The Broncos search comes down to a question: does Ryans want Wilson?

Jan 26, 2023, 1:52 PM
DeMeco Ryans...
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

DeMeco Ryans is the top candidate for the Denver Broncos head coaching vacancy.

But Ryans not going to take the job overnight, he will be busy this weekend severing as the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, who are in Philly for the NFC championship game.

Mike Klis from 9News and Broncos insider for Denver Sports writes that Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell are still in the mix. But, it’s clear they are the backups and likely in that order.

However, for all of those in Broncos Country mashing their palms against their face in frustration about the possibility of hiring a rookie head coach, you must keep in mind that getting Ryans is not going to be easy.

Ryans rejected two interviews for a head coaching position turning down the Colts (who apparently are having second interviews with—everybody) and the Cardinals. Ryans kept his interview with the Texans, who he has a long history with and also a long relationship with Gary Kubiak. It was Kubes as the head coach of Houston who drafted Ryans in the second round out of Alabama. Ryans played for Kubiak until 2011 then finished his playing career with the Eagles.

After a couple of years off the field, Ryans got into coaching, joining the Niners staff in 2017, and look what has happened. In a heartbeat, Ryans, 38, with six years of coaching experience has two NFL teams knocking on his door.

“Do you hunt quail?”

That’s what I imagine Broncos owner Robson Walton is asking Ryans during his second interview. What else is Walton going to say to Ryans?

Rob didn’t want these kinds of headaches when he made the glamour decision to get into pro sports ownership. This was supposed to be easy. A fun distraction on some fall weekends. A nice parting gift for his son-in-law and daughter.

He likely—across the family Thanksgiving table, or worse, Christmas—looked at cousin Stan gloating about this soccer team in England and that hockey championship and the cool Super Bowl trophy and thought, ‘well how hard can that be?’ Walton had his Welcome to Wrexham moment as you can’t take all those billions with you; so why not buy the Broncos?!?

There’s no way Walton imagined being in a bidding war for a rookie coach with a historically bad club, who Ryans actually sued! Think about this for a second, Denver may lose out to another club, with little history, who actually got sued by the man they’re considering making their head coach.

Ryans sued the Texans and NFL for $10 million over bad turf, which he claimed led to his 2014 Achilles injury. He blames the playing conditions for an injury that he believes essentially ended his career. The case dragged on for many years and finally has landed outside of the courts.

And yet the Texans are still interested in possibly hiring Ryans and Ryans is interested in Texans. Add to that the fact that his wife is from Houston. They have three kids together. All of that adds up to a home base with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all sorts of hometown cooking.

Let Russ cook? How about let grandma cook?

“Do you find pheasant challenging?”

Perhaps that is the query that will bond Rob Walton with Ryans.

Hey, who are we kidding? At this point, the Broncos would be lucky to get Ryans. They don’t want him in for a second interview, they need him in for a coronation. The due deliberation is over. Calls have been made and candidates have been told bad news. Back-up plans are in place and bizarrely, Sean Payton may be lurking in some seedy corner hidden away from the bright lights. But, don’t get it twisted, the full-court press is now on what would be the fourth-straight first-time head coach in a row to lead the Broncos out of this football maelstrom.

Humiliated ex-Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett bounced back landing an offensive coordinator job with the Jets. There is zero doubt he threw beleaguered Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson under the bus.

Albert Breer tweeted, “more or less, Jets saw that Hackett lost a political war in Denver.”

Breer also said that Hackett beat out 14 other candidates for the job because Jets head coach Robert Saleh worked with Hackett in 2016 and was able to “cut through all of that.” That being—well —Russell Wilson! So we know what at least one organization thinks of Wilson, and we are about to find out what a top candidate from the head coaching job thinks too.

The Texans have the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

We can safely call that Lovie’s revenge as ex-head coach Lovie Smith, in the last game of the season, got an unneeded win against the Colts which deprived the organization who he knew was going to fire him of a first-overall pick. Picking No. 2 and not No. 1 is disappointing but it’s hardly crippling. CJ Stroud and Bryce Young are the two slam-dunk quarterback prospects coming to a draft near you. Which one will be better than the other is anybody’s guess, but it’s a no-brainer that both have the talent to succeed making the decision somewhat moot. The next head coach of the Texans will have a highly drafted, talented quarterback on a rookie contract.

The Broncos have the fifth-best fit dad in the drop-off line at Campus middle school; Russell Wilson.

So, here we are Broncos fans with another possible moment of complete humiliation. It’s not if the Broncos want Ryans—they do. It’s if Ryans wants Wilson.

“Do grouse give you pause?”



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The Broncos search comes down to a question: does Ryans want Wilson?