Aaron Glenn has Pro Bowl playing resume, but thin coaching experience as Broncos candidate

With only eight years as an NFL coach, and just one year as a coordinator, Aaron Glenn doesn’t have a ton of experience with the headset on.

But what Glenn does have is a Pro Bowl playing resume and a reputation for leadership and getting the most out of his players. It’s those qualities that led Denver general manager George Paton to meet with Glenn on Thursday in suburban Detroit, the first of what is expected to be several interviews to fill the vacancy at head coach left by Vic Fangio’s firing on Jan. 9.

The Broncos announced around 3 p.m. Thursday that they had completed their interview with Glenn. Next up are Green Bay assistants Luke Getsy on Friday  (quarterbacks coach) and Nathaniel Hackett (offensive coordinator) on Saturday. Hackett is also interviewing with Jacksonville and Chicago.

Glenn, who just finished his first season as the Lions’ defensive coordinator, played 15 seasons in the NFL as a cornerback. The majority of those came with the Jets from 1994 to 2001, where he earned two Pro-Bowl nods. He also played with Houston, Dallas, Jacksonville and New Orleans, accumulating 41 career interceptions and 102 passes defensed.

As a coach, Glenn got his start with the Browns as an assistant defensive backs coach from 2014-15. From there, he moved to New Orleans as the Saints’ defensive backs coach from 2016-20, and then came along with Dan Campbell to Detroit when Campbell got the Lions head coaching job this past year.

Pressed by Detroit media about his status as a rising head coach prospect ahead of the Lions’ season finale last week, Glenn, 49, said: “If (a head coaching job) happens, then those things happen. But listen, this is a huge job that I have right now (in Detroit). And I want to be the best that I can be at it, and I want to be the best that ever came through Detroit. I want (critics) to say that at some point, ‘He was the best (Lions) coordinator ever.’”

Glenn’s first season in Detroit wasn’t overly impressive statistically, although he oversaw a defense that was injury-riddled, short on talent and rookie-dependent. The Lions’ defense finished ranked 29th in yards allowed per game (379.8), 24th in passing defense (244.7), 28th in rushing defense (135.1) and next-to-last in average points allowed per game (27.5).

While Glenn is considered a long-shot for the Denver job, if he did land the Broncos gig, he’d be the first Lions assistant to go directly to an NFL head coaching job with another team since Chuck Knox in 1973.

Prior to this year, Glenn established himself as secondary guru in New Orleans, where the Saints ranked fifth in passing yards allowed in his final season.

“One of (Glenn’s) great strengths (as a player) was his film study, his intelligence,” New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said in 2016, Glenn’s first season with the Saints. “He’s always been one of those guys, even as a player, that the rest of the secondary gravitated to for information. Part of (the secondary) is learning splits, learning route combinations and not defending every pattern on every play based on what you’re seeing. Aaron’s one of those guys that did that as a player, and I think that’s a strength of his as a coach now.”

The Broncos have also requested interviews with Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, Philadelphia defensive coordinator Johnathan Gannon, Green Bay quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Luke Getsy, Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, New England inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, and Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

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