ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy and tight end Antonio Gates spoke with the Denver media via conference call on Wednesday.
McCOY ON GASE
Mike McCoy spent four years as the Broncos' offensive coordinator before departing for San Diego to be the Chargers' head coach. Adam Gase was on staff for each of those four years, as the team's receivers coach in 2009 and 2010 and then the quarterbacks coach in 2011 and 2012 before becoming the offensive coordinator after McCoy's departure.
McCoy engineered successful Broncos offenses in what proved to be completely different styles in 2011 and 2012, and gave Gase plenty of credit for those successes, calling Gase "a student of the game" who "is willing to listen to all ideas."
"He's always been someone that is not afraid to go out of the box and he always had great ideas week in, week out," McCoy said. "… It's not just players but I'm where I am today because of coaches like Adam Gase and a lot of the other guys on the staff there."
After McCoy left, Gase directed 2013's record-setting offense in his first year on the job. As Gase has noted previously and McCoy mentioned on Wednesday, the latter spent the final part of the 2012 season helping prepare Gase for the position in the event that he might assume the role in 2013.
"A lot of the things I did during the last year there with him in the mind and the opportunity that if I did leave that he'd be the next guy there," McCoy said. "I tried to prepare him as much as I could for him taking over and knowing that he'd do the type of job he's done this year."
This will be the Broncos' fifth time playing against McCoy's Chargers in about 13 months, and while the units led by Gase and McCoy won't go against each other, the Denver-San Diego meetings feature two of the league's best offensive minds.
CHARGERS PREPARING FOR TREVATHAN
Despite the Broncos' lengthy injury report, McCoy is planning as if all of Denver's injured players will play. Not currently listed on the injury report but eligible to return from short-term injured reserve this week is Danny Trevathan, who led the Broncos in tackles a year ago. McCoy noted that he's impressed by the job is former colleague, Jack Del Rio, has done to compensate in Trevathan's absence.
"He's a coach that is always going to take advantage of his personnel and move guys around and that is what the game is all about," McCoy said. "You talk about it on offense but it's also defensively doing what your players do best. You move certain guys around and plant some dime personnel and put a very good player down in the box who is a safety (T.J. Ward) and plays linebacker for them.
"That is your job as coaches so I think regards to who they have they are one of the best defenses in the league and the coaches are doing an outstanding job there."
If Trevathan is able to return, he may find himself matched up at times on Antonio Gates, who has nine touchdowns through 13 games. The two have battled some over the past few years and Gates knows the difficulties Trevathan presents as a well-rounded linebacker.
"They're a good defense without him, don't get me wrong, but they're an even better defense with him," Gates said. "To me, it's always been a challenge. It won't change."
MANNING HIS NORMAL SELF
To anybody who thinks Peyton Manning might be declining, take it from his former offensive coordinator and his opponent this week.
"He's got everything he's ever had," McCoy said Wednesday. "He's a great player. That is the furthest thing from the truth if you ask me." McCoy's comments echo what Head Coach John Fox said on Monday: "I can't think of another quarterback I'd rather have than Peyton Manning."
Check out the best snaps from Wednesday's practice, where the players were wearing hats and Ronnie Hillman was back on the field.