Earlier in the off season I wrote a piece about our coaching change for the 2015 season and my perspective on that. Looking at the calendar, I can see we aren't yet close to training camp (at least close enough for my orange and blue heart) and figured I could speak a bit about what Gary Kubiak and his staff taking over means in terms of style for our team.
There's two main distinctions you'll hear about head coaches in the NFL. Either head coaches are "player's coaches" or they are "leaders".
This phrase "player's coach" means a coach that is typically very friendly with the players and communicates well with them. These coaches give and take input generally well and in general get along well with their players.
Leader type coaches lead their team and expect the players to follow their direction. This doesn't necessarily mean that they don't communicate well, but that they don't typically take input from the players as openly and they don't fraternize with them as much.
John Fox is a "player's coach". I would also label Pete Carrol as one. They both communicate well and get along with their players.
Examples of leader coaches include Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin. They both are the clear leaders of their football teams who expect the players to do the job that they direct them to do.
Where does Gary Kubiak lie?
Kubiak from what I've seen over the years falls closer to the leader type in general, though he does seem to communicate well with his players and instill a feeling of common purpose with them. He will bring in his systems that he has been refining for decades and expect the team to buy in and execute.
That isn't to say that he isn't open to tweaking his scheme...to the contrary we've heard several things in and around Kubiak's hire that suggest he will work at bringing things Peyton Manning likes to do into the Kubiak offense as we move forward into 2015.
I listen some to our local talk radio at 104.3 The Fan specifically for the insights I can get from hearing players and former players doing interviews. You can get quite a gem out of these interviews, believe it or not. Friday provided exactly the scratch I was looking for from an interview they had with David Bruton.
I'm summarizing him here so please do click the link and listen for yourself, but David shared some really interesting (albeit not surprising...check around the 15:30 mark) input on the different coaches he's played for:
- Josh McDaniels' locker room was very Notre Dame / New England - coaches didn't fraternize with the players, etc. He was not approachable and was not a player's coach.
- John Fox would talk about anything. He was a big-time player's coach. The players would talk to him about anything.
- Gary Kubiak has not yet been figured out by Bruton, but he is definitely approachable. He was unsure about when / if to joke with him at times.
Again, this isn't anything new to most of us who pay close attention to our team, but it helps to show us the different dynamics that players see from different head coaches. There definitely is differences in how things are ran and what types of personalities head coaches bring to the table.
The players this year will be adjusting to in my opinion a more business-like head coach who will keep the focus on winning championships, not skiing or snowboarding.
The style of coaching that Kubiak brings to the Denver Broncos is going to jive more with John Elway's style of leadership. It is more closely aligned to how Elway does things on the business side of things: clear direction from the leader, the people down the chain follow directions and execute. This is business and it is something very familiar to how Elway works.
This effect is either going to be a great success, or a mediocre failure. I say that because of the qualities both men bring to the table. They are both champions, they both are very good at what they do, and they both are going to work well together. I don't see a dumpster fire anywhere on the horizon for the Broncos and I wouldn't expect it even if Peyton had retired this year. Leadership has great value and both our team's leaders have it in spades.
The downside that you have with two men who work so well together with similar styles is that there isn't a lot of innovation that can come of it. They won't rub each other the wrong way and may at times lack in the brainstorming arena since they both seem to be cut from similar cloth.
I did want to say that one style difference we'll see more of is interview substance. Surprisingly enough, I think you'll get a little more info out of Kubiak than you saw with John Fox. Fox at times seemed to have some disdain for his news conference time and was well known for talking a whole ton about nothing of substance.
I think Kubiak will give us maybe a couple ounces more of useful information than we are used to hearing. He's more open and honest. He also seems to have a better level of respect for the news conference time. That being said, he's still a head coach. Much of the time reading things into what he says are probably a fool's errand.
What thoughts do you have on Kubiak's coaching style?
We're weeks away from training camp. Let's dig in more...what do you know about Kubiak's style that I haven't touched on? What questions do you have on his coaching that I can dig more into? Hit the comment section with your thoughts and feel free to drop some ideas of articles you'd like to see to help us all get through the slow off-season.