Editor's note: DenverBroncos.com sat down with the assistant coaches to talk about their position groups before the coaches left Dove Valley for vacations in mid-June.
How have the first couple of months on the job been?"The job's been great. I love the environment that's set in the building form the owner on down – Mr. Bowlen and John Elway and John Fox. We have high expectations but you're getting support that you can ask for so it really exciting to be a part of it. It does bring back memories from my start in the NFL career almost 20 years ago in San Francisco, where the expectations were high but you were getting the support to shoot for those expectations."
What is it like coming in and having a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback?"I've been pretty spoiled now, so this is going to be my second one to work with – a future Hall-of-Famer here with Peyton (Manning). I started my career with Steve Young so I love that challenge. Peyton is one of the most cerebral quarterbacks that's every played the game so as a coach it keeps you on your toes but it also makes you better. The resources that I can provide for him from my experiences of learning to work with different quarterbacks, identifying certain defenses or working with footwork, progressions hopefully will benefit his game. I've been very pleased on how well he has taken to the advice because sometimes the old dog doesn't want to learn a whole lot of new tricks. That's not been Peyton at all. He is all ears to listen and then give you a reason why he may or may not want to do something, which I certainly understand. But it's been a good relationship so far."
Are there any similarities between Demaryius Thomas and Steve Young that you've noticed?"The mental part of the game is very similar. Both are very good decision makers, both are very accurate passers. The burden is on Peyton to do more in protections than it was on Steve Young and I'm very impressed in how well he understands defenses and identifies protection needs, adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Ultimately, it's their competitiveness that you can see why they're one Hall-of-Famer and one future Hall-of-Famer – it's their competiveness. They don't ever want to lose and they find answers to everything."
How had Brock Osweiler looked in the offseason?"I've been pleased and even within the 10 OTAs and the five minicamp practices, to see his progress from when I started on day one. I'm a big believer that footwork helps make your accuracy go up in the game of football and it also slows your internal clock on decision making from progression one to progression two to progression three on any particular play. And he has really been a sponge and has applied that and reaped some of the benefits from it so I've seen progress just in those few practices we've had together."
What have you seen from Zac Dysert?"I loved his playmaking ability (in college). He does have a little street ball, if you will, in him that he can create plays with his feet and moving out of the pocket. But he too has – he's actually older than Brock, so it's surprising in that way – but he's like Brock. He's a sponge right now, he's listening, he's learning and what I like so far – what you always want to look for in a young guy – he's not making the same mistake twice. So I'm seeing good progress from him as well."
What has the chemistry been like between the younger players and Peyton Manning?"With Peyton in there, what do you think? It's good. It has been really good to see Peyton taking time to help the young guys too. He's very conscious about trying to pass on some of the stuff he's learned to the young guys to help expedite their careers."
What are your thoughts on the familiarity of coaches within the AFC West?"There is some plusses and minuses but as each game unfolds, it's kind of hard to say that coach helped make a distinct advantage over the other team. There'll be some things we have to do against San Diego because Mike (McCoy) was on the offensive side of the ball from a verbiage standpoint or from a formation standpoint and that will be different from what he's used to seeing. With (Raiders Head Coach and former Broncos Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen) 'D.A.' only being here one year I don't think it was as big of a change for them against Denver, when I was at Oakland because it was a new quarterback and a new system coming in to play."
Will that familiarity come in to play against Oakland?"Knowing the defense a little bit, yeah. I have some background with (Oakland Raiders Defensive Coordinator) Jason Tarver and so working with him, I'll have some ideas but he's just like the rest of us coaches, he knows that I know something so he'll have his calls that will be changed a little bit to offset the knowledge that's been passed on."