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Broncos coaching search shifts into high gear this weekend with interviews for Shanahan, Toub

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Posted at 2:34 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-05 18:35:43-05

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Openings present more challenges than opportunity. 

With only 32 teams, it's hard to discriminate when given a chance to lead. Examine the vacancies, and a compelling argument can be made the Broncos' opening is the most attractive. The Broncos sit one year removed from a Super Bowl crown, possess a top-flight defense and have the resources to reshape the offensive line. 

"This is a great place to work," general manager John Elway said. "But the expectations are high."

Yes, paradise presents a caveat. The Broncos want to win every season. They don't do rebuilds. Patience comes with an expiration date. But this search is different. The Broncos appear to be tilting more toward on winning from now on than just now. 

The process to find Gary Kubiak's replacement begins in earnest this weekend. The Broncos will interview Kansas City Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub on Friday, Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan on Saturday and Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph likely early next week.

Joseph interviewed well with the Broncos two years ago, leading to an offer for the defensive coordinator's job, but the Bengals blocked the move. Joseph worked with Kubiak in Houston and provides a rather unique skill set as a former quarterback with a defensive coach's background. If the Dolphins lose at Pittsburgh, the expectation is Joseph will interview in Denver. With a Dolphins win, the Broncos could travel to Miami to speak with him. 

Joseph addressed the rumors at a Thursday news conference, saying he hadn't talked to Denver, but also adding that the attention was "flattering" and that he would like to be a head coach someday.

"Would I like to be [a head coach]? Absolutely. But right now, again, I'm focused on Pittsburgh," he said. "That's my mindset...so I haven't spent one moment, you know, on the future. The future for me is Sunday at 1 p.m."

According to NFL columnist Alex Marvez, the Broncos' job is Joseph's "to lose." One thing is certain: Joseph is a strong candidate. As is Shanahan. NFL Network said Shanahan's preference is the Broncos' position even as he interviews earmarked with Jacksonville, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Shanahan leads the the NFL's highest-scoring offense. He has grown as a coordinator, brings expertise in coaching the offensive line (a clear Denver issue) and appears ready to take the next step. 

Like Joseph, Shanahan also addressed the Denver rumors Thursday during his weekly press conference, saying that he hadn't been to Denver much since leaving in high school but that he had respect for the Broncos' program.

"When you've got respect for people and you really think they do things the right way, and they're about one thing and that's trying to win a Super Bowl...when you have organizations like that who do want to talk to you and stuff, that's what I respect the most," Shanahan told reporters.

First, the Broncos will interview Toub. He provides a fascinating resume, going from college center to longtime strength coach to college assistant to special teams guru. Toub interviewed for the Bears head coaching job two years ago. It's rare for a special teams coach to make this jump, but John Harbaugh pulled it off with the Baltimore Ravens. The Chargers will interview Toub as well.

"It's not something I think about everyday," Toub said. "I have my hands full with this job."

Chiefs coach Andy Reid believes Toub is prepared to take over a team, even if its in the same division. 

"Listen, I'm all for it. It's just one of those deals, man," Reid told Kansas City reporters. "It's something that if it happens, it happens. I just like the fact that more special teams coaches are being recognized as guys that could be head coaches. The awareness is getting better, and I think somebody is going to pull the trigger on a guy."

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Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and TheDenverChannel.com’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at Troy.Renck@kmgh.com.