Now entering his first year with the Broncos, Tolbert sat down with DenverBroncos.com for a Q&A session before the coaches went on a short vacation.
What has this offseason been like for you?
"It's been very interesting to say the least, but we have been really busy. At the beginning of the year we were getting ready for free agency, which never happened, and then we were getting ready for the draft. We were out visiting colleges, working out players and watching a lot of film. Since the draft, we've been really preparing for training camp and a lot of different scenarios -- OTAs and training camp, I should say. If they report this date, we've got this planned, if they report that date, we've got this planned. So it's been a big guessing game for the most part, but I do know this -- when it's time to start playing football again, we'll have a plan and we'll be ready to go."
Has it given you an opportunity to do anything football-wise you normally wouldn't if there were OTAs and workouts?
"Yes and no. I probably watched as much tape as I always have, but as a new coach here, it has enabled me to study my guys more that I would have any other time. Seeing the guys I'm going to be coaching, even though I haven't coached them yet, watching them on tape and asking the coaches that have been here before how this guy is in this situation, I have a lot of information going on in my head right now. I'm just ready to coach my guys so I can start applying that information."
Having coached talent the likes of Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens and Eric Moulds, what do you think of Denver's wide receiver corps?
"I like the receiving corps we have here from top to bottom. I think we have a lot of good players. We have some guys that have produced -- not only
Have you spoken with Adam Gase, who coached receivers last season, much about the group?
"Absolutely. That's who I was referring to earlier, being able to pick the brains of the coaches who have been here. Not only Adam Gase, but (Offensive Coordinator) Mike McCoy and (Running Backs Coach) Eric Studesville and (Tight Ends Coach) Clancy (Barone) -- they know those guys. They know how they think and how they play and what they like and don't like. Hopefully whatever weaknesses they have, I can enhance those weaknesses while still building on their strengths, enabling them to be able to be better players than they were even last year."
What are your philosophies you try to preach to the receivers?
"One of my philosophies, believe it or not, is try to be the best player on the field without the ball. Because as a receiver, you know you want to be a good player with the ball and make plays with the ball -- that's what you're supposed to do as an NFL receiver. But if you have 65 plays in a game and you only have five balls thrown to you, what are you doing the other 60 plays? Try to be the best player you can be, not only with the ball, but without the ball."
Do you think Brandon Lloyd can have a repeat performance of last year's career numbers?
"I've grown to know in this profession that if you're talented enough, which he is, you can pretty much create opportunities for guys to be able to have success. That starts not only with that player, that starts with the quarterback as well, that starts with the protection, but you can move guys around enough and create opportunities for him to be successful. So, can he do what he did last year? Yes, he can, if that's what is the best thing for us to do to win football games. If the best thing for us to win football games is to run the ball more, then we'll do that. If it's to get the ball to other guys, we'll do that. So we're going to do whatever we can to help us win games, regardless of where the stats fall in place."
Now with your fourth NFL team, what can you pick up from each of the previous stops and take with you to Denver?
"I think just as players grow, coaches grow. So I've picked up something every stop I've made, even through college and the NFL. I've picked up stuff every stop that I had not only from different coaches I've worked with, but different players I've worked with. Terrell Owens, who I coached, had a wealth of knowledge after being in the league at that time for like 14 years. Picking up stuff from him, picking up stuff from Steve Smith, and even rookies that come in. There are guys that you teach them things but there's something they may have learned in college that's a little bit different than what I've taught before. You say, 'OK, that's a pretty good idea.' I'm always not only teaching but I'm always learning, trying to pick up things to better myself as a coach to help our guys be as successful as they can on the field."