Broncos Mailbag: Take your pick — Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota or Jimmy Garoppolo for Week 1?

Broncos Mailbag: Should free-agents-to-be Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky on team’s offseason radar?
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Denver Post Broncos writer Ryan O’Halloran posts his Broncos Mailbag periodically during the off-season. Submit questions to Ryan here.

Really appreciate the reporting on the coach-hiring process and the analysis. What are your thoughts on the defensive coordinator? I appreciate coach Nathaniel Hackett hiring a “game manager,” but I would not be opposed to Wade Phillips returning. I think he would be a good sounding board, and I believe he would also be a good culture hire. He is an older coach who truly embraces today’s athlete.

— Todd, Wiesbaden, Germany

Wiesbaden is 35 minutes west of Frankfurt and located along the Rhine River.

I agree it was refreshing to hear Hackett admit he was going to hire a person to help with game management and practicing certain situations during the week.

I’m sure Wade Phillips wouldn’t mind returning for a third tour with the Broncos (defensive coordinator 1989-92 and 2015-16 and coach 1993-94), but his name hasn’t reached our radar yet.

It will be interesting to see the make-up of the staff on two fronts: The mix of young/older assistants and will Hackett be comfortable hiring coaches he has never worked with before?

First, how much did Hackett’s play-calling matter in Green Bay? My impression is that Aaron Rodgers checked out of the called plays more than he ran them. Second, why should anyone believe any of Rodgers’ compliments of Hackett? Rodgers apparently says whatever is in his best interest and it is in his interest to be somewhat gracious at this time. Third, if Andy Reid says Eric Bieniemy is ready to be a head coach, why doesn’t he let him call plays in Kansas City?

— Shawn Thompson, Denver

1. Hackett didn’t call the plays in Green Bay during his three years on the Packers’ staff. Rodgers does have a wide latitude at the line of scrimmage, but it is all within the framework of the offense coach Matt LaFleur installed.

2. What did Rodgers have to gain by faking his praise of Hackett? He clearly liked working with Hackett and seems genuinely happy he was hired by the Broncos.

3. That is a question for Reid but some head coaches — Jon Gruden and Sean Payton were this way and the same goes for Sean McVay and LaFleur — just feel more comfortable running the game through their play calling.

Some coaches force players into their system, while others adapt to the skills of their players. Ryan, what are your observations about coaches and how they implement their style/system upon a team’s personnel?

— David Brown, Silverthorne

It must be a mix. Hackett, like general manager George Paton last year, is inheriting a roster. Hackett will make suggestions on which players should be added, but the guts of the offensive depth chart will be back.

Hackett will install his offense, but tailor the rushes that fit Javonte Williams and maybe Melvin Gordon and routes that best get the receivers and tight ends open down the field. Good coaches adapt.

The same thing on defense based on who is hired. If the new coordinator stays with a 3-4 front, then it will be about designing a run scheme that fits the up-front personnel and coverages and pressures that take advantage of the back seven’s strengths.

Ryan, with Ben Roethlisberger and possibly Tom Brady retiring, the quarterback market is sure to heat up. Let’s say Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson don’t pan out. What do you think about Jimmy Garoppolo, Marcus Mariota or Derek Carr coming in?

— Mike, Denver

Garoppolo: San Francisco might as well move on to start the Trey Lance Era and see what it can get for Jimmy G, whose 2022 cap number is $26.95 million. I would put him way down on the list of plans.

Mariota: He hasn’t started a game since the Titans benched him at halftime of the 2019 Week 6 loss at the Broncos. Mariota is a free agent (29-32 regular-season record) and the only way he makes sense for the Broncos is to keep the seat warm for the quarterback they draft this spring.

Carr: Heck, yeah! But the Raiders would be stupid to trade him in general and trade him within the division in particular. I don’t get if Las Vegas decides moving on from Carr is the best option.

If you are a member of the Broncos’ organization, winning has to be your only criteria as it impacts your job. In that capacity, I can see Aaron Rodgers as the best option. However, as a citizen of the city of Denver, the Broncos are a source of civic pride. Who they are and what they represent is “almost” as important as winning. … I want the Broncos to win, and they obviously need a great quarterback to do so. It just seems like Rodgers keeps doing enough (and saying enough) to make it easier to look for someone else to lead the team.

— Peter Eklund, Denver

Peter’s submission is similar to the emails I have received since the Packers lost to San Francisco on Jan. 22.

I don’t get how acquiring Rodgers would impact the Broncos’ standing as a point of “civic pride,” in the city, state and region. He has opinions … you can disagree or ignore him. He is 38 years old … you can say he’s too old even though he’s expected to win a second consecutive NFL MVP award.

Why should the Broncos trade for Aaron Rodgers for the next best answer to quarterback? He’s old and was unimpressive in the playoff game. Not to mention his ethics issues. … Let’s go younger with someone not named Drew Lock who can run away from the pressure and still throw complete passes. Rodgers would just be a stop-gap for a year or two at best and then the Broncos are right back where they have been post-Peyton Manning.

— Michael Plante, Black Hawk

Another anti-Rodgers missive, this time citing his “ethics” issues.

If going younger and having a chance to make the playoffs, I would be all for that if I was a Broncos fan. That’s Deshaun Watson but we’re running on a calendar year since he made himself untradeable because of his off-the-field issues.

We know Rodgers would be a stop-gap and the Broncos would acknowledge that, too.

Manning signed with the Broncos in March 2012 for his age-36 season, coming off multiple neck surgeries and played four years. If I’m the Broncos, and my offer to the Packers would reflect this, I see Rodgers as a relationship of 2-3 years.

Hello from Finland! How does Drew Lock compare against the top draft prospects, both when he was drafted and nowadays?

— Jude, Lahti, Finland

Greetings to the home country of Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen. Lahti is 90 minutes north of Helsinki. Let’s compare Lock to his 2019 draft class and this year’s quarterbacks.

2019: Arizona’s Kyler Murray went first overall and has a 22-23-1 regular season record and 0-1 playoff mark. After that, yikes. The Giants’ Daniel Jones will be playing for his third head coach, Dwayne Haskins was a bust and Lock, the fourth passer drafted, was replaced by Teddy Bridgewater. Down the draft board, Gardner Minshew was drafted No. 178 and is 8-14 as a starter.

2022: How I would rank Lock among this year’s group — Kenny Pickett (no), Matt Corrall (maybe), Malik Willis (maybe), Carson Strong (yes) and Sam Howell (maybe).

Denver Post Broncos writer Ryan O’Halloran posts his Broncos Mailbag periodically during the off-season. Submit questions to Ryan here.

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