The Denver Broncos face a major decision as they interview multiple candidates for the head coaching job left behind by Gary Kubiak. A Super Bowl win in his first season is a mark that is the new man is unlikely to break. Kubiak, despite a 9-7 record this season, has left some big shoes to fill.
It's fair to say that any but minor changes to the defense would be akin to ritual suicide; the coaching interviews are obviously going to cover that in detail. I expect Wade Phillips to stay in Denver.
“I want to be here,” Phillips told Troy Renck. “I don’t want to go anywhere else.”
With that kind of clarity from the man who is perhaps the most loved and most talented defensive coordinator in the league, locking in a contract for him is a sure bet.
It would usually occur after the head coaching hire is finalized, as a matter of protocol. In this case, I'm not sure that Denver shouldn't lock Phillips in as soon as possible, and a lot of fans will feel that way with good reason. But if it's done to protocol, I wouldn't complain — unless they were 'off' enough to lose him.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1742506-elway-not-considering-any... It's very unlikely — a personal conversation with GM/VP of Football Operations John Elway, assuring him of next year's employment would be likely to solve any minor snafus (See Wade's previous remark for clarification). Wade's position coaches should also be nigh onto sacrosanct.
The defense was, against the pass, even better than the brilliance of last season. We shouldn't break that which sets records.
What else will matter? Holding to an understanding of the traditions and standards of the Denver Broncos is essential. This has been a franchise that every fan in Broncos Country has been proud to support. A rapid return to their standard winning ways will be expected — and greatly supported by the front office.
Unlike many franchises, where communication among the staff and coaches is often lacking, Dove Valley boasts one of the model teams in the league, from top to bottom. John Elway is one of the winningest GMs in the game since arriving. He's clearly out to break his own playing records as the beating heart of the franchise.
Elway has the team working with research projects, has established a state-of-the-art team of trainers and specialists in rehabilitation as well as strength, range of motion and muscular balance. He knows the challenges of being a player, and he's provided every possible option to make that job easier and better performed.
Players will tell you openly that the way the front office feels about and treats the players is a big reason that they are driven to play for the Broncos. The fans are true fanatics — Broncomania is a religion for much of the fan base. They're vocal, impassioned, dedicated and they expect the kind of success that the team has provided in the Pat Bowlen era. Elway is carrying that same torch forward.
Is having an offensive expert for head coach essential? No. Many defensive coaches make excellent head coaches — they have spent their careers working out how to defeat offenses, and can have a singular insight into that phase. No one knows better than they how to shred a defense, too — they've been on the receiving end of that experience.
Keeping the defense intact and bringing the offense up are the keynotes of the process. Fans can't fail to recognize that this is one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Young players make young player mistakes, and they make them more frequently. It's going to happen. It's best to understand that up front.
It will continue to be up to Elway to provide enough high-level free agents to balance out that level of youth. If I can see that, he already has.
Matt Russell is the Director of Player Personnel. He has both Director of Pro Personnel Tom Heckert and Director of College Personnel Adam Peters. They have a stellar group of scouts, the organization of whom was one of Elway's first priorities.
They are in this to win now and in the future. The lack in this year's performance is in the front of every person's mind.
One point in seeking a new head coach is learning how he plans to act as general for the team. One of the most common mistakes is for a head coach to also take on one of the coordinator jobs — OC, in this case — and to dilute his time and attention to the big picture of running the team.
Practices have to be timed to the minute. Player strengths and weaknesses have to be considered in light of both personnel needs and game plans for the next team.
Even the color of the walls and carpet has to be decided or delegated. Smart coaches delegate well and often — but follow up to see the results.
How much of a change in the offense will the next coach make? After all, you draft a large group of players for specific purposes. Some won't fit in a new system.
Many will tend to struggle if the changes are too large, too fast. it's a tough time in a head coach's experience. Most offenses take two years to install. Having a lot of young players can take a bit longer. Excellent coach-to-coach and coach-to-player communication skills will shorten that issue.
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The skill that Elway and his staff have shown leave me more interested in the process than concerned about it. The number of divisional wins, titles, AFC Championships and Super Bowls since his taking over a shattered and reeling franchise has given me a sense of calm about the team.
Sure, we had a year of Super Bowl hangover. Coach Kubiak's health mattered a lot. Most of the loses came during and after his absense.
The players were young, the locker room lost Danny Trevathan and Peyton Manning and a first-year quarterback struggled at times. Trevor Siemian also set an NFL record for being the only QB in history to throw for four touchdowns in his first road game. The Broncos had tough injuries at key times. All in all, it was a roller coaster.
I look forward to the new head coach, to finding out his philosophy and approach, and to seeing how he handles the fans and the media. Coach Kubiak, in his earlier days, was often suggested as being mendacious with the fans. Reality couldn't be farther from the truth. He spoke honestly and he spoke from his heart.
There are major shoes to fill in Dove Valley. I can't wait to see who steps into them.
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