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Kiszla: Broncos can open auditions for their next coach in Big D. Is Kellen Moore ready for his close-up?

Kiszla: Broncos can open auditions for their next coach in
Big D. Is Kellen Moore ready for his close-up? 1

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the next coach of the Broncos.

Please allow me to introduce you to the NFL’s next wunderkind, a young coach with an impeccable winning pedigree who could instill a boring Denver team burdened by a nearly unwatchable offense with a whole new approach.

At age 33, Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is young enough to be Uncle Vic’s nephew. But please watch carefully when Moore goes to work Sunday at AT&T Stadium, where the overpaid and under-performing defensive impostors coached by Fangio will try to stop quarterback Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ prolific offense.

“Kellen is on fire!” Prescott recently declared. “I’ll come back to the sidelines sometimes and tell him: ‘Man, just keep it up.’”

With Dallas averaging a league-best 455 yards while lighting up the scoreboard at 32 points per game, Moore was already the hottest coaching candidate in the NFL, even before he coaxed 325 yards passing and two TD passes from Cooper Rush, who made his first career start in a 20-16 road victory at Minnesota while Prescott nursed a calf injury.

While Fangio insists “nobody is surrendering” after saying goodbye to linebacker Von Miller, and general manager George Paton adds “we’re not approaching a rebuild,” what the team did with Monday’s blockbuster deal was turn the page and look forward to better days in 2022.

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As the NFL trade deadline approached, the primary goal of Paton was not to bolster his current roster, but to add valuable draft choices. Those picks could put the Broncos in prime position to acquire a new quarterback prior to next season, either through a trade for an elite veteran (Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers), or by moving up in the first round and selecting a hot prospect (Sam Howell of North Carolina, perhaps?).

Getting picks in the second and third rounds in return for Miller was the biggest victory Denver will score all season.

Let’s hope the departure of Miller was acknowledgement that going forward, the Broncos realize lavish spending on defense is a luxury wasted on a team without a top-level quarterback. What’s more, whether Denver wants to develop a young arm or earn the respect of a seasoned pro, it makes sense to have a head coach fluent in the language of quarterbacks instead of somebody who abdicates responsibility for the most important position on the field.

As a kid, living under the same roof as one of the most successful coaches in the history of Washington prep football, Moore collected playbooks. He played quarterback, winning 50 games as a starter at Boise State. After joining the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Moore scratched out earnings of more than $3 million as a backup in Detroit and Dallas.

Moore joined the Cowboys’ coaching staff as the QB coach in 2018 and was elevated to offensive coordinator by Mike McCarthy after only one season. New England coach Bill Belichick, difficult to impress, has praised Moore, known to be fond of double tight-end schemes, motion before the snap and play-action passing.

“I think Kellen does a really good job at No. 1, establishing the game plan,” said McCarthy, lauding his offensive coordinator for the ability to not only communicate with fellow Dallas assistants, but also a willingness to take their input. Moore puts “together a healthy creative, and aggressive game plan.”

There are many words to describe the game plans we’ve seen from Denver offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. But the boring and uninspired work done by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos is about as interesting to watch as mittens being made during a Sunday afternoon knitting club.

Hiring a brilliant, young offensive mind to do the job as head coach for the first time can be a gamble, with Josh McDaniels’ stint in Denver a cautionary tale. But here’s my bigger concern: Might Paton, John Elway and Joe Ellis feel uncomfortable making the call to dismiss Fangio or hire a replacement before new ownership is in place, and Moore lands a job elsewhere, perhaps with the Raiders in Las Vegas?

With any luck, the Broncos will have new ownership, a new quarterback and a coach who can push this team into the 21st century, dumping the pursuit of 20-17 victories — a strategy so risk-averse it actually allows little margin for error.

While thanking the Vonster for the memories, is it OK to embrace the optimistic viewpoint this trade represented the start of dramatic change for the better by a proud franchise stuck too long in the past?

In Big D, the Broncos have a chance to open auditions for their next coach.

Could Moore be the fresh face of a brighter future?

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