Broncos work through growing pains of third new offense in four years

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the Denver Broncos continue to install the third offense they’ve used in the last four seasons, it’s clear to offensive coordinator Mike McCoy how quickly things change in the league.

McCoy is in his second stint with the Broncos, having been hired by Vance Joseph after a four-year run as the San Diego Chargers coach. McCoy had originally arrived to the Broncos with Josh McDaniels in 2009 and worked as John Fox’s offensive coordinator through the 2012 season.

That means in theory there should be some familiarity this time around for some of the Broncos. In theory, anyway.

“The common themes are (wide receiver) Demaryius (Thomas) and (tight end) Virgil (Green)," McCoy said. “Other than that, everybody is new. There are plenty of new bodies here since -- and that’s this league, there is turnover every year."

Thomas and Green are indeed the only players on the Broncos' offense at the moment who played for the team during McCoy’s first stint. Thomas was a first-round pick in 2010 and Green was in John Elway’s first draft class in 2011.

So as the Broncos players -- including quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch -- wade through the mountains of information, Thomas and Green have become on-field resources for the rest.

“I saw a lot of this offense," Thomas said. “We have a couple new things, but it’s a lot of the same things we had back in the day, just different words. Some of the guys ask how I know it. Then I try to help out the younger guys; the older guys are learning so quick. I’m here to help them."

Asked this week how much of the new playbook would look familiar to Thomas, in particular, McCoy said: “There are a lot of things that are very similar. We’ve changed a number of things. There is plenty of terminology that I’ve changed over the last four years. Every team you’re on, you change things as you go. There are a lot of the same concepts that we ran back in the day. He’s done a great job of picking it up, and he’s a great resource for the players. Having Demaryius and (Green) in the system also -- they’re way ahead of everyone else right now."

Joseph has assembled a staff on offense with other assistants who have been play-callers in the league as well. Broncos quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave has been an offensive coordinator for the Eagles, Panthers, Jaguars, Vikings and Raiders during his career and Broncos tight-ends coach Geep Chryst has been a coordinator for the Chargers and 49ers.

Musgrave is the coach McCoy has often credited for “bringing me into this business" with the Carolina Panthers almost two decades ago. In that vein, McCoy said he has already incorporated ideas gleaned from Musgrave, Chryst and others on the Broncos’ staff as well as from McCoy’s time with the Chargers when he had Philip Rivers as his quarterback.

McCoy said that shortly after he was hired he met with Broncos offensive assistant Klint Kubiak, who was on Gary Kubiak’s staff with the Broncos, to get a handle on what the Broncos did with the playbook over the last two seasons beyond what McCoy had seen in preparing to play the Broncos at least twice each season as San Diego’s coach.

“(I) talked to him about what they did for the past couple years," McCoy said. “I talked to the quarterbacks, too, about some things that they really liked. And now we’re implementing all of the new stuff. So, there is carryover ... and there are different styles of offense. So we’re implementing our system right now."

There is also the matter of McCoy’s offenses covering the entire football spectrum of things in his previous time with the Broncos. There was a New England Patriots style of offense when McDaniels was the coach, the option-oriented offense the team ran with Tim Tebow at quarterback, and the no-huddle style of Peyton Manning after Manning’s arrival in 2012.

From all of that, plus McCoy’s time with Rivers, will emerge what the Broncos believe they can do with either Siemian or Lynch at quarterback.

“As players and coaches, we’re trying to figure out what we do best right now," McCoy said. “We’re moving a lot of guys around to figure that out. I have a good feel about X-number of players and the team having played against these guys a number of times. I’ve watched a lot of film. But now, it’s in our system. There’s plenty of mistakes that we’re making that we’re cleaning up. But the good thing about that is we’re coaching off of that ... there will be plenty of things that we’ll add come training camp. We’re learning about ourselves as an offense right now. Both coaches and players. We’re trying to figure out what we do best."