.

And two … do you need a second point if you’ve worked two years under Sean McVay?

McVay is simply the NFL’s most exciting young head coach. In 2016, the year before McVay arrived, the Rams were No. 32 in total offense, No. 32 in scoring offense and No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff was a bust.

In the two years since owner Stan Kroenke and general manager Les Snead made the gutsy hire of the 30-year-old McVay, the Rams finished No. 1 and No. 2 in scoring and Goff has earned two Pro Bowl appearances.

Taylor was McVay’s assistant receivers coach in 2017 and quarterbacks coach this season.

Taylor is the Broncos’ only quarterback-centric candidate at a time when the NFL has increasingly become a quarterback-driven, high-scoring product.

A former Nebraska quarterback and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Taylor began his coaching career as a graduate assistant on Mike Sherman’s coaching staff at Texas A&M in 2008. For two years at College Station, Taylor worked alongside another up-and-coming offensive coach, Klint Kubiak, who is now the Broncos’ assistant quarterback coach.

By all accounts, Klint Kubiak is ready for a promotion to quarterback coach while his father, Gary Kubiak, is staying with the Broncos in 2019 after serving as Elway’s special advisor the past two seasons. While Gary Kubiak’s role is not yet defined, the expectation is he will return as an offensive coordinator.

RELATED: Broncos head coach candidates: Is there a Kubiak factor?

Worth noting: Former Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, who was signed off the streets two weeks ago to rush for 167 and 132 yards in the Rams’ final two regular-season games, has said one reason he was able to flourish so quickly is the Rams’ offensive playbook is like the one Gary Kubiak had with the Broncos in 2015-16.

So, the Taylor-Kubiak-Kubiak marriage in Denver must intrigue Elway.

Taylor also worked four seasons with the Miami Dolphins under Joe Philbon from 2012-15. Taylor was the Dolphins’ QB coach from 2013-15 when quarterback Ryan Tannehill averaged 4,055 yards, 26 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

Taylor became the Dolphins’ interim offensive coordinator the final five games of 2015, then spent the next year in the same role for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.

The assumption in league circles is Taylor is still a year away from becoming head coach ready. Then again, waiting a year may be a year too late for the Broncos, who want their next head coach to be around for at least the next seven to 10 years.

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