The Broncos re-hiring of Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator might have been the best non-head coaching move by a new staff this offseason, in part because of McCoy’s flexibility as a playcaller and Denver’s uncertainty at the position.
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“I’ve worked with all kinds of quarterbacks,” McCoy told ESPN.com. “I think we can make an offense that works for all our quarterbacks. I think I can make any of our quarterbacks better and adjust to what they do best.”
The reality is that McCoy is coming off a bit of an awkward situation. He was let go by another team in the division after finishing in last place for the second season in a row. His fate was sealed when the Chargers became the first and only team to lose to the woeful Cleveland Browns at the end of the season. He told KUSA-TV in Denver last week that he’d still like to be a head coach at some point, but that he’s solely focused on getting the Broncos’ offense on track.
“Sure I’d love to,” McCoy said. “But I’ll say this: I am 100 percent committed to doing whatever we can from this day forward to having a great offense. And most importantly help our team win. That’s my No. 1 focus.
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“I am so excited to be here and that’s why I made the decision to come here because of the opportunity to work with Vance Joseph, John Elway, Mr. Bowlen, the Denver Broncos organization and all our fans. I owe it to all those people to go out there and get this offense rolling and do whatever it takes to get back to the top.”
But, Denver’s path back to the Super Bowl was not necessarily by coincidence. On Friday in an interview with ESPN Seattle’s “Danny, Dave and Moore,” Broncos general manager John Elway shared the inspiration behind his team’s dominant defense.
“It was at that point in time I think that we watched the model that the Seahawks and John (Schneider) and coach (Pete) Carroll had put together of being great on defense,” Elway said. “I think what we were able to do is we added some key components that offseason via free agency and plus my first five years that I was here we worked on the defense.
“It all came together at the right time. Having seen the focus that on the defensive side, no matter what, if you had a great defense you’re going to be able to stay in football games.”
It’s important to note it wasn’t solely the loss that brought upon change. Elway mentioned the Broncos had been fixed on acquiring key defensive pieces through free agency and the draft since his arrival. After he was selected second overall in the 2011 draft, Von Miller’s presence has paid dividends. In six seasons, he’s accumulated 73.5 sacks and was influential in the team’s Super Bowl win.
Fox Sports first reported the development.
Obviously this was a one-year fix for the Broncos, who never intended on paying Okung in the long term without asking him to re-work the remaining stages of the deal. His departure, though, puts a good offensive lineman on the market at a time when not many are expected to emerge through the draft or via free agency. Okung, 29, started all 16 games for the Broncos last year.
Andrew Whitworth, the 35-year-old veteran from Cincinnati, might rival Okung right now as the top option on the market.
The Broncos now have a glaring hole at the left tackle spot and two unproven quarterbacks vying for the starting role behind center. Pro Football Focus, one of the few sites brave enough to rank offensive linemen, rated Okung the 38th best tackle in football last season. Denver spent a second-round pick on tackle Ty Sambrailo in 2015 though he played fewer than 250 snaps this season.
So it goes in free agency, where big deals become moot less than a year after they are signed. Okung garnered attention for going out on his own and praise for working out his own deal, but will the experience motivate him to use an agent this time around? This might be especially important given how weak the tackle market is and how strong the need for professional-grade talent has become.