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Eight takeaways from the Broncos' coaches as the offseason begins

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Tuesday's series of press conferences and meet-and-greets with Broncos coaches offered plenty of key items to disseminate as the Broncos' offseason gets underway.

A few pertinent takeaways from the day's proceedings:


Head Coach Vance Joseph made his intentions at quarterback clear, reiterating that his "vision" is to have Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch in an open competition for the starting job.

"They're both smart guys. Obviously different skill sets, but I'm committed to both of those kids," Joseph said. "They're good football players, and we've got to build around those guys."

The subject of Tony Romo arose, given that the Cowboys quarterback has been the focal point of rumors and chatter in recent weeks, but Joseph dismissed that.

"That's not even possible. He's under contract right now, so we can't discuss that, obviously," Joseph said. "But we've got two guys [Siemian and Lynch] that are capable. They're two different guys. They're two young guys, and we're excited about them both."



McCoy wants the offense to adapt to the situation at hand and attack a defense's weaknesses. Ideally, he would have balance between the running and passing games, but he knows that isn't going to be possible very often given the game situation and what the defense concedes.

"It's not going to be 50-50. Very rarely is that going to happen," McCoy said. "You always say you like that, but the game plan's going to change from week to week."

Game plans will evolve, as was the case when the Chargers beat the Broncos in Week 6 last season, when San Diego used short-to-intermediate passes, particularly to the tight ends, to build early momentum, then hit the Broncos on the ground in the second half with a heaping helping of Melvin Gordon.

McCoy's game plans will also be influenced by what his quarterbacks see.

"I'm big into talking to the quarterbacks, installing from a week-to-week basis and looking at our plans and being open with these players," he said.

"When we get into the game plans at the end of the week, I'm going to ask the quarterbacks, 'What are your favorite plays in these situations? Your first- and second-down calls, what are your favorite plays?' Just so they have a lot of confidence when they're under center on game day."


The coaches' desire to play to the strengths of their offensive linemen means that the Broncos won't make a 180-degree shift from a zone-based blocking scheme to one predicated on power and gap techniques.

Instead, you can expect elements of both.

"That's a good way to put it: We're going to have a little of both," McCoy said. "We're going to try to take advantage of what the defense does, attack their weaknesses. The other thing is, what do we do best? A lot of times I think it's going to be about us."

Melding both styles fits in with having power-scheme expert Jeff Davidson and zone guru John Benton -- who worked under Gary Kubiak in Houston -- as the two line coaches.

"Having Jeff and John Benton, we're going to have the best of both worlds," Joseph said. "Jeff's a great gap-scheme, power-scheme guy, and John Benton was the best at the zone-blocking schemes. Having both of those guys should allow us to do both."

Added Davidson: "I would say that we're going to be varied. I don't think any of us are willing to say: This is what we're going to be for sure at this point. There's a lot of different styles to play, but we're going to find out what our guys do well and be able to fit that to our system instead of trying to force them into a fit on things that maybe they're not as good at."

And that's crucial, because McCoy expects the offense to succeed or fail based on how the line develops.

"Our offense will go as far as our offensive line will take them," McCoy said.



For Brock Olivo, it's what could make him a success as a special-teams coordinator -- and it's a passion that dates back two decades.

At the University of Missouri from 1994-97, Olivo volunteered for special teams -- which wouldn't be unusual, except that he was en route to graduating as the school's all-time leading rusher. Players with such a significant role in the offense aren't usually covering punts, but Olivo volunteered, dissatisfied with Mizzou's performance in the third phase.

"Midway through my sophomore season [1995] because we were struggling a little bit, I said, 'You know what, I've been watching special teams on Saturdays and we don't have our 11 best guys on the field,'" Olivo recalled. "I went to our head coach, who was Larry Smith at the time, and I said, 'Look, Coach, I want to be on special teams and oh yeah, I'm bringing these guys with me,' whether they liked it or not. They bought in."

Buy-in is crucial to Olivo's job. He must convince young players who have spent their football lives being among the elite in high school and college to buy in to the grunt work on special teams.

Based on his press conference, he should be able to get those men on board. Fueled by experience as a special-teams leader at Mizzou and with the Detroit Lions and his work under Dave Toub in Kansas City, Olivo speaks of that phase of football with an evangelistic fervor.

"It's a niche," Olivo said, "and I've sold it to my teammates and I've sold it to my players like this: How cool is it when everyone else is stunning special teams and putting it on the back burner? How cool are you if you're different and you make it a priority? How cool is that?

"I'll tell you what, it showed up and it showed up in results. Excitement and enthusiasm, that's very contagious."


Coaching the rival Chargers the last four years gave McCoy a different perspective on the young center, who handled every snap the last two seasons despite dealing with hip issues that prevented him from practicing often last year.

"I love the way he plays the game," McCoy said. "His toughness, his approach, his love of the game. You love that guy that just shows up every Sunday and plays -- and fights through a lot of [injuries]."

McCoy said he's spoken with Paradis in the last week about his progress to date, as well as the plans going forward. Paradis will spend the first few months this year rehabilitating after two hip surgeries.

But once Paradis has recovered, he appears poised to be the anchor of what the Broncos do in the trenches.

"That's a great guy to have up front," McCoy said.



And that starts right now, Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar emphasized.

Kollar said that Gotsis "wasn't as far along as we hoped he would be" last season, citing Gotsis' recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and how it affected his progress. But the longtime position coach made it clear that he expects the 2016 second-round pick to be working in the weight room in order to be prepared for his second year.

"Physically, I've told him all along: You've got to get bigger and stronger -- or else," Kollar said. "These guys are too big and strong and tough in this league.

"I told him, 'If I were you, I'd take one week off after the season, I'd get my [rear end] into the weight room and I'd lift until there was no tomorrow. Because otherwise you don't have a chance,'" Kollar said. "You've got to be able to get in there and fight.

"Right now, where he was physically -- he wasn't where he needed to be."


Joseph noted that the Broncos' new defensive coordinator would handle the defensive play-calls. He added that he would offer assistance if needed, but he expected Woods to take care of the bulk of that work.

"It's easy for me to help Joe from my seat as he calls plays," Joseph said. "Offensively, it's different, because you have to spend every waking moment to game-plan and call plays offensively. But defensively, I can help Joe without spending every waking moment in the defensive room.

"So I'll help Joe, but he's going to call the plays."


Robertson knows what he has in starters Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib, Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward. All have been Pro Bowlers since joining the Broncos, with Harris, Talib and Stewart all playing in the all-star game in Orlando nine days ago.

But the success of the Broncos' new secondary coach will depend on what he gets from his younger players, particularly cornerback Bradley Roby and safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks.

"The sky's the limit for them," Robertson said when asked about Simmons and Parks. "I think [Simmons] has a phenomenal skill set; I think he's a real true free safety that has some versatility, and I'm hoping to turn him into a legitimate ballhawk in the middle of the field and a sure tackler in the middle of the field.

"Will Parks has a lot of versatility. He's tough as nails. He's coachable, a real smart player. I think he's going to be very similar to me as I look at it. For lack of better words, I see him as a poor man's T.J. Ward right now. Only time will tell, but I think they've got very positive upsides."

As for Roby, Robertson wants to see him "be more consistent."

"You want to see him grow as a football player," Robertson said. "He's a guy who has all the tools; I just think you see some lapses here and there. So you've just got to get him to be more consistent, and get him to understand the importance of every single down."

Head Coach Vance Joseph and the Broncos introduced his three coordinators at a press conference on Tuesday: OC Mike McCoy, DC Joe Woods and STC Brock Olivo. (photos by Ben Swanson)

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