Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Gase declines interviews until season over
By Jeff Legwold
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- While both of his coordinators have already drawn some interest from teams with head coaching vacancies, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox said he has no doubt where the focus is for all of his assistants these days, including offensive coordinator Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
"I just know that, to a man -- player or coach -- in that locker room or in those offices is totally focused on our next opponent and what we have to do to win that game," Fox said. "Whether it was USC earlier in the year or 'Black Monday' candidates -- it’s all speculation. I can just assure you that all of our focus is on the Denver Broncos."
Gase, who called the plays for the Broncos' record-setting offense, has drawn quick interest. The Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings had already formally requested permission to interview Gase before the close of business Monday. According to a source, however, Gase has informed each of those teams, either himself or through a representative, that he would not interview for any job until the Broncos' season is over.
In the wake of the Broncos' double-overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens last January, which knocked them out of the playoffs as the AFC's top seed, there has already been plenty of attention given to the team's preparation this time around. Inside the Broncos' complex, there is little surprise that Gase would say he wants to wait for any interview. That would force any team interested in speaking to Gase to wait until at least Feb. 3 if the Broncos were to advance to the Super Bowl.
That would require some patience from teams that may be looking to get a new head coach in place as quickly as possible. The Broncos are again the AFC's top seed and have a bye this weekend and will open their postseason on Jan. 12 with the divisional round game in Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Just 35 years old with no head coaching experience, Gase is a popular candidate because, even in these pass-happy times, what he has done with the Broncos offense has gotten plenty of notice. He's constructed a read-option look to enable Tim Tebow to have some short-term success as well as the current attack for Peyton Manning.
The Broncos, with 606 points, set a new single-season scoring record this season as Manning set new league records for touchdown passes (55) and yards passing (5,477). Gase has also been lauded by many in the league for his work with the team’s receivers when he arrived on Josh McDaniels’ staff in 2009.
Gase started coaching at Michigan State when Nick Saban was the school’s head coach.
Del Rio, who interviewed for the USC head coaching job during the Broncos' bye week is also expected to draw some interest from the Vikings. Del Rio is a former Vikings linebacker and has plenty of head coaching experience with nine seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. This season he was the Broncos' interim head coach for four games when Fox took a leave of absence for open-heart surgery.
Because the Broncos have a bye this week, the coaches could interview with teams on Sunday if they chose to. After that, interested teams would have to wait until the week following the conference championship games if the Broncos were to win their first postseason game.
Asked about any timetable for interviews for his assistants, Fox said Monday afternoon; "We're going to keep that in-house, but they're focused on the job at hand."