ENGLEWOOD – Whether it was a quirky quarterback or a quintessential one, Mike McCoy helped them fit comfortably and successfully into Denver’s offense.
The man who dusted off the old read-option for Tim Tebow a year ago and helped guide Peyton Manning through his outstanding comeback in Denver this season is a hot head coaching candidate for his work as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.
McCoy will use the bye week to interview for newly vacant head coaching jobs in Arizona and Chicago.
“With team success, you get recognition,” coach John Fox said.
Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said the team has reached out to McCoy to interview for their head-coaching vacancy following the firing of Ken Whisenhunt after six seasons that included the long-suffering franchise’s only Super Bowl appearance.
McCoy also will interview for Chicago’s position following the firing of Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season, a person familiar with the situation said. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on Monday on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly speak about the interviews, said the talks would take place in Denver this week.
McCoy, who interviewed with the Miami Dolphins last year after retooling Denver’s offense to fit Tebow’s skill set, burnished his head coaching credentials this season while blending the power formations the Broncos used in leading the league in rushing last year with Tebow and some of the spread formations that Manning ran in Indianapolis.
Manning returned from a year off due to neck issues to put up MVP numbers and lead Denver (13-3) to the top seed in the AFC playoffs with a league-best 11-game winning streak.
McCoy spent nine years as an offensive assistant in Carolina before joining the Broncos as offensive coordinator in 2009.
Manning recently credited McCoy and quarterbacks coach Adam Gase with helping him navigate his way through a new team and a new system.
“It’s been a team effort, and I really appreciate the help that Mike and Adam have given me going all the way back to when I first got here,” Manning said.
With a slew of openings in the NFL, another potential head-coaching candidate is Broncos’ defensive coordinator and former Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio, who helped Denver improve from 22nd against the pass a year ago to third and jump from 18th against the run to third this year.
Del Rio recently indicated he’d be picky about moving on.
“When you’re a young guy and you haven’t been there, the urgency and desire to get that opportunity is such that you’d take just about any job given to you,” said Del Rio, who was in charge of the Jaguars for nine seasons. “I don’t feel that way now. If there’s something that fits and the right situation comes along, so be it. But in the meantime, I’m all in, 100 percent as a lieutenant on this staff. I’m somebody that John Fox, John Elway ... and the players can count on. I’m 100 percent invested in helping them be their best.”