DENVER -- After recharging the batteries on Friday night, the Broncos coaching search shifted into high gear on Saturday. The Broncos interviewed Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan ranks among the league's hottest head coaching candidates and his connection to the Broncos remains intriguing to fans.
Shanahan once served as a Broncos ball boy in the city where his father, Mike, won the franchise's first two Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. The idea of following in his famous dad's footsteps has not swayed Kyle. He is aiming to land the Broncos' job, according to NFL sources, even as he has interviews scheduled with the Rams (Saturday), Jaguars and 49ers.
"We spent the morning with Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta. He's a very bright coach who's had a tremendous year and has a great future," tweeted Broncos general manager John Elway, who is spearheading the five-person search committee.
Shanahan's resume screams he's ready. He's served as an offensive coordinator for eight years for four different teams: Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. He coached quarterbacks with differing skillsets, working with Matt Schaub, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel and Matt Ryan. The development of first-round pick Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian, who went 8-6 as a first-year starter, figures to be a critical component for the new coach.
Ryan ranks as the frontrunner for NFL MVP honors this season, throwing for 38 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
The Falcons lead the NFL in scoring at 33.5 point per game. No other team averages 30 points. So what would prevent another Shanahan from leading the Broncos? He is competing against multiple strong candidates, most notably Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Joseph interviewed well two years ago with the Broncos.
Shanahan also has to deal with past history. The Broncos interviewed Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub for four hours on Friday in Kansas City, impressed with his knowledge and character. He has been highly recommended by Chiefs coach Andy Reid, even if it means he works in the division. Toub will also interview with the Chargers.
The Broncos fired Kyle's father Mike Shanahan in 2008 after a 14-year run. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen made the change, but current president Joe Ellis was in place when it happened. Shanahan's control of football operations prevented any meaningful role for Elway after his retirement. Elway ended up learning the business by running the Colorado Crush, an arena football league team. All parties have, by all accounts, a professional relationship. It might not matter if Kyle, as expected, told the Broncos he was prepared to run the show without his father's involvement. Kyle's experience suggests he's prepared for the next step. And it does not require reading between the lines to see Shanahan wants the job based on last Thursday's meeting with the press.
"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, that's what I respect the most," Shanahan said.