Denver's plan takes shape

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Broncos, guarded and secretive during Mike Shanahan's 14-year tenure, are beginning the post-Shanahan era open about the search to replace him.

The team, which shockingly dispatched Shanahan on Tuesday, has moved quickly to cobble together a short list. The team may add others to the list but has already scheduled several interviews.

Here's a look at the coaches under consideration:

Steve Spagnuolo

New York Giants, defensive coordinator

Scheduled interview: Saturday.

The skinny: He is one the most sought after current coordinators in the league. His unit has consistently been one of the best in the NFL. Denver is said to be very intrigued by Spagnuolo. Some consider him a favorite for the job. The Jets are also in hot pursuit.

Josh McDaniels

New England Patriots, offensive coordinator

Scheduled interview: Sunday.

The skinny: McDaniels, 32, is considered one of the better young offensive minds in the league. He did a brilliant job preparing Matt Cassel after Tom Brady was lost for the season in Week 1. The Broncos may be leaning toward a defensive coach, but considering Denver's strong offensive pieces, getting someone like McDaniels to take over for Shanahan could be tempting. McDaniels has interviewed with Cleveland.

Raheem Morris

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defensive coordinator

Scheduled interview: Wednesday.

The skinny: Morris is basically the defensive version of McDaniels. Morris, too, is 32. He was just promoted to defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. He is inexperienced but considered a potential coaching star. He has a chance to win the job with a dynamite interview.

Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys, offensive coordinator

Scheduled interview: TBA. Likely next week.

The skinny: He was the hot coaching prospect last year and is the supposed coach-in-waiting in Dallas. His shine may have lost some luster after the drama on the offensive side of the ball in Dallas this season. Still, Denver has long been intrigued by Garrett. He'll get a long look.

Bob Stoops

Oklahoma Sooners, head coach

Scheduled interview: Nothing is set. Initial contact has been made.

The skinny: He is believed to be Denver owner Pat Bowlen's top choice. But it's unknown if he would leave the school, which is playing for the national championship next Thursday. It will be interesting to see how Stoops handles the situation in the days leading up to the game. If he is not interested, expect him to make it clear fairly soon to avoid a distraction. If Stoops wants this job, it could be his.

Rick Dennison

Denver Broncos, run game coordinator

Scheduled interview: Next week

The skinny: A former Denver player and a longtime Denver assistant, Dennison knows the Broncos' way very well. Still, he has to be considered a major long shot.