HOUSTON -- When Gary Kubiak looks at the Denver Broncos' newly-minted coaching staff, he knows a thing or two about those who were hired and where their priorities will be during offseason workouts.
Kubiak announced he was stepping away from what he had called his “dream job,’’ the day after the Broncos finished their 9-7 season with a win over the Oakland Raiders. That put in motion the Broncos’ offseason makeover of the coaching staff that was led by the choice of Vance Joseph to replace Kubiak.
Joseph had been an assistant coach on Kubiak's Houston Texans staff and Kubiak had also tried to hire Joseph as Broncos defensive coordinator in 2015.
“I thought it was great. I know that he and [Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] were big on the radar and I know that Vance has been ready for this for a while,’’ Kubiak said Wednesday. “And I’ve been saying that for a few years. Strong guy, strong person. He and [Broncos defensive coordinator] Joe Woods will be excellent together.’’
Kubiak added that while he didn’t want to see members of his coaching staff displaced -- that included offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who was let go and was hired in Buffalo, as well as defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, whose contract expired before joining the Los Angeles Rams -- Kubiak believed having Mike McCoy as the Broncos offensive coordinator and Bill Musgrave as quarterbacks coach will help develop both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch.
Kubiak also noted McCoy and Musgrave “both played for me, so I’ve known them both from that standpoint.’' He didn’t have a role and didn’t serve as a reference for any candidate during the Broncos’ interviews. The team interviewed Joseph, Shanahan and Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub before choosing Joseph.
“I got out of the way, but it looks to me like [Joseph] has put a hell of a group together,’’ Kubiak said. “ … They put a good group together.’’
And while executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway has repeatedly said he doesn’t want the Broncos to take a step back on defense as the team goes about repairing the offense, Kubiak was still shaking his head a bit about what happened on offense under his watch in 2016.
Behind spotty play on the offensive line, which surrendered 40 sacks, and with three running backs on injured reserve by season’s end -- C.J. Anderson, Kapri Bibbs and fullback Andy Janovich -- the Broncos finished 27th in total offense, 22nd in scoring, 27th in rushing and tied for 21st in passing.
The Broncos led 35.8 percent of the time this past season and in six of their seven losses, they never led.
Asked Wednesday if the Broncos’ offense was his biggest frustration last season, Kubiak said: “Frustration? I don’t know that I would use that word because we did work hard to try to fix it. I was disappointed in that we didn’t get more consistent in what we were doing. I was also aware of what we were going through. We had a young QB, we lost a hell of a back in [Anderson], needed more consistency up front. We had flashes, times where we were what we wanted to be, but we just weren’t consistent enough. … And I know John has got a plan for that.’’