ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Change is coming to the Broncos’ offense.
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett turned over offensive play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak, 35, ahead of Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Hackett informed his team of the change last night, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero. Pelliserro also reported that Kubiak had been calling in plays during practice this week, but only a few people, including quarterback Russell Wlson and general manager George Paton knew the change was on the way.
Kubiak, the son of Super Bowl 50 champion head coach Gary Kubiak, called plays last season for the Minnesota Vikings as offensive coordinator. His offense posted the 14th-most points and 11th-most yards in the NFL. The Broncos would happily accept those numbers, but they are a slight decline from what the Vikings managed the year before Kubiak took over and this season after Kubiak left, with essentially the same personnel.
Kevin O’Connell took over as the Vikings’ head coach this offseason and revamped the staff, which meant hiring an offensive coordinator of his own. Kubiak was left to join the Broncos’ staff as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator.
Relinquishing play-calling duties is the biggest change that Hackett has made during his disappointing first season as the Broncos’ head coach. The move is essentially the final card Hackett can play as he tries to jumpstart a Broncos’ offense that is 22nd in yardage and last in scoring with 14.6 points per game.
The Broncos also made several roster moves on Saturday, ahead of the game:
- Long snapper Jacob Bobenmooyer was activated from injured reserve. His return comes at a great time as his replacement, Mitchell Fraboni, broke his finger and was added to the injured reserve list this week.
- Tackle Quinn Bailey was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. The fourth-year tackle out of Arizona State has spent his entire career with the Broncos, primarily on with the practice squad.
- Linebacker Jonas Griffith was added to injured reserve after his foot flared up during Wednesday’s practice. He may not return this season.
- Additionally, two players were activated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game: linebacker Harvey Langi and wide receiver Brandon Johnson.
Langi is in his fifth NFL season out of Brigham Young. He’s played in 40 games in his career with the New York Jets and New England Patriots. With Griffith injured, Langi will provide depth behind Josey Jewell, Alex Singleton and Justin Strnad on Sunday.
Johnson is an undrafted rookie receiver who stole the show in the preseason but missed the last couple of months with an injury. The Broncos are lacking options at wide receiver. Courtland Sutton, Jalen Virgil, Montrell Washington and Johnson are the Broncos’ healthy receivers. Kendall Hinton is questionable.