We've all touched on the many needs that must be filled on this team before the 2011 season begins several times. But one thing none of us thought would be a concern this offseason is the possibility of having to find a new offensive coordinator.
I still thought it was a long shot until Adam Schefter said this on NFL Sunday Countdown:
"Dennison happens to be Kubiak’s best friend. Best friends don’t interview for jobs, they get jobs. Dennison will be there on Monday."
He then went on to call Dennison the "favorite" after his interview. And after Dennison was quoted saying:
"I'm orange and blue all the way through, I just work in Houston now."
It may be safe to assume that he will not be the offensive coordinator in Houston in 2011. My question is, should we be concerned? More after the jump.
There are still some other candidates interviewing for the Broncos gig, including John Fox this afternoon. So it is far from a done deal, but just for this article, let's assume that he is gone. What happens now?
It is a pretty safe assumption that Gary Kubiak runs the offense and even calls most, if not all of the plays. If that is the case, losing Dennison shouldn't be that big of a blow. However, Dennison and Kubiak are very close and if Gary was ever going to let the playcalling go, it would have to be to someone he trusts a whole hell of a lot. Dennison fits that description for sure. I think most of us would like Gary to relinquish complete control of the offense and focus on being a head coach. Bringing in a new coordinator or simply promoting from within isn't going to help that plan develop any faster.
Yet if Gary insists on being a head coach and an offensive coordinator, does losing Dennison really mean all that much? Most seem to think that the team would just promote Greg Knapp to offensive coordinator should Dennison depart. It's a position that Knapp has been in before (2001-2009 with San Francisco, Atlanta, Oakland and Seattle) and if it is going to be an OC position in name only, what does it matter?
Everyone is quick to give Dennison credit for the success of the Houston running game in 2010. They may be right, they may be wrong. Personally, I am on the side that gives Arian Foster most of that credit. The scheme was installed before Dennison got here and Foster showed that in the final two games of the 2009 season. Steve Slaton just lost any ability he had and the coaching staff stuck with him far too long that season. Therefore, the running attack seemed hopeless going into 2011. Foster, a perfect fit for this scheme, was very successful in what just happened to be Dennison's first year here.
Again, I don't want to completely discredit Dennison. He wouldn't be getting a shot at a head coaching position if he didn't know what he was doing. I just don't think he would be as devastating of a loss to this team as some would have us believe.
In the end, I still think John Fox gets the job in Denver. He's too good of a coach to be passed up on for a first-time guy. Still, Elway is new to this and may decide to go in the "hometown guy" direction. Looks like we'll know real soon. I'm personally not that worried about it.