Can Peyton Manning and Gary Kubiak Co-Exist With Broncos


The Denver Broncos have an interview with head coach candidate Gary Kubiak on Sunday and the biggest concern anyone really has coming from that is whether or not he can co-exist with quarterback Peyton Manning.

Kubiak’s offense is the one — you might recall — from Jake Plummer’s glory days with the team when he was doing play-action rollouts and bootlegs for days and making defensive units looks silly…until they faced Peyton Manning (or Ben Roethlisberger) in the playoffs.

With Peyton Manning’s body in the current state that it is, it’s fair to wonder if an offense that requires so much movement from the quarterback is something he can even do. Former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer played in the offense in the later portion of his career, and while it was one that fit his skillset perfectly, he thinks that Manning and Kubiak can make it work.

“Could Peyton play in an offense Gary put together? Could Gary make an offense for Peyton? I think yes and yes, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Plummer said. “Man, look, Gary is a great coach and great coaches change their systems up, they extend it, or tweak it to maximize their players’ abilities. But they would both have to work at it, they both would have to find what was best for them on each side. They could do it, but they would have to put in the time to make it right. It’s not an exact fit, but Kubes is a great, great coach and Peyton is one of the best ever. If they want to get it done, need to get it done, they’ll get it done.”

Plummer is one of the greatest interviews in Denver sports, mainly because he’s so honest. Plummer has been asked about everything from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ Super Bowl debacle, and you simply have to listen whenever the guy speaks. I love what he points out that so many people so often forget in that great coaches will tailor their systems to fit the player’s skillset. He later spoke about how the Broncos don’t have to ask Manning to run seven bootlegs per game and try and ‘launch’ the ball downfield or make throws he can’t make. What Manning can do is run the bootleg a few times per game and hit an easy throw to a tight end or running back.

“If they want to get it done, need to get it done, they’ll get it done.”

The former Broncos QB also noted how positive the Kubiak hire would be for the running backs on the team, but also that it fits Brock Osweiler perfectly. That’s one thing that so many Broncos fans have been excited about with Kubiak is what it means for the future of Osweiler, but entering his fourth year in the league, Plummer could see why Osweiler might be getting a bit impatient.

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The Broncos want Manning back this next season, and I think Manning will want to be back for one more run after such a disappointing finish against the team that cut him almost three years ago. The logic I don’t understand is why Manning would rather retire than have Kubiak as a head coach. There were reports that came out that Manning wanted to play in Houston back in 2012 when he was a free agent, but Texans ownership didn’t pursue since they had a Pro Bowl quarterback already in Matt Schaub who was costing them plenty of money.

If Manning wanted to play for Kubiak and the Texans back then, why would he have such a problem with it now? Is his athletic ability that seriously dwindled? We saw an injured Manning pass on the opportunity to run for a critical third down early in the second half of the Broncos’ playoff loss to the Colts, but I think at that point, Manning was really not in a good state mentally.

What Plummer said is absolutely correct, and critical to the Broncos reaching what John Elway called ‘the next level.’ Everyone the Broncos employ has to be willing to make sacrifices for the good of the team, and if one of Manning or Kubiak is unwilling to do so, it’s going to be because they chose that route, not because it’s an impossible fit. Good coaches adapt to players, good players adapt to coaches.

The Broncos’ interview with Kubiak is the biggest meeting of the offseason and it could turn the page for a lot in Denver moving forward. It could mean the end of Peyton Manning, or it could mean a rebirth. It could mean the beginning of Brock Osweiler, or possibly the end of him as well.

There are major fallout decisions to make for the Broncos after they hire a head coach, and at this point, it certainly seems like it’s going to be Gary Kubiak. If he and Peyton Manning can co-exist, the Broncos have a legit shot at making a run at a title in 2015. Manning has a lot to change himself, but having a coach like Kubiak who can force him to do things that might make him and the Broncos better that he otherwise wouldn’t do with this current Broncos team is something that everyone in Denver wants to see.