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Gary Kubiak the perfect man to coach Denver Broncos

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July 15, 2015

 

Gary Kubiak is a football man. In fact, his world has revolved around football for so long he could be profiled in that wonderfully produced documentary series “A Football Life” on NFL Network.

It all began in his childhood as Kubiak was the ball boy for the Houston Texans and then-head coach Bum Phillips.

Fast forward 40 years to the present and Kubiak is now the Denver Broncos head coach, with Bum Phillips’ son, Wade, his defensive coordinator. Kubiak’s former teammate Rick Dennison is now the offensive coordinator as everyone decided, like Jake Blues, “We’re putting the band back together.” No official word if they’re “On a mission, from God,” or not.

It seems that way, though.

The mission? To win the Denver Broncos a third Super Bowl. To bring glory back to the franchise. To be the best in the business.

“That’s what I want to be a part of; I want to be a part of expectations,” Kubiak said in his Broncos head coach introductory presser. “If you’re working in this business, that’s the opportunity you want, to win a championship.”

Kubiak grew his knowledge and love for football as a player, earning all-state while playing quarterback at Houston’s St. Pius X High School. He went on to play for the Texas A&M Aggies and was eventually selected by the Broncos in the eighth round of the 1983 NFL Draft.

That year was all about another quarterback, though, as Denver traded for No. 1 overall pick John Elway. Elway became the greatest Broncos player and one of the all-time great quarterbacks in NFL history during his 16 years as the team’s starter while Kubiak stayed in the back. “Koobie” competed with Elway for the starting spot, lived with him in the dorms of Greeley and eventually became great friends with his current boss.

After his playing days were over, Kubiak immediately went to coaching at his alma mater, Texas A&M, as their running backs coach from 1992-93. In 1994, he broke into the NFL coaching world under Mike Shanahan as the San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach, working with Steve Young.

In 1995, when Shanahan was hired by the Broncos, he brought Kubiak with him. For 10 years, Kubiak was the team’s offensive coordinator and arguably their best at calling plays in the history of the franchise.

The mid-90s were Denver’s heyday; the zone-blocking scheme helped Terrell Davis run to an NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP on the way to back-to-back Super Bowl victories. The play-action worked to Elway’s strength as a mobile quarterback and the more controlled passing helped the Duke throw less interceptions.

Even after Elway and Davis rode off into the sunset, Kubiak’s offense excelled in the Mile High City and was heralded for its ability to create 1,000-yard running backs. Davis was the first, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, Olandis Gary, Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell followed.

His offense gained so much attention that following Denver’s 2005 run to the AFC Championship Game, Kubiak was hired by the Houston Texans as head coach. Under him, the Texans enjoyed their first two non-losing seasons (2007-08) in franchise history, then their first winning season (2009) at 9-7. With Wade Phillips his defensive coordinator starting in 2011, the Texans went 10-6, then 12-4 in 2012, winning their first playoff game.

Kubiak demands winning. As do Broncos fans.

But 2013 was a terrible season for the Texans and Kubiak; he collapsed on the field just before halftime during their Nov. 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts and suffered a transient ischemic attack, or a blood vessel in the brain which is temporarily blocked. A month later, with the team at 2-11, he was fired from the Texans.

The NFL is a ruthless “win or go home” business, which holds true in his current home as well. He can ask John Fox, who was fired following four straight AFC West titles, about the importance of winning in the postseason.

Last year, Kubiak was running the Baltimore Ravens’ offense, with one of the better running games in the league. He also turned another relative no-name into a star as Justin Forsett had never rushed for over 1,000 yards, yet he carried the rock for 1,529 and a career-high eight touchdowns.

Now, he’s back in Denver. And for Broncos fans, he’s the perfect head coach.

Look at the changes he’s made already. OTAs meant getting his young guys reps and experience while resting his veterans. His offense will change the way Denver attacks, going to that run-first look which will only benefit C.J. Anderson and the rest of the backs. The zone-blocking will be beneficial to the young and inexperienced offensive line as well while taking some of the onus off of Peyton Manning.

Gary Kubiak is focused on winning, not just regular season games but titles, and the Broncos player-turned-coach is the perfect man to lead Denver back to the promised land.

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