Denver Broncos interim head coach and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has stepped into quite the week.
Del Rio faces former Broncos offensive coordinator and current San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, who has his team at 4-4 in his first year. Del Rio had nothing but praise for McCoy and the Chargers, particularly these past few weeks.
“Offensively, they’ve done some nice things, they’re No. 1 in the league in 10-play drives, they have 20 of them on the year,” Del Rio said. “They’re second in third-down percentage, which helps on those long drives. They’re not allowing sacks on third there. They’re averaging over 400 yards a game. Special teams, second in holding field position. And defensively, no pass touchdowns [allowed] over the past three weeks. And I think fourth in points[allowed] over the last three weeks.”
Del Rio is the “next-man-up” as John Fox would put it, and his nine previous years in the position will be vital to the Broncos’ continued success.
“He’s got great leadership, good command of the room and Jack’s a good leader,” Peyton Manning said Wednesday. “I think guys will answer the bell and follow him.”
Upon returning from the bye, Del Rio didn’t just have to take over the playbook and title. He jumped right in and addressed the hazing incident with the Miami Dolphins that forced offensive tackle Jonathan Martin to check into a hospital for emotional distress.
“I did address it with the team and told them that hopefully they feel confident if anything was ever going on that they would seek one of the channels internally here—whether it be a coach, a position coach, head coach, anybody in coaching, somebody else in the building, [Director of Player Development] Jerry Butler, a fellow player,” Del Rio said. “It doesn’t have to be a captain or leader. If something’s going on, let us help you. We like to talk about being family and we like to think we’d be helpful for a person struggling in a particular situation.”