The Denver Broncos were a terrible football team in 2022, but it wasn’t due to their defensive acumen. In fact, the Broncos fielded a pretty terrific defense this past season, in no small part because of defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.
Evero, 42, has worked his way up through the ranks and landed his first defensive coordinator gig in the NFL after spending 2021 as the passing game coordinator and secondary coach for the Rams in their Super Bowl-winning season. With Nathaniel Hackett fired, there’s no guarantee Evero is headed back to Denver, and several teams seem interested in him for their own defensive coordinator and head coaching vacancies.
Thrillingly, the Atlanta Falcons appear to be one of those teams.
The #Falcons put in a request to interview #Broncos DC Ejiro Evero for the same job in Atlanta, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 13, 2023
Evero also is in the mix for three HC jobs (Denver, #Colts, #Texans). He's under contract as DC, so he can be blocked. But he's highly respected and will have options.
Unfortunately for Atlanta, the expectation seems to be that Denver will deny the request. We’ll have to hope something changes.
Not a big surprise, but multiple sources say the #Broncos aren't going to let DC Ejiro Evero, who is under contract next year, interview for the Falcons DC job.— Parker Gabriel (@ParkerJGabriel) January 14, 2023
They can block lateral moves and it's still pretty early in their own HC search. Next weeks will be fascinating.
The only scenario in which this could work out for Atlanta is one where they’re patient. Denver did something similar with Gary Kubiak in 2019, blocking him from interviewing before he ultimately came free and wound up with Minnesota. The Falcons had hired Dirk Koetter (again) in the interim to serve as their offensive coordinator. If Evero doesn’t land a head coaching job and isn’t retained by Denver’s new head coach, the Falcons could still get him in the door, but they’ll have to wait.
The Broncos defense in 2022 was 8th in yardage, 15th in scoring, and tied for 5th in passing touchdowns despite frequently taking the field thanks to a putrid offense and despite way too many missed tackles. Evero was the key to that, and he’s drawn rave reviews for his acumen and his leadership, which is why he’s in contention for head coaching interviews in the first place.
This may be a longshot with Denver, Indianapolis, and Houston all interviewing Evero for a head coaching job—and with Denver able to block a lateral move—but if he doesn’t get those the prospect of one of the league’s most intriguing young defensive coordinators landing in Atlanta is one worth considering. Evero is extremely well-regarded in league circles—see those head coaching interviews after one year as a coordinator—and the Falcons need to take their defense to the next level after two years of up-and-down play under Dean Pees. This is Atlanta swinging for the fences, and I like it a lot.
We won’t know whether the Falcons have a realistic shot at Evero until after those head coaching vacancies are filled, so I wouldn’t necessarily get your hopes up. If Atlanta comes out of this cycle with Evero at defensive coordinator and an opportunity to add a lot of talent via free agency and the draft in 2023, it will be impossible not to feel a surge of optimism. Let’s see how it all plays out.