ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello has full confidence in his assistant coaches.
And for good reason.
Running Backs Coach Curtis Modkins and Wide Receivers Coach Zach Azzanni both know the personnel well after they spent 2018 in Denver, and Mike Munchak brings Hall of Fame credibility to the offensive line room. Tight Ends Coach Wade Harman also possesses decades of experience and worked with Scangarello in Atlanta.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Scangarello said Wednesday. “I think that it’s a testament to [Head Coach] Vic [Fangio]. He put together an extremely talented staff that’s very detailed, great teachers and hard workers. I trust every one of them in every way. They’ve been great for me, and we’re on the same page and really feel like we’re moving all in the same direction. It’s been pretty smooth in that sense.”
That’s essential for Scangarello and the Broncos’ offense, because it frees up the team’s new offensive coordinator to focus on his area of expertise.
The quarterback position.
Scangarello, who served as the 49ers' quarterbacks coach during the previous two seasons, now finds himself in the room with quarterback Joe Flacco during position meetings.
“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” said Flacco on Thursday when asked about working with Scangarello. “I think we’re up there grinding away. He’s kind of given us the basic philosophy of the offense and where we can take this thing.”
The basic philosophy of the Broncos’ offense is similar to the one Flacco ran in Baltimore in 2014 under Gary Kubiak, who spent a season with the Ravens before returning to Denver to lead the Broncos.
As Flacco tries to learn the new system, that’s eased some of the difficulty of the transition.
“I think terminology-wise, I’m familiar with a lot,” Flacco said. “ … That’s kind of made the transition easy. I think the play-[action] pass stuff, there is a lot of stuff that I’m familiar with — the keepers. I think some of the drop-back game is different, but overall, I would say there is a pretty good amount of familiarity with it.”
Philosophy and offensive systems, though, don’t mean much if a team lacks the players who can implement it. As the Broncos looked for a quarterback who could do just that, Flacco emerged as an ideal option.
“Joe’s been a pro in the NFL for a long time,” Scangarello said. “His résumé is really solid when you just look at the course of his career, but more than anything, I think his skill set marries very, very well with the type of offense we run. He’s tough, he stands in the pocket and he can make all the throws. Those are the things that, of course, you want in a quarterback. We’re looking forward to building on that and working with it.”
As the Broncos move past voluntary veteran minicamp and toward the second phase of the offseason program, Scangarello will continue to implement the offense and work with Flacco to prepare him for a Sept. 9 “Monday Night Football” game against the Raiders.
Because while familiarity helps, there’s still plenty more to learn.
“You’re cramming for a test, basically, when you do a minicamp like this,” Scangarello said. “You’ve had them for two weeks and you’re just trying to see where everyone’s at. Part of it is to teach some guys the skills you’re doing, and part of it is to see what kind of things each individual can do a little as we move forward into the next phase.
“… We’re just getting going.”