INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Wednesday, as Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen celebrated his 71st birthday, it's reasonable to suggest he may have more to celebrate than his anniversary in this world . The optimism shared by new head coach Gary Kubiak in addressing the media at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis may be a potential reason for that.
In speaking with media around the country Wednesday afternoon, Kubiak addressed a litany of issues such as how signal-caller Peyton Manning would fit into his offense.
He responded by saying, “Obviously you're giving him all the freedom you can (give him) because he's been so successful doing it (playing in the NFL).”
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Kubiak was also asked if Manning can “roll out” to which he replied by saying, “I think he can do anything he wants to do,” further saying “we're going to run the Denver Broncos offense.”
If nothing else, Kubiak was definitive in confirming his plans, so confidence is not something the team should be lacking. He also spoke about what he took from his experiences as the offensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, the last job he had.
He confirmed that football-wise, “They have a very experienced staff” and that “Everyone is on the same page working together.” He also confirmed that he will take a lot of that with him in his new position with the Broncos.
Another big issue, of course, is the pending free agency period which commences the afternoon of March 10th. The Broncos have a whopping 19 pending free agents.
When Kubiak was asked about this, he said, “We've got a few (free agents) obviously,” confirming that “The key in this business is holding your football team together and getting better at the same time.”
He also placed his trust in Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager John Elway in his remarks, saying “John's track record has proven he's doing a great job of that so I'll leave that (free agency) to him.”
Obviously the $20,000 question on everyone's minds is Manning's ultimate decision and Kubiak addressed this as well saying, “I don't think there have been any assurances or anything,” but also stating “John (Elway) obviously has a lot of things to do,”
Regarding Kubiak’s opportunities to visit with Manning he said, “He's very positive in his talking to me.” Kubiak also said that he wants Manning to be his quarterback in 2015 and ultimately, “we'll just continue with the process.”
Additionally, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, by all indications, will switch the Broncos base defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4, but Kubiak addressed the situation saying, “I think a 4-3 team that plays an under front is no different than playing the 3-4, so I think there are a lot of similarities right there.”
In powwowing with Phillips on the situation, Kubiak said, “Some of the personnel (we have) we think that fits very much with what Wade wants to do.” He also said linebacker Von Miller has “the ability to play on the edge as well as play some off the ball. So we think it's an easy transition for him as well as for (linebacker) DeMarcus Ware and where we want to go.”
Furthermore, Kubiak addressed questions about receiver Wes Welker concerning whether he's spoken to him, saying, “I've spoken to every player on the team, I've known him, I know he wants to play some more football.” Kubiak also took time to speak on the offensive line's ability to fit his scheme and left no doubt on the matter saying, “They'll definitely fit. That's not an issue.”
He also stated, “There are some good young players in the building that I know that John (Elway) and his staff think very highly of.”
In closing, Kubiak fielded a question about how he regards the New England Patriots as a model to be referenced in building a team by saying, “I think everybody looks at the successful organizations in this league and they have consistently set the bar in this league, been very successful.”
He also said the Broncos have been successful in their own right and confirmed “You've got to stay focused on yourself.” In that vein of thought, it appears there is great reason for Broncos fans, players, and perhaps the Bowlen family as well, to be optimistic for what the future holds in 2015