INDIANAPOLIS -- Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, now a month into his new job, said Wednesday that the team is moving forward in constructing the team’s offensive playbook with the idea Peyton Manning will be the team’s quarterback. While Kubiak likes and wants to call plays, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp will be heavily involved.
At the NFL’s scouting combine, Kubiak offered a glimpse into how things will look on the offensive side of the ball for the Broncos.
Kubiak affirmed his belief and desire that Manning will be behind center when the season begins -- an official announcement from Manning is expected after he his neck examined next week -- and said the Broncos have already begun the work on the new scheme.
“No doubt I want him to be," Kubiak said. “I think all indications are that everything that he said and through his conversations with John [Elway], he feels good. He’s had his self-assessment, or however you want to label that, and he feels good about moving forward. So, we’ll just continue with the process."
Asked how he would merge Kubiak’s version of the West Coast offense, which often requires the quarterback to roll out, throw on the move and features a vastly different terminology in the play calls that Manning has used previously in his career, Kubiak said the scheme would be built around Manning and adjustments would be made.
“I think he can do anything he wants to do; you do what your players do best," Kubiak said. “It’s interesting to me -- I’ve been asked over the course of the last month since I’ve been in Denver about the bootleg and those types of things. We had Joe [Flacco] in Baltimore last year and I think we booted maybe 25 times in the season. You do what you players do best. We’re going to run the Denver Broncos offense."
Kubiak added that he has already started, with Dennison and Knapp, to construct the terminology that will be used once the players return, with the expectation Manning is there, too, for the start of the offseason program. The Broncos will open their offseason conditioning work April 6.
Kubiak said he has already worked through the game video from the past three seasons since Manning signed with the Broncos in 2012. The Broncos set the NFL’s single-season scoring record in 2013 with 606 points and were second in the league in scoring this past season.
Manning has thrown 131 touchdown passes in the past three seasons, including the NFL’s single-season record of 55 in 2013.
“I’m in the process right now. We’re in the process right now of taking what they’ve done and taken Peyton’s verbiage and taken what I’ve done; there’s a lot of cross already," Kubiak said. “And we’re meshing two things together and that’s a great challenge."
On game days, Kubiak said the plan right now would be for Dennison to be in the coaches’ box with Knapp on the sideline and that Knapp would be the coach on the headset who relays the play call into Manning. Only one coach can talk to the quarterback. Kubiak said he would be on the headset with Dennison and Knapp, so either Dennison or Kubiak would relay the play call to Knapp that would then be sent to Manning.
Kubiak has said he enjoys calling plays and that the staff would see what works best as they prepare for the season.
“I can tell you this: I’m very comfortable going with Knapper and Rico," Kubiak said. “In Houston, I did give up a lot of [play-calling] those couple years we were working together. I’m very comfortable with Rick being able to call the game and he and [Knapp] working together, but at the same time it is something I like to do. I’m going to be part of that; it’s something that’s my passion in football on game day. I’m never going to get away from that. I could sit here and maybe tell you I might, but I’m never going to get away from it. I trust those guys and I’m going to let them do their job."