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Will an inexperienced coaching staff be just what the Broncos need?

Maybe decades of experience isn’t always the best answer for turning things around.

NFL: DEC 25 Browns at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

The Broncos’ introductory presser for Coach Nathaniel Hackett’s new coordinator staff and position coaches was a lot of what you’d expect - typical promises, appropriate football coach clichés, talk of “collaboration” ... you know, “coachspeak.”

“As far as just specializing in anything, it’s a collaborative effort. ...It came down to a fit [for] that week in not being too complex. You just don’t want to pull everything out of the playbook. It’s very easy to do that—but making sure everybody is on the same page and agreeing with the game plan as we go through the week.” - Justin Outten, offensive coordinator

“You’ve got to start with the evaluation of your players. You’ve got to see who’s on your roster. You’ve got to see what they do well and then the scheme has got to fit your players. You can’t go the other way around with that.” - Ejiro Evero, defensive coordinator

“It’s important to build relationships with the players. They accept your coaching better when you build a relationship with them.... I think the foundation of your relationship allows you to coach players harder and make those adjustments that you need to make.” - Dwayne Stukes, special teams coordinator

But that doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with it. If coaches would just follow through on those words, it would be great even. If for once a coach who promises to “build the scheme to fit the players” actually does it, I will be flabbergasted and impressed (looking at you, fired Pat Shurmur!)

And watching the presser, it was hard not to get excited over the energy in the room - even if none of the new coaches or coordinators has a lick of experience at their new level.

Given the performance the Broncos have produced the past five seasons, I’m all for starting completely over with a bunch of guys who’ve never done it before. The Broncos needed some young, diverse blood in that coaching room and now they’ve gotten it.

While Hackett intends to be the offensive play caller, his OC Justin Outten is one of the biggest question marks for me. After all, Outten was Hackett’s third choice to interview for the job, and his resume barely includes high-level NFL coaching experience.

The Pennsylvania native started as a grad assistant at his alma mater Syracuse, moved to high school to coach Westfield High in Houston, joined the Atlanta Falcons first as an intern and then as an offensive assistant before going to the Green Bay Packers three years ago as the tight ends position coach.

My favorite part of that resume, though, isn’t the NFL or college stuff.

It’s the high school coaching.

And his answer to a question about what that experience taught him, was everything:

“Being a high school coach was probably the best decision I ever made as far as going down to a lower level. ...The responsibility you take on as a teacher separate from being a coach is just [learning] the organizational skills and making sure that everybody is on the same page. You get to see the different learning styles throughout that classroom. I was specifically working in the special ed department, so I was dealing with a wide variety of different learning styles.”

I have very high regard for teachers. And when it comes to teaching and coaching, I couldn’t agree more that the responsibility and organizational skills required to do both jobs is no joke.

On top of that, Outten’s teaching duties involved working in special education. You don’t do that job for seven years unless you like it - and are good at it.

“At that high school itself, it was a free/reduced lunch situation and there were a lot of guys that didn’t have anywhere to lay their heads most of the nights. I learned a lot from those kids. I actually learned more from them than they probably learned from me.”

The offensive coordinator noted that teaching football was one thing. But figuring out how to get some of those kids to practice; making sure all of them got breakfast, lunch and dinner; making sure they kept grades up to stay on the team...was another thing.

“That attention span at that age—there’s a lot of social media and a lot of things on their mind so you’ve got to find ways to connect with those kids. I thought it was very beneficial.”

So maybe this is all just a feel-good story about the next offensive coordinator. But when push comes to shove next season - and Broncos are still [likely] in QB purgatory - we’ll see how much of this translates into Outten truly being able to be a better coach for the young guys, the superstars, the rotating quarterbacks...

But I’m here for it.

“You’re not only a coach, but you’re also a mentor. You’re a father figure; you’re an educator. You’re always dealing with a ton of different gymnastics throughout the entire day. That’s what I loved about it.”

Outten’s former boss at Westfield - then head coach Corby Meekins - said Outten was “everything I thought he’d be” as a coach.

“The units he coached always played smart, played disciplined,” Meekins said, noting that Outten was great at building rapport with his athletes. “He gets really close with those guys, people like him, and when people know he cares about them, he’s able to get more out of them on the field.”

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