Broncos general manager John Elway has been honest, forward-thinking, and aggressive in assembling an (on-paper) elite coaching staff.
This, exemplified by his next potential hire: former Broncos guard Chris Kuper, who will interview for an assistant offensive line coaching job, according to 9News’ Mike Klis.
Kuper spent the past two seasons working with the Miami Dolphins’ linemen, and was a quality control assistant for the club in 2016. He was let go after Miami fired head coach Adam Gase, another Broncos cast-off, earlier this month. The Dolphins’ OL allowed the sixth-most sacks (52) and eighth-most quarterback hits (107) this season.
Broncos fans should remember Kuper because he played his entire eight-year career (2006-2013) in the Mile High City. Chosen in the fifth round of the 2006 draft, Kuper appeared in 90 games and started 79. He was a road-grading blocker with a nasty streak, a high-quality starter until injuries — including a severe ankle dislocation and consequential infection — prompted him to call it quits in 2014. He left on extremely good terms with the organization, which at the time was led by HC John Fox.
“I’d like to thank Mr. (Pat) Bowlen, John Elway, coach Fox and the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to play for the Broncos,” Kuper said, via ESPN.com. “I’m also appreciative of Mike Shanahan for drafting me and bringing me into this organization back in 2006.
“This felt like the right time for me to leave this game on my terms. I’m going to miss hanging out in the locker room, and the offensive line meeting room, in particular. We shared a lot of laughs. I was fortunate to grow up in the game around a good group of veterans, especially Tom Nalen and Ben Hamilton, and became great friends with so many of the guys. I sincerely appreciate all of the support from Broncos fans over the years, and I am excited for new opportunities in the future.”
The Broncos’ offensive line surrendered 34 sacks in 2018 but thrived in run blocking despite a swarm of injuries. Following the season-ending losses of Matt Paradis, Ronald Leary and Max Garcia, Denver installed a pair of backup tackles (Billy Turner, Elijah Wilkinson) at the guard spots and a guard (Connor McGovern) at center — a Musical Chairs lineup that, by happenchance, actually improved the unit.
Paradis, Garcia, Turner and right tackle Jared Veldheer are all unsigned heading into the offseason.
If Kuper comes aboard, he’d serve big-fish offensive line coach Mike Munchak, whom the Broncos signed earlier this week. They’ve also tapped offensive and defensive coordinators (Rich Scangarello, Ed Donatell), hired an outside linebackers coach (Brandon Staley), and added a tight ends coach (Wade Harman).
Denver head coach Vic Fangio has two vacancies remaining on his staff: quarterbacks and defensive backs.