ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --So far, so good.
One week into the first offseason program of of the Gary Kubiak era, the Broncos' new head coach is pleased with how his team attacked the four days of Phase 1 work, which focused on individual strength and conditioning work and teaching in the teams' meeting rooms.
"The thing I've been most impressed with as we got going this week was just the commitment to doing things the right way," Kubiak told an audience of approximately 2,100 season-ticket holders on a conference call Friday afternoon.
"We've basically had everybody here except one or two faces this week. Your offseason program and your participation in this business says a lot about your football team, so I think from that standpoint I've been extremely impressed."
Whether it's in the classroom or in pushing each other during workouts, Kubiak praised the presence of "peer pressure" among the players.
"Good teams have peer pressure. This football team has a lot of peer pressure," Kubiak said.
Near-perfect attendance for the voluntary sessions gives the coaching staff a jump-start on getting the players up to speed on the classroom instruction that the Phase 1 parameters permits.
For the offense in particular, those meetings are essential for learning an offensive scheme that incorporates elements of last year's offense with concepts from the schemes Kubiak has run.
"Crossing the schemes, so to speak, was very, very easy. It was really more about verbiage than anything else. What I tried to do is the things that were very close, I tried to hang on to the verbiage that they had been talking here in the past, because I think that made it easier for the players," Kubiak said.
"The things that were new, we hung on to the verbiage that I used throughout my career … Peyton and the guys have adjusted to that very well. But I don't see that being very difficult. Ball is ball, and scheme -- how you go about it -- a lot of it's the same.
"We're just trying to make sure we all get on the same page with our verbiage. We've made a lot of progress, especially this first week."
That is one of two transitions at the forefront for the offense. The other is on he offensive line, which is set to have three new starters.
"We've got some things to get sorted out there (on the O-line," Kubiak said. "We added a few guys in free agency, but the thing I really like going forward is that we're going to be very competitive. We've got some good young players here that did not see much time last year that I know we're expecting a lot of good things out of, so we're going to create a very competitive environment."
Other items of note:
- A season-ticket holder named Ken asked a question about the perception that too much was made about league rankings ahead of overall results. "You know, Ken, you must have been in my meeting Monday when I talked to the team," Kubiak said. "We talked about that a little bit. We're going to try to be the best offensive, defensive and special-teams football team that we can be, no doubt about that. But the most important thing is that we're the best team we can be. Throughout the course of the National Football League, there's a lot of great things that happen during the course of a season statistically that a lot of people talk about. But one thing that is a given is that the best team wins a championship. You go back and look at New England last year (11th in total offense and 13th in total defense). Those things, they don't always go with being successful, but the thing that will make you successful week-in and week-out is if your football team has a chance to win three different ways."
- Kubiak said the Broncos will "absolutely" incorporate plenty of no-huddle work into the offense, which will continue to capitalize on Peyton Manning's ability to diagnose a defense's intent before the snap. "We'll definitely be running the hurry-up offense," Kubiak said. "Peyton's been the best at the business at it for many years, so that's a strength that we'll stay with." He added that there may be "a few different things" incorporated into the no-huddle looks. "I think you'll see us under center a bit more," Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison added later in the conference call.
- Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips continued to preach that his defense will be "aggressive" in its tactics. "By nature, defensive players are aggressive, and we don't want to stop them from being that," Phillips said. "That doesn't mean blitz all the time, but it means an aggressive look, and I think you'll see that."
- Kubiak said running back C.J. Anderson was "very impressive to me" during his first-team work in the second half of the season, but he will have to continue to work and flourish to keep the job. "That's something that he's going to have to continue to hang on to and perform at a high level, because there's a couple of guys that played well," also. The offense will run "a lot more than perhaps they started out last year," Dennison said when he joined the conference call.
- Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis said he would like to carry three specialists in the kicking game "if at all possible," with a kicker, punter and long snapper. Last year, the Broncos ended the season with four because the kicking duties were divided between Connor Barth (placekicks) and Brandon McManus (kickoffs).
- A fan asked about the collapse that Kubiak suffered at halftime of a Texans game against the Indianapolis Colts in 2013, and the head coach emphasized that he was "doing fine" and had taken steps to prevent a recurrence. "In all honesty, I ran myself into the ground a little bit, and I think I learned a lot through that process," Kubiak said. "You've got a lot of people working with you and working throughout the coaching staff, and I can't do it all, so if anything, that's probably what I've learned."
- As Brock Osweiler prepares for his fourth NFL season, Kubiak expects him to make strides. "I think it's time for Brock to take a big step as a player," Kubiak said. "A lot of times in this league, the young quarterbacks don't get the opportunity to be behind a player of Peyton's status and learn before they get the opportunity in this league .. I think Brock needs to take advantage of this. But he's going to be very competitive. I'm very impressed with his skills. I'm very impressed with how hard he works in the classroom. I know he's got all of the ability."