New Denver Broncos Head Coach Gary Kubiak is all smiles at the NFL Winter Meetings currently taking place in Arizona. Why wouldn’t he be? He’s finally got his dream job, he’s working with one of his best friends, and he’s coaching perhaps the most talented roster he’s ever had.
However, Kubiak is more than just happy. He’s nearly giddy with anticipation at the thought of being able to coach the team that brought him into the NFL. “It’s been amazing,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I kind of pinch myself every day that I’m doing it.”
Since he was hired in February, Kubiak has embarked on a journey of sorts. He’s trying to readjust to life in the Mile High City, help build a roster capable of winning a championship, and mold his run-based offense to squeeze the last little bit of production out of an aging Peyton Manning. While that may sound like an overwhelming to-do list, Kubiak is working feverishly to get it done.
Kubiak hasn’t lived in Denver for a decade. The city’s grown a lot in that time. However, for Kubiak, the thing that makes being back in Colorado special isn’t what’s changed. It’s what hasn’t. “I think that’s what really made Denver such a consistently successful organization,” he said. “Pat Bowlen and his family are very loyal people…when I walk around the building and see a person that I’ve known for a long time still involved, that’s very important.”
Kubiak and his wife Rhonda are settling into a rented condo in the city. “Our kids are grown now. So, we didn’t need too much room,” Kubiak jokes. “It’s been nice to downsize. I don’t have to mow the lawn anymore.”
While he may not have to spend too much time on yardwork these days, he’s working hard to assist his ex-roommate, good friend, and Broncos GM John Elway with filling out the holes in this roster. If Denver’s going to compete for a world championship, the young players in the organization are going to have to develop into top flight contributors.
Player development has been Kubiak’s primary focus.“It’s our job as coaches to develop young talent,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to try and do.” It’s not just young players that need to be developed. Perhaps the biggest question about the 2015 Denver Broncos surrounds five-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning, who turned 39 on Tuesday. For 17 seasons, Manning has prided himself on running a precision passing offense. But how will he adapt to Kubiak’s run heavy, zone blocking scheme?
For Kubiak, it isn’t about Manning adjusting to him, the trick has been modifying Kubiak’s offensive scheme to fit Manning’s skill-set. The coach told assembled media at the NFL’s winter meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday, “We’ve been in a modifying state for the past two months. We’re just trying to mesh it all together. Basically, what I’ve done is study what he’s done.” Kubiak stressed, “You take the things that we do and we feel are very important to us to be successful offensively and we mesh them all together. Now it’s time to go to work on the total product.”
After more than two decades of waiting, Gary Kubiak is just a couple weeks away from being able to get on the field as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. The team will begin its offseason program in mid-April. Until then, Bronco fans can be confident that their head coach is hard at work building a scheme capable of finally putting them over the top of that ugly.
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