The Denver Broncos Can't Repeat The Same 'Adam Gase' History & Pass On Kyle Shanahan

Kyle Shanahan is within striking distance, and the Broncos can't afford to make the same mistake they did in letting Adam Gase go.

Adam Gase spent six years with the Denver Broncos as an offensive assistant. He was hired by Head Coach Josh McDaniels to be Denver's wide receivers coach back in 2009. When McDaniels was jettisoned, John Fox moved him to quarterbacks coach, where he served for two seasons, working with Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton and Peyton Manning

When Mike McCoy left to be the new head coach in San Diego, the Broncos promoted Gase to offensive coordinator. In conjunction with Manning, the immense talent and football acumen of Gase was revealed in 2013. The Broncos set a new league scoring record, finishing with 606 points. Manning went on to win his fifth league MVP award, throwing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. 

In Gase's two years as OC, the Broncos finished with the No. 1 and No. 2 scoring offense. But after four consecutive disappointments in the playoffs, including an embarrassment in Super Bowl XLVIII, GM John Elway parted ways with Fox, and went in search of a new head coach, with a focus on building around the defense. 

All eyes were on Adam Gase as one of the primary candidates to succeed Fox. He was young (36), but he was experienced and had a resume replete with success and fit in with the players and personnel. 

Elway, focused on his "kicking and screaming" ideal, decided to go a different direction, coaxing his old teammate and roommate, Gary Kubiak, out of his comfort zone in Baltimore and back into the immense responsibility of being a head coach. 

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After some failed interviews around the league, Gase ended up landing with John Fox in Chicago for one year as OC, before earning his first head coaching gig with the Miami Dolphins in 2016. 

It's hard to argue with the results of Elway's decision two years ago. The Broncos went on to win a Super Bowl in Kubiak's first year, but followed that up by missing the playoffs for the first time in the Elway front-office era. 

For his part, Gase has done one helluva job in Miami. Although their season ended in disappointment, few NFL analysts predicted that the talent-deficient Dolphins would find themselves in the playoff tournament. Given more time, the sky is the limit for Gase in South Beach. 

The Broncos got a third Lombardi Trophy out of the deal, but are now left to pick up the pieces of a Kubiak regime that exited stage left with a whimper. Who's to say what could have happened had Elway instead chosen Adam Gase to lead the Broncos back in 2015? 

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One thing I know for sure, however, is that the Broncos can't afford to pass on the NFL's brightest young coach again. This time, that coach comes in the form of Atlanta Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan, 37, wants the job and interviewed with the Broncos over the weekend in Atlanta. The Broncos are set on the defensive side of the ball. But for the sake of winning, and locker room morale and chemistry, the focus should be on hiring a head coach who can lift the offense. 

Leave the defense alone. Re-sign Wade Phillips, or even another capable hand for the job. The implications of hiring Shanahan would be manifold. Offensive resurrection. Excitement. A focus on maximizing the talent of one Paxton Lynch and building a bona-fide dynasty. 

Vance Joseph is a leader of men — and I get that. But take a look at the production of his defensive unit in Miami this year, where they finished the season ranked No. 29. That's not what the Broncos need. 

Shanahan is a leader of men, too. Across the board, for what the Broncos need right now, he checks all the boxes. This time around, the Broncos can't afford to pass on the next Adam Gase. 

UPDATE: Former Broncos wide receiver and current radio host at 104.3 the FAN in Denver, Brandon Stokley, said something very interesting Monday. According to one of his sources, the Broncos were "blown away" by Shanahan's interview. 

Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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