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Broncos hire veteran coach Jeff Davidson to lead maligned offensive line

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Posted at 10:21 AM, Jan 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-14 15:41:59-05

DENVER -- The Broncos continued their offensive overhaul in vision and scheme, hiring Jeff Davidson as the offensive line coach. 

Davidson worked with new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy in San Diego last season. Davidson brings a wealth of experience -- he started his coaching career in 1995 after playing line for the Broncos from 1990-1993 -- and brings expertise in a power running scheme. The Broncos used that philosophy in the years prior to Gary Kubiak's hiring. He reintroduced the zone blocking attack, but it never matched past production. Outside of the final seven regular-season games of 2015 when quarterback Brock Osweiler went under center, the Broncos remained inconsistent.

The Broncos finished 27th in rushing last season, averaging 92.8 yards per game and 3.62 yards per carry, which ranked 28th. They dropped a yard per attempt following starting running back C.J. Anderson's season-ending knee injury, which sidelined him for the final nine games.

Davidson's résumé includes stops in New England, and a five-year stretch in Minnesota before joining McCoy in San Diego a year ago. He also served as the Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator from 2007-2010, making him the third former offensive boss on the Broncos' new ramped up staff. Quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave and McCoy have long histories of leading offenses.

Even if Kubiak had stayed, there would have been an offensive overhaul after the unit again failed to carry its load, sparking divisiveness in the locker room. Running backs coach Eric Studesville will remain with Denver after interviewing for the Jets offensive coordinator post. Receivers coach Tyke Tolbert, too, is staying put.

It's been an impressive few days for first-time coach Vance Joseph, landing a veteran staff to help caffeinate the offense. General manager John Elway admitted the team will continue to try and "fix" the offensive line this season. The dramatic shift in philosophy means Denver could be looking for different skillsets in the draft and free agency. Linemen in the zone blocking scheme rely on versatility and quickness to reach the second level. The power scheme stresses physicality at the point of attack. The Broncos could boast multiple new starters and have important decisions on tackles Russell Okung (a decision must be made by March 9 to trigger a four-year option on the veteran who is pictured above addressing team before a game) and Donald Stephenson, whose 2017 salary of $4 million guarantees on March 13.

The Broncos continue to search for a special teams coach, expressing interest in Derius Swinton, Kevin Spencer and Craig Aukerman, according to multiple reports. Joe DeCamillis left the Broncos for the same position with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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