Would Dennison bolt for head coaching job?

Would Dennison bolt for head coaching job?
January 2, 2013, 8:00 am
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Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison stood at the podium inside Reliant Stadium and answered the question quickly, dismissively.

Just a day after seven head coaches from around the NFL were fired after the regular season’s end, on a day infamously nicknamed Black Monday, Dennison was asked a simple question: Have you thought about the head coaching vacancies?

“Not at all,” he said quickly. “Not at all. I’m trying to work here.”

That was the last question the 54-year-old coordinator fielded before slipping out of the media room and back to his team. The answer and its delivery were telling or maybe they weren’t. After all, what was he going to say?

Dennison, in his third season as the team’s offensive coordinator, is preparing for the Bengals on Saturday. Cincinnati might just have one of the toughest defenses in the entire NFL, so he has his hands full this week.

NFL assistants can only be interviewed during a bye week, so Dennison couldn’t be interviewed for a vacancy until the Texans are eliminated from the playoffs or during the bye week that precedes the Super Bowl. The Texans would need to grant permission to let another team interview him to avoid tampering rules.

But if Dennison would be interested in a head coaching job, now might be the time. With seven vacancies, you’ve already heard of the big-name candidates, Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, Lovie Smith, Chip Kelly. But Dennison’s name has been intertwined with another group of coaches, the coordinators waiting for their next or first shot as an NFL head coach.

While some teams like to make a big splash – others feel they need to – many organizations are happy finding the guy who fits. Many teams are more than happy to hire the guys who’s right for them. That’s what the Eagles did when they hired Andy Reid 14 years ago. Reid was fired on Monday.

“You have to find the right leader,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said, via CSNPhilly. “When I picked Andy I know it wasn't popular, I know he wasn't known very well. But I had known this guy for a couple years, I had spent time with him.”

Perhaps Philly would be a good landing spot for Dennison. But there are others too. The Bears dropped Smith after eight seasons and are now looking for his replacement.

So how about the Bears? That might actually be the best fit for Dennison if he decided to bolt.

CSNChicago Bears Insider John “Moon” Mullin writes that the credentials of the team’s next head coach are actually less important than the ability to work with quarterback Jay Cutler.

So of all the head coaching candidates out there, who would work best with Cutler? How about the guy who was his offensive coordinator in Denver?

Dennison was with the Broncos as a coach from 1995-2008. He was the team’s offensive coordinator from 2006-08, when Cutler became the team’s starting quarterback. In 2008, the last season with Cutler as quarterback and Dennison at coordinator, Cutler had his best season as a pro. He threw for over 4,500 yards and 25 touchdown passes on the way to his only Pro Bowl appearance.

And Dennison isn’t just an offensive mind. He played linebacker for the Broncos for seven seasons. He knows both sides of the football. Dennison was thought to be one of the favorites for the Broncos’ head coaching job before they hired John Fox two seasons ago.  

For now, Dennison is still the offensive coordinator for the Texans and he’ll prepare for each week before the Texans are knocked out of the playoffs or crowned Super Bowl champions.

But after that? We’ll see.