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.
What have you seen from Julius Thomas this offseason?What we have seen is a young player gaining invaluable experience as he continues to grow as an NFL player as well as grow in our offensive system. For the first time since August 2011, we can evaluate Julius when he is healthy and playing at his best.
What kind of matchup problems can a guy with Thomas' size and athleticism create for defenses?As coaches, we are always looking for favorable matchups. With the continued development of Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas along with the addition of Wes Welker, we can be creative with the installation of our offensive schemes. Obviously, developing a complement to those players with a tight end is very important.
What's the chemistry like in your room with two veterans in Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme who have been around a while and the two younger guys in Thomas and Virgil Green?Virgil Green and Julius Thomas have done a nice job since joining the Broncos in 2011. They didn't have the benefit of an offseason, that year, due to the lockout which caused them to mature as professionals at a much faster pace – almost a forced maturation process. The addition of Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme has been great for our room. Joel is a "No-nonsense" guy who has a very unique approach to his weekly preparation, whereas Jacob is a very crafty veteran with a very cerebral way of tending to his business. Virgil and Julius couldn't ask for two better vets to have in the room with them.
Were you pleased with what Dreessen and Tamme brought to the team last year?Joel is such a tough player. I'm not referring to just the physical side of his game – the most impressive thing about Joes is how tough minded he is. The same holds true for Jacob, as well. They prepare their minds and their bodies, on a weekly basis, as well as any players I have ever been around. The two of them are extremely accountable and dependable and provide tremendous leadership for our team.
How much better can those two – and the whole group – be in their second year with this offensive system?The last thing we want to do is sent boundaries with how high a player can ascend. The four of them are in control of their mental and physical preparation and they are very conscientious in regards to this. They have all done a nice job during the offseason of building on their strengths and researching new ways to improve their weaknesses. As they continue to do so, their value to their teammates, as well as to the Denver Broncos organization and our great fan base, will become evident.
How has running more of an up-tempo offense affected your group which has to worry about both blocking and running routes?As in all aspects of the NFL, knowledge of your job is paramount. Knowledge of the game doesn't just imply being assignment correct. It includes knowledge of your techniques and fundamentals, knowledge of the entire system, knowledge of the situations within the game as well as knowledge of the opponent. That is the only way you can ensure you have a chance of being successful. In an up-tempo offense you have to condition your brain to process all of this information at a much more intense rate, as well as condition your body so that fatigue is something that only our opponents are concerned about. Players simply cannot struggle with this element if they want to see the field on game day. This is not a game without errors, but they work extremely hard to eliminate them.