Jack Del Rio, Interim Head Coach: What does it mean?

Nick Laham

Remember giving something the "old college try?" Well here is my "college try" sorting out what Jack Del Rio in charge means for the Broncos.

This is not a regime change

Some folks have expressed concerns about Del Rio's failure in Jacksonville.  How his lackluster record as head coach and inability to build a consistent winning program will have bearing here.  What we have to remember is that the Denver Broncos Organization is already set on course.  Del Rio will not have sweeping authority to bring about huge changes.  He is not building a football team based upon what he views will work.  He is merely keeping the seat warm.

The course for the Denver Broncos has already been set, and John Elway is the ultimate captain of the ship.  Del Rio is just the guy on shift making sure the unsinkable Titanic doesn't charge hull first into speeding iceberg.  Yes folks, icebergs are fast.

This does not give Del Rio authority to make sweeping changes

Personnel changes, should any be made will most likely be business as usual along the defensive front.  In other words, Jack had control over the defense and still has that control.  We will not see any Josh McDaniel-esque cutting of the punter midseason, or huge shifts on the offensive side of the ball. If an injury occurs, the pro side of operations will get together and determine the best course of action.  Of course coach input will still exist like before, but again Del Rio is not an autocratic figure.

Game Day Management, what is it?

All the details from the time the players hit the locker room to the jobs various folks do on the sidelines in game.  It's the micromanagement of the details and routines.

Del Rio will be the one who oversees these things, but even if he injects a few things here or there from his own experience, I wouldn't expect him to make broad sweeping changes.  The system is in place, leave it alone.  The best thing for players, personnel, and coaches alike is to maintain the integrity of routine as if John Fox is here.

Game Week Management, what is it?

Everything from practice schedules to travel procedures and itinerary.  There shouldn't be a ton of deviation from what has already been going on. The routine is in place, and the folks in charge of various aspects of the larger mechanism know how to handle their jobs.

Real Concerns

Del Rio will now have the double duty of calling defensive signals as well as making decisions about everything a coach would do strategy wise from clock management to replay reviews.  He will have to find a balance between remaining in charge and meeting with the defense to discuss things during the game.  It is an added stress that Del Rio hasn't had the past couple of years.

What to Expect

Del Rio is now at the helm of a team that has won 20 games in the past 25.  This is a well oiled machine.  All he needs to do is manage things and not get into the way. And by manage, I mean make sure this team stays on course.  There is no reason to micromanage or interrupt how people have been going about their job.

Though he has a reputation for being conservative, as far as offense, I don't expect Del Rio to trump the things Gase and Manning are doing.  His job is to oversee and interject where needed, not take over.

Again the mantra with Del Rio is "manage, not micromanage"

This is an audition

JDR has already been linked to various coaching jobs elsewhere.  No doubt the job he does over the course of the next 6-8 weeks will have an impact on how organizations view his leadership.  Del Rio is a leader, his players play hard for him, he and the Broncos should be fine in Fox's absence.

I imagine what I'd tell myself if put in a similar situation, and my advice would be simple.

Lead where you are strong, rely on others where you are weak, and make decisions to the best of your ability.

I think the Broncos are in good hands.

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