The Denver Broncos' search for a head coach will hit full tilt early next week after Eric Studesville, who I can see getting an interview for the permanent gig, finishes his four-game stint as the interim coach as a replacement for the fired Josh McDaniels.
There will be a lot of names that pop up and we will look at some as we recently did with former San Francisco head coach and former Denver and current Miami defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
Here’s another name to keep an eye on: Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.
Like Nolan, Mularkey is a former head coach and is a successful coordinator. Mularkey was 14-18 as Buffalo’s head coach in 2004-05. He resigned in January 2006 after a disagreement about the direction the franchise was taking.
A former NFL tight end, Mularkey has resurrected his coaching career as the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. Mularkey, who has also been an offensive coordinator with Pittsburgh and Miami, is getting a lot of credit for the Falcons’ resurgence and particularly his work with quarterback Matt Ryan.
Mularkey’s success with a young quarterback is interesting because Denver has rookie quarterback Tim Tebow, who appears like he may be ready to be the full-time starter in 2011. Denver will be interested in finding a successful offensive coach to help Tebow develop.
In addition to his head-coaching experience that Denver would like in its next coach, Mularkey likely wouldn’t be overly expensive, which also may be a key in Denver.
The head coach is not going to have ultimate power in Denver after the past two coaches, Mike Shanahan and McDaniels, did. Legendary Denver quarterback John Elway is expected to join the organization and the team is expected to have a general manager in place, whether it is existing general manager Brian Xanders or someone else. Mularkey is part of a similar chain in Atlanta.
I’m not saying Mularkey will end up in Denver, but I expect him to be on the list of candidates along with Nolan.