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Coach Q&A: DL Coach Jay Rodgers


You played quarterback in high school and coached quarterbacks and wide receivers in college. What brought you to the defensive side of the ball?
"Well I think it was just the opportunity. I like to think of myself as a well-rounded coach, having coached both sides of the ball. When the opportunity to coach the defensive line here with the Denver Broncos came available, I jumped at the first opportunity, if it was going to be offered to me. It was and I took it."

Your brother worked for Coach Fox in Carolina. Did you know him at all before he came over?
"I didn't personally know Coach Fox. When he was named the head coach here, obviously my brother Jeff did. It worked out that I got to stay here and coach as a quality control for the first year or two, I believe. And I've been happy ever since. I've been happy to stay here in Denver, which is the only city I've coached pro football in."

What's the relationship with your brother like?
"Well I mean it's a great relationship. The fact that both of us who are in coaching are in the same spot is pretty unique. It's exciting for our family because they only have one place to travel to on the weekends. It's just been a great experience. A lot of coaches don't get to do that. There are a lot of brothers in the NFL, but not a whole lot of them get to coach on the same team, so it's been a great experience."

You deal with players of all different sizes. What's it like working with such a wide variety of styles?
"Well no matter what, each guy has their own tools that they play with, whether they're a heavier guy or a lighter guy. We like to put them in positions to showcase their skills. So that's what we try to do is gather a well-rounded group of guys and put them in positions to have success, which in turn will allow us to have great defensive success."

How did you deal with last year's injuries as Terrance Knighton and Malik Jackson stepped up?
"What we know is this is a long NFL season and not every team in the NFL will be injury free. So you'd like to be able to have a group of guys with great depth that you can plug in. When it gets to be their opportunity, they make the most of their opportunity. Last year, we had some guys go down, other guys stepped in, did a good job and now that everybody's back right now, it's just a deep, deep group of guys."

This seems like the deepest the defensive line group has been in a long time. Do you feel that way?
"I feel like we've got a good competition up front and on the edges and I'm looking forward to getting to that first game and seeing what we can really do."

How do you find enough work for all these talented players?
"Well you want to get the work that is needed. You don't want to overwork guys, you don't want to underwork guys, but the way practice is organized, Coach Fox does a great job of being able to separate each group and make sure everybody's getting their work in."

What is it that makes DeMarcus Ware so special?
"Well he's got a great work ethic and he's very intelligent about the game of football. And to have a guy in the room like that and be able to talk about his experience in the last few years of the NFL, to the guys who haven't been in the NFL as long, is invaluable. You always like a guy who's a coach out on the field and he can talk to those guys and say, 'Hey look, this has happened to me before. Why don't you try this?' And each player has to tailor their game to their own way, but it's good to have a guy who can relate those experiences to some of the younger guys."

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