ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When it comes to how quarterback Peyton Manning would fit into the Denver Broncos' offense if Gary Kubiak gets the head-coaching job, at least one guy who played quarterback for the Broncos in Kubiak's offense says he thinks it could be done.
Not that it would be easy, but Jake Plummer thinks it could be done.
"Could Peyton play in an offense Gary put together? Could Gary make an offense for Peyton? I think yes and yes, there's no doubt in my mind," Plummer said Friday. "Man, look, Gary is a great coach and great coaches change their systems up, they extend it, or tweak it to maximize their players' abilities. But they would both have to work at it, they both would have to find what was best for them on each side. They could do it, but they would have to put in the time to make it right. It’s not an exact fit, but Kubes is a great, great coach and Peyton is one of the best ever. If they want to get it done, need to get it done, they'll get it done."
Kubiak is scheduled to interview for the Broncos' job Sunday after Cincinnati Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph met with team officials Friday. Given Kubiak's longtime association with Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway, it is difficult not to believe Kubiak is considered the leading candidate for the job.
The potential rub is the uncertain future of Manning, who said after the Broncos' 24-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday he did not know if he would return. In a meeting between the two Monday, Elway said he told Manning to "take five to six weeks" to make the decision about next season.
Kubiak has run a version of the West Coast offense almost exclusively in his career as an NFL playcaller. It requires the quarterback to be on the move plenty, to throw on the run, rolling left or right to both sides of the formation at various times.
Manning has played in the pocket in his Hall of Fame career with a far different playbook with far different verbiage in the play calls. And that's why if Kubiak were hired and Manning returned, it would take significant concessions on both sides of the equation, according to Plummer.
"I don't know how strong Peyton is at this point and how capable he would be at the [bootleg plays] and things like that," Plummer said. "But there is a way to make it work for both of them. And there's no way they would hire Gary if they haven't explored all of the possibilities they think could happen. Gary and Elway will have talked about what it would be like if Peyton comes back."
Kubiak was the Broncos' offensive coordinator for three of Plummer's four seasons as the team's starter, leading Plummer to his only career 4,000-yard passing season in 2004 and helping the Broncos to three consecutive playoff berths from 2003 to '05.
Matt Schaub had three 4,000-yard seasons in Kubiak's offense in Houston and went to the Pro Bowl twice.
"And that's what you look at, a coach like Gary, look what he did with Matt Schaub in Houston," Plummer said. "Matt isn't the most mobile guy, but he flourished in that offense. What's great about Gary's offense is the zone blocking in the run game, then pulling the ball play-action and getting it out, or pulling it out in a half boot and then launching it back across the field. Great running game, big plays down the field, it's all-weather offense."
Plummer also said Broncos backup quarterback Brock Osweiler would have a chance to maximize his ability to be a productive starter thanks to running backs C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball and their fit in a zone-blocking scheme.
"With C.J. Anderson, Montee Ball, could be a very, very deadly offense, with the talent they have at receiver, like Demaryius [Thomas] and Emmanuel [Sanders]," Plummer said. “I think looking at it, Brock Osweiler, he gets a chance to be coached by Kubes and run that offense, that could be outstanding for his career. But if Peyton comes back, if I were Brock I'd be looking to move on, but I would also know that Kubes' offense would fit me. Because it would fit Brock."
Joe Flacco finished his first season under Kubiak with a career-best 3,986 yards passing and 27 touchdowns, excelling in the Ravens' two playoff games.
"Flacco impressed the hell out of me, he showed he could throw on the run, going left or right, for a big guy that was impressive," Plummer said. "Those are probably tougher things for Peyton at this stage of his career, he's one of the best play-action guys ever, but he would need a lot of strength to come out of those and make the throws in that offense. But again I would never put anything past Peyton as far as being able to do anything. I would never put anything past that guy. It would just take some consideration from both Kubes and Peyton to make it work."