Editor's note: DenverBroncos.com sat down with coaches to talk about their position groups before they left Dove Valley for vacations in mid-June.
How has your transition to offensive coordinator gone?
"I feel comfortable in the fact that we basically kept our offensive staff together. There are so many of us that know each other. And then adding Greg Knapp and Alex Gibbs has been huge because you're talking about two guys that have had a lot of success in the league and have a lot of knowledge that can help us as an offense. It's been great in that aspect. For Eric (Studesville), Tyke (Tolbert), Dave Magazu, Clancy (Barone), (Brian) Callahan, and me – to still be together, it's been a great thing. Adding Jim Bob (Cooter), as well. I just feel like we've got a good group of guys who like to work together. To me, it's good to have some chemistry. That's hard to keep."
How does that continuity on the offensive side help?
"Our chemistry is good. We're able to communicate because it's not like everyone is trying to feel each other out. If there's a disagreement, it's a healthy conversation – and it's all about making our offense better. It's been good to be around and it's hard to find that."
How do coaches use the break before training camp?
"You either get away or you stay at home. You just get to be around your family more. For me, I get to be around my wife and kids."
When your team has such high expectations, does it make you even more excited for training camp to get started?
"You're always just ready. By the time you get to the final couple of days of minicamp, you're kind of like, 'I can't wait for camp to come.' You've kind of already done the dirty work. You know you're going on vacation, but you just can't wait for it to start. Training camp is a grind, but it's fun. It's competitive, but it's fun to go against the defense every day. Our players enjoy going against our defense because they do some good stuff. It's very challenging for our guys – physically and mentally."
We often hear from the defense about how practicing against Peyton Manning helps prepare the group for game situations. Does practicing against guys like Champ Bailey help the offense just as much?
"Whatever our defense does, it's good for our offense as a whole. It challenges us. It puts us in some tough spots. It makes us work through a lot of problems. That's hard to do because if we only saw a defense that was very bland and didn't really do a whole bunch, we wouldn't be able to expose problems that we have schematically. Going against our defense really puts a lot of pressure on us to be sound in what we do and to have answers. That's what we need to give our players."
What are you hoping to see from the offense in training camp and the preseason to let you know the group is ready for the season?
"When you get preseason games going, you want to come out of the third game saying, 'OK, we're not turning the ball over, we're moving the ball, we're moving the chains.' When you get into situational opportunities -- whether it's the red zone, third down, two-minute drill – you're succeeding in those. If you can come out of the preseason with a couple of shots at all of those things and you're having success, then you can say, 'OK, I think we're ready to start that first step in Week 1.' And then the thing that you try to do is to get better every week, not stay the same or go down. There has to be a starting ground and you're looking to climb that ladder as you go."
How has your relationship with Manning changed now as offensive coordinator compared to last season when you were quarterbacks coach?
"I think we've got a good line of communication. I think it was good that we were together as much as we were for a year. It's good that there's an open-door policy with our coaching staff and our players, not just at quarterback. The way that we operate is that we work through a lot of things as coaches and as players. Our players are smart guys who have a lot of good suggestions. When there are issues, the players can help be problem solvers. The good thing about having guys that have played a lot is that they've seen a lot. They come up with answers just as much as coaches do."
How do you see Wes Welker fitting into this offense?
"He fits in because he gives us another player who affects the defense as far as, 'What will they do? How will they try to stop us?' We're going to try to play off of that. And it sounds easy, but there are little things that you have to do, whether it's the coaches, the quarterback, the receivers, as far as who is getting doubled, who is getting singled. If there are a lot of double teams going on, how are we going to run the ball and block? It helps because it gives you another good player on offense that the defense has to account for."