ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Raheem Morris' interviewing skills could make his promotion to defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay a moot point.
Shanahan, who won back-to-back Super Bowls in the late 1990s but just one playoff game in the 10 years since John Elway retired, is expected to take a year off before returning to coaching. He has three years and more than $20 million left on his contract, and sitting out next season would cost Bowlen about $7 million for Shanahan to stay away from Dove Valley.
It's not known whether those financial constraints will play a role in Bowlen's choice of a new coach. One thing appears certain: Bowlen isn't going to give his next coach as much power as he gave Shanahan, splitting the head coach and general manager positions.
Bowlen said he'll focus on finding a GM after he hires a coach.
Morris earned a promotion from secondary coach to defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay following the departure last week of longtime assistant Monte Kiffin, who's joining his son, Lane, at the University of Tennessee.
Garrett spurned offers from Baltimore and Atlanta last offseason after the Cowboys agreed to make him the league's highest-paid assistant at $3 million. It was widely speculated that Garrett would be head coach Wade Phillips' eventual successor in Dallas, but his stock slipped this season when the Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo took a step backward.
Shanahan moves on
That was before Shanahan was on the market, however. There's a possibility Jerry Jones would see Shanahan as a good fit in Dallas either this year or next.
Dennison, who played linebacker for the Broncos from 1982-90, joined Shanahan's staff in 1995 and coached special teams and the offensive line before being elevated to offensive coordinator three years ago.
Although it's Denver's dreadful defense that needs another overhaul following a series of bad personnel moves and poor draft picks by Shanahan, the Broncos' high-octane offense could use some tweaking itself.
If the Broncos' next coach comes from the defensive side, the team is expected to ask him to keep some offensive assistants such as play-caller Jeremy Bates and longtime running backs coach Bobby Turner.
The Broncos need lots of help on defense, where they ranked 29th in total yards and 30th in points allowed, went through six free safeties and a half-dozen linebackers and couldn't stop the run under Bob Slowik, their third defensive coordinator in three seasons.
Shanahan was 146-91 with the Broncos, but just 24-24 since losing the 2005 AFC Championship Game to Pittsburgh. Their three-year stretch without making the playoffs is the proud franchise's longest drought in 26 years, and this year the Broncos became the first team to blow a three-game division lead with three weeks left.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press