PHOENIX —** While reporters hung onto every word at the Broncos' introductory press conference for new head coach Gary Kubiak, about 800 miles away in Phoenix, Ariz., two Hall of Famers gave their take on him from the Pro Bowl Kickoff press conference.
Cris Carter and Michael Irvin agreed that it was a good move, both positive that the Broncos' new hire was a strong step in the right direction in their continued goal of another Super Bowl victory to add to the franchise's storied history.
"I think it's a great fit," Carter said. "I think John Elway's made some great decisions as far as a general manager, decisions he's made as far as personnel, what they're going to do. So I have a lot of confidence in John as an executive, and they've got a lot of things in place."
"And Kubiak's a great coach," he added. "He had everything there in Houston, but he couldn't get the quarterback player, or a healthy quarterback playing. We saw the work he did this year in Baltimore with Flacco. So he's one of the best—especially offensive—minds out there in the game and I think that John got it right."
Kubiak's prowess on the offensive side of the ball has been the focus with his experience running the offense in Baltimore last year going all the way back to his days as an offensive coordinator for the Broncos over a decade ago. Two beneficiaries could be C.J. Anderson or Montee Ball with Kubiak's zone blocking scheme that could be implemented as it has in the past.
"For a long time, I mean a long time in Denver, that blocking scheme was mastered," Irvin said. "I've always said, I would have never gotten away from that. Because every time under that scheme, they found 1,000-yard rushers, they found players, and I'm glad to see them going back to that scheme. I thought it fit well in Denver."
"Putting a solid run game on the football field, and I think with a more attacking defense and then you sit back if Peyton's coming back, you say 'Now we're not putting so much pressure on Peyton to win and carry a team.' I can see that happening," Irvin said.
And though Kubiak's schematic history has raised some questions with analysts about its fit with Manning's mobility, Carter didn't really see that being a problem.
"I'm sure they'll figure that part out," he said. "That's not something that Peyton does that's a strength, but you come up with a game plan that really heightens the strengths of your players and hides their weaknesses. So I don't think the bootlegs or anything have anything to do with Peyton Manning and their future."
Ultimately with the fit of coach and team, it was just a matter of who the best candidate was, and Carter sees Kubiak as the answer to that question.
"Harmony's important in a front office, but as far as their past relationships, to me, it doesn't matter," Carter said, noting that Kubiak's hire, above all, speaks to his credibility. "Does he think he's the best guy for the job? Does he think that he can take that franchise to the next level? They have history together. There's a great deal of trust together that they've built, but I don't believe that's necessary. You need to get the best guy that you feel that can convey the front office's message to the players and try to get that Lombardi trophy, another one in the trophy case in Denver. So that's what he did when he hired Gary."