After canning now-former head coach Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos management began the process of ousting Hackett’s staff.
The Broncos fired special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry, the club announced Monday evening.
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Like Hackett, Stukes was unable to survive his first year in Denver. The former Rams assistant, hired last February to replace Tom McMahon, oversaw a mistake-prone unit that currently ranks 32nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Entering Week 16, the Broncos’ special teams also ranked 32nd in kickoff return average, 31st in field goal percentage, 22nd in gross punting average, and 20th in punt return average.
Barry, too, was imported by Hackett but had gigantic shoes to fill, succeeding legendary line coach Mike Munchak. Unfortunately for all involved, Barry’s wide-zone system — a stark contrast from Munchak’s man-on-man blocking scheme — never translated to positive production. The opposite, in fact.
As of this writing, the 4-11 Broncos have allowed an NFL-high 57 sacks while trotting out the league’s 23rd-overall rushing offense. Barry employed seven different O-line combinations with starting left tackle Garett Bolles and center Lloyd Cushenberry on injured reserve, none of them successful.
The dismissal of Stukes and Barry are the first of several pink slips expected in the run-up to, and directly following, the Jan. 8 season finale as Denver undergoes its fourth coaching search since 2017.
“Moving forward, we will carefully evaluate every aspect of our football operations and make whatever changes are necessary to restore this franchise’s winning tradition,” co-owner/CEO Greg Penner said in a statement released Monday.
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