PHOENIX —** DeMarcus Ware might have missed Gary Kubiak's phone call to introduce himself to the eight-time Pro Bowler.
Kubiak started to put his phone to work in calling his new players after being announced as the Broncos' new head coach at an introductory press conference on Tuesday. He called Emmanuel Sanders. He called Aqib Talib. He called Von Miller. And he might have called Ware, but he didn't recognize the number and so he let it go to his voicemail.
But that's OK — if it really was Kubiak, he can try calling again or leaving a text message.
Regardless, he's just trying to get in touch with the men with whom he will share fields, meeting rooms, locker rooms and chow halls in the very near future.
For Von Miller—a fellow Texas A&M Aggie—it was a little bit of getting reacquainted with his one-time Pro Bowl coach from a few years ago.
"I talked to him today, just right before I came over here," Miller said. "It was great. We talked like I've been knowing him for a minute. It's just how it is with the Aggie network."
Miller, one of the few Broncos who played with Kubiak (albeit in a very limited capacity), could recollect a little bit of what the coach can bring to the team.
"I had him here at the Pro Bowl [three] years ago. So the Aggie community is very tight," Miller said. "I feel like I know Coach Kubiak. I know what type of style he's going to bring to the organization.
"There's still a lot to be learned about it and I'm for it. I'm all for just coming in and working. I'm excited about everything. I know he's a player's coach, I know that coming in, he's not going just going to come in, from what he said, he's not just going to come in and run his type of stuff. He's going to do what we do best. That's all you can really hope for from a head coach."
What these early conversations accomplish is just the simple matter of respect: respecting your players and earning their respect for doing so.
"I spoke to Gary Kubiak today," Sanders said. "He called me on the phone and we talked for three or four minutes, and I respect that: that he's reaching out to players and wants to get to know us before we even show up for OTAs. So I'm looking forward to the opportunities ahead."
Kubiak's most outward strength is on the offensive side of the ball, and a head coach with that kind of mindset is someone Sanders is familiar with after playing for former SMU head coach June Jones. Jones originally gained a lot of success and credibility as a college coach installing a high-powered offense at Hawai'i at Mānoa and then transferred it to SMU, where he would eventually coach Sanders. The wide receiver would end his collegiate career at SMU with the school record for career receptions, career yardage, single-season yardage, career touchdown receptions, single-game touchdown receptions and tied for moe single-game receptions.
So, yes, Sanders is quite open to playing for a coach who has a great mind for offense. But that's not all he wants.
"The last time I had an offensive minded coach it was under Jim Jones and I was really productive in his system. So I like it," he said. "I just really want a world championship. Obviously I wanted to go to the Pro Bowl, and I'm just accomplishing my goals one step at a time and I pray to God the next year I'll be getting ready to go out to the Super Bowl."
And though Kubiak hadn't gotten around to talking with Chris Harris Jr. as of the time we spoke with him, Harris is excited to start exchanging ideas and learning from him.
"I'm excited to learn from him, pick his brain about things on his football knowledge," Harris said. "I watched his press conference and from what Elway said, he's very knowledgeable to the game of football, so I'm excited to meet him."
In that case, Chris Harris Jr. should pick up his phone even if he doesn't recognize the number.