The waiting game is the toughest part of the early spring for football fans. Free agency has settled down, the draft is still more than a month away and all offseason workouts for players must be without the guidance of coaches. However, the time is rapidly approaching when that wall erodes and the two parties will come together and start putting the foundation of the coming season into place.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak is ready for that, as he told Broncos TV from the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix. The playbook is ready, and even though they can't start communicating that with players, it helps get the coaching staff ready.
"The biggest thing, when you do have it [the playbook] complete, then it prepares you for your players," Kubiak said. "You want to, nowadays the way the offseason schedule's set up, once you start the offseason program, you want to be totally available to them the amount of time you get them, so that you can talk ball and teach ball, and if you're waiting until too late in the year to put books together and playbooks together and thoughts together, then the players are not getting it. So in our situation in Denver starting anew, especially in some situations and some of the things we're doing, we need to get started early. We need this time, so we need the playbook in place."
As challenging as it seems to implement a completely new system on both sides of the ball in a single offseason, Kubiak doesn't see it as being too difficult.
"It's something you've been doing forever," he said. "But I think trying to put all the minds together, so to speak, and say 'OK, how do we cross this? How do we keep these things, how do we add these things — how do we bring them together? What verbiage was already kind of in place? How do we talk in this thing before it ever got started,'" he added. "There are just so many little intricacies, but it's football. You've got to be three-deep and two-deep on offense and run the ball, throw the ball, pass-protect. So, a lot of guys doing it for a long time and we'll come to a good conclusion real quick."
Once that's done, Kubiak and his staff will be ready to "get this group all working in the same direction and introduce some new players that we've added to our team and get them involved, and let the leadership take over."
Leadership is something that will lend the Broncos guidance as they prepare to help develop their younger players, as Kubiak mentioned.
"I think one of our biggest challenges right now as a staff is we've got some good young football players that have not played a lot of ball on the roster, some young offensive linemen, a young receiver," Kubiak said. "We've got some guys that we've got to get going and they have to be big contributors coming this next year. So I think the better teachers we are, how quick we can get guys up with our system, up to speed with our system, and get these young guys contributing to our football team, the better we'll be."
The new Broncos head coach noted that his main focus is to be able to win in all three phases of the game to be the best all-around team, but as far as defense goes, he looks for them to be aggressive.
"Defensively, I think the biggest thing with Wade's system is we'll be very aggressive," Kubiak added. "We think we'll have the people to play man coverage, which that is what Wade wants to do, and we've got the edge players to go get the quarterback. So what we've got to put that group together, we've got some guys to replace. We lost a nose guard who's been playing very well, we lost a safety we have to replace and as of the other day, we lost a linebacker who played a lot of football for us, so there will be some new faces and Wade will put a stamp on it, but the bottom line: we've got to play hard and make plays."
With a star-studded defense featuring three Pro Bowlers in the secondary alone, two Pro Bowl edge rushers and a rising young linebacker in Brandon Marshall, the pieces are there for the Broncos to take a step further with an aggressive edge to become a more dominant defense.