ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —**Denver isn't how new Broncos Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis remembers. There are more houses than when he was here last, more than two decades ago, and many more than when he grew up in Arvada, Colo. And then there's the entire practice facility, which is completely new and probably feels a bit alien considering the jump in technology from 1992 to 2015.
"It's surreal at times, you look around and I'm thinking, 'Man, I'm back in this building.' So it's just a privilege and I'm excited. I mean, like I said, I want to help Mr. Bowlen and help this organization win championships."
DeCamillis, now entering his 27th season in the NFL, got his start in the league in Denver as an assistant to the GM and head coach, a position he described as being "basically a secretary."
And though he left the Broncos in taking the next step in career in special teams, he would eventually be involved in one of the Broncos' Super Bowl victories. However, that would be on the other side of the field with the Falcons in Denver's 34-19 win in Super Bowl XXXIII.
Now back with the Broncos about 23 years after leaving, his job involves a lot more responsibility and difficulty as he takes charge of the special teams as the coordinator. But at this point, it's nothing he hasn't proved his proficiency in. He spent his previous two years in Chicago coaching their special teams and as an assistant head coach, helped the Bears earn two consecutive seasons as the best kickoff coverage team. From coverage to excellence in kicking, punting and return specialists, DeCamillis has coached it all everywhere he's been and wants to bring that standard to the Broncos.
Check out photos of Rick Dennison, Wade Phillips and Joe DeCamillis as they met the media on Tuesday. All photos by Eric Lars Bakke.
"We want to play faster than our opponents. When they look at it on tape I want them to know that we're going to be a fast team and a physical team," he said in his introductory press conference Tuesday. "The other thing about it is you want to be very fundamentally sound. Any time a coach turns on the film I want them to say, 'Wow, that guy—technique-wise—they're excellent at what they do.'
"And that's really, kind of fits in to what [Head Coach Gary Kubiak] 'Kub' is asking for, too," he added. "We came in and talked and that was something that was important to him and we want to carry that on and get better."
In these initial days, the coaching staff has begun looking at and evaluating personnel and DeCamillis says he's seen some standouts already, but they're still in that process. "We've just got to identify all of them and try to put them in the best possible positions to succeed."
And one of the things he tries to instill with his coaching is a toughness, a willingness to take on difficult challenges that aren't what they're used to.
DeCamillis knows that challenge of taking on unfamiliar challenges, having recovered from serious neck and back fractures after the Cowboys' indoor practice bubble collapsed in 2009.
"That was a situation that occurred that was adverse, but I think it helped me to be honest with you," DeCamillis said. "I think it helped me to figure out a way to come back from something tough. You always tell your players to do something that's unnatural—well you had a chance to show them that you could come back from something like that. Still to be coaching and walking to be honest with you, is a blessing. So, I'm jacked up, man. I'm excited to be here, no question."
DeCamillis has come a long way to reach this point, not only in his recovery, but in his career as well, in a circle that's returned him to his hometown with the goal of helping return his hometown team to the Super Bowl.