Handicapping Denver's coaching search

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
9:30
PM ET
The Denver Broncos met with former Carolina coach John Fox on Wednesday. He is the fifth candidate to meet with the Broncos, who are giving fans an inside look of the interview process.

Denver is now expected to review the candidates and decide whether to bring in any other possibilities. At this point, Denver is not preparing to ask permission to talk to speak to any other candidates. There is a strong chance that Denver’s new coach has already been interviewed.

The following is a look at the five candidates:

Rick Dennison, offensive coordinator, Houston Texans

When interviewed: Tuesday

The skinny: Dennison is a former Denver player and assistant coach. He is the most connected of the candidates to John Elway, Denver's new chief of football operations. Dennison interviewed to replace Mike Shanahan two years ago and is a quiet, smart coach. I’d be surprised, however, if he was the choice.

Perry Fewell, New York Giants, defensive coordinator

When interviewed: Sunday

The Skinny: He is considered one of the better young defensive minds in the NFL. He is a detailed coach, who impressed Denver’s brain trust with leadership abilities. I could see him getting a second interview.

John Fox, former Carolina Panthers head coach

When interviewed: Wednesday

The skinny: Fox is the headline name of this mostly unknown group. He has coached Carolina for the past nine years, is a strong presence, and is a good football man. Even though the Panthers tumbled terribly this season, hiring someone as experienced as Fox could be considered a coup. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the leader in the clubhouse.

Dirk Koetter, Jacksonville Jaguars, offensive coordinator

When interviewed: Tuesday

The skinny: Koetter may be a sleeper candidate. He is well respected as a strong offensive mind. Koetter is a reserved, quiet man who is known for his dedication. He was the coach at Arizona State and at Boise State and has the head-coaching experience that Elway desires. He could score with another interview.

Eric Studesville, Denver Broncos interim head coach

When interviewed: Sunday

The skinny: Studesville is the underdog candidate. He was Denver’s running backs coach before he took over for the fired Josh McDaniels in the final four games. Studesville finished with a 1-3 record, but Denver’s brass appreciated how hard he worked and how he kept the team together in the final month of the season. I’d be stunned if he got the head-coaching job, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the team tried to keep him in some capacity.

Note: Former Stanford and new San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams all declined interview opportunities. If the Falcons lose to Green Bay on Saturday, Mularkey could still interview.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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