Despite having no real journalistic background, Pat McAfee continues to try his hand at being an insider.
The former Indianapolis Colts punter and the host of The Pat McAfee Show on ESPN previously reported that the FBI raided the home of now-former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams. There’s been no follow-up reporting on that matter or confirmation that it was true. But that’s not the task at hand here.
Not to be outdone by the Adam Schefters and Ian Rapoports of the world, McAfee offered up some more news on his show Monday. McAfee said he was hearing rumblings and “rumors” that the Denver Broncos could be making a change at defensive coordinator and current ESPN NFL analyst Rex Ryan could take that job.
Allegedly the Denver Broncos could be making a change at DC..
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 16, 2023
“I don’t know when,” McAfee said. “I don’t know when. I’m just getting messages, and words, sent to me. And it might be ol’ good teeth himself, Rex Rayn, potentially. That name has been in the radar, I guess, for a potential return to defensive coordinating and that team, potentially, to the Denver Broncos. Allegedly.
“Now, we work for ESPN, so everyone’s going to think we heard this from within ESPN. Remember, we’re in Indianapolis. Everybody else is in New York and Bristol. This is not from anybody within ESPN. This is just what people are hearing around the league. They’re hearing like, ‘Hey, they are thinking about making a change and they’re thinking about going big.'”
McAfee made sure to caution that this information was not coming from anyone at ESPN. This is worth establishing considering Ryan is now McAfee’s co-worker, and previously interviewed for the Broncos defensive coordinator opening position in the offseason. While the job ultimately went to Vance Joseph, Ryan was an established candidate, and his brother, Rob, worked under Sean Payton in New Orleans in the same capacity.
Making his weekly appearance on the McAfee Show Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter was asked about those particular “rumblings” and was quick to shoot them down.
Adam Schefter later informed Pat McAfee that he heard that this isn't happening (at least anytime soon).
"Rex (Ryan) is not going to [the Denver Broncos] right now… you know who my source is there? Rex. We were talking about it yesterday as we were watching the games." https://t.co/fUR05YWdNl pic.twitter.com/uBYuOJXU4c
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 16, 2023
“Well, I don’t think they’re gonna do anything right now, but I think at the end of the season, anything is possible, yeah,” Schefter said. “They’re not looking to do anything right now.”
Schefter then admitted he had a particularly good source on this: Ryan himself.
“No, in fact, Rex is not going to Denver right now,” Schefter added. “You know who my source is on that? Rex. We were talking about it yesterday as we were watching the games. He’s not going to Denver right now. And I said to him, I go, ‘Do you ever stop and think about this?’ He was one of two finalists for the Broncos’ defensive coordinator job. I said, ‘That could be you right now. You could be going through this season, instead of sitting here, eating cheeseburgers with me, watching football on the big screens in Bristol, Connecticut.’ I think he’s very thankful that he’s in the spot he is. I don’t think that the coaching bug is out of him. I wouldn’t be shocked if one day he did it again. He loves that. Coaches love to coach. The coaches who love it, they love it, Pat, right?”
For what it’s worth, Schefter is also hedging by saying “Right now.” And Ryan was a finalist for the job, which means he could very well be the first call next year.
Under Joseph, the Broncos have the worst defense in the NFL. According to Sportsnaut, Denver is allowing an average of 6.7 yards per play and opponents are scoring on 53.1 percent of their drives. The Broncos have allowed the highest average QB rating (117.8) to opponents and the most rushing yards per game (172.3) by a wide margin.
Whether Rex, who is considered one of the most brilliant defensive minds of his generation, still has that coaching itch remains to be seen. He previously coordinated the Baltimore Ravens’ defense for several years before becoming head coach of the New York Jets, where he led Gang Green to back-to-back AFC Championship Games. The 60-year-old Ryan was last in the NFL in 2015-16, when he was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills for two seasons.