ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As several teams line up to interview Adam Gase for their offensive coordinator jobs, the Denver Broncos moved quickly to talk with him about their head coaching job.
Gase, who met briefly with Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway on Wednesday, was set to interview for the job Thursday afternoon and into the evening, if necessary.
Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will interview with the Broncos on Friday. They have formally requested permission to talk with Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. As of Thursday afternoon, the Broncos were still waiting to hear back from Kubiak, who announced this past weekend -- before the Denver job was open -- that he intended to stay with the Ravens.
For Gase, the Broncos interview comes as several teams had begun to express interest in him as an offensive coordinator.
Three of the four teams Gase interviewed with during the Broncos’ playoff bye week -- the 49ers, Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears -- have either hired head coaches or are closing in on a candidate. The Bears are nearing a deal with Fox, while the Bills hired Rex Ryan. Gase also interviewed for the Falcons’ head coaching job, which has yet to be filled.
Those in and around the Broncos say Gase has drawn interest in recent days from a wide-range of teams to be their new offensive coordinator, including two (49ers and Falcons) who interviewed him for their head coaching jobs. The St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars have also expressed interest.
In the two seasons Gase has called plays for the Broncos, they have averaged 34 points per game, including an NFL single-season record of 606 points in 2013. The Broncos also topped 40 points 10 times in the past two seasons combined and topped 50 three times, including in back-to-back games early in the 2013 season.
What about the inevitable question about how Gase would fare without Peyton Manning as his quarterback? Well, Manning has said Gase would raise the level of any offense. His 55 touchdown passes in 2013 were an NFL record and six more than he had thrown in any other season. Manning has also reached out to other teams, including the Cleveland Browns last season, to vouch for Gase.
"I don't think you need me to sit up here and campaign for him," Manning said. "Last year I talked to a couple teams on the behalf of him that reached out to me. That may happen again, so I'm certainly glad to share my thoughts ... He deserves it, I think teams that he talks to will be impressed.''
Gase is also respected in football circles. He's had stints with Nick Saban at Michigan State and LSU and former Rams coach Mike Martz in the NFL. He was also instrumental in the deconstruction of the Broncos' offense in 2011 to build a read-option look for then-starting quarterback Tim Tebow.
If the Broncos went with Austin as their head coach, he would be far more apt to try to keep Gase on his staff. Kubiak would be more involved in the offense, and many with the team believe he would want to bring Rick Dennison, the Ravens wide receivers coach and Kubiak’s former offensive coordinator with the Houston Texans, with him to Denver if Kubiak were hired.
And as far as the other teams hoping to get a shot at Gase? The Rams have an unsettled quarterback situation and will likely ask Sam Bradford to restructure his contract. He is coming back from ACL surgery. Meanwhile, the Jaguars offer Blake Bortles, who threw 11 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions this past season as a rookie starter for a 3-13 team.
But first, he gets his shot to talk with the Broncos.