The best coaches step back and allow the players to do the talking. Broncos first-year head coach Vance Joseph seems to be doing just that.
In the NFL, just like any profession, there are guys who take days off, do things wrong, slack, relax and don’t produce in a way they could. Then there are the guys who always put in the work. Guys who get the job done day in and day out. Guys who set the example and show others how it’s done – moreover, how it’s done right.
In an office or on a job site the boss comes and goes, but the employees are motivated from within. The boss might say, “This is how things get done around here,” but the people on the floor show everyone how it’s done, because they themselves are there, doing the job themselves. The best leaders lead by example; they lead from within.
Much like successful businesses with management, NFL teams that flourish and thrive on the field year in and year out are the ones who have leadership within – leadership at each and every position. Leaders who are actually on the field, in the locker room, the meeting room, the film room, in the weight room and off the field when the doors are closed and the lights are off. In order to win consistently and keep the train on the tracks, you must do this, you must lead from within.
Coaches can coach, but they are not always around. The players – the good ones – can motivate and lift the production of others.
As the Broncos say, “Iron sharpens iron, like man sharpens man.”
The Broncos have leaders all over the field; this is an undeniable fact. At each position group, and on both sides of the ball, the Broncos have a guy other players can look to for guidance, for motivation.
The center on many teams calls the scheme, makes the adjustments and is often the leader of the big boys up front. The Broncos have a great one in Paradis. Despite bumps, bruises and injuries to his hips (plural), Paradis hasn’t missed a game in two years. He doesn’t work in accounting, or human resources; he works on the offensive line in the NFL and STILL he hasn’t missed a day. NOT ONE. How many people at your job can you say that about?
Paradise has his hands full this year. He will be working with a rookie in Garrett Bolles, and new additions in Menelik Watson, and Ronald Leary. It will ultimately be on him to get his guys in the right spot and moving in the same direction.
As skilled an athlete as they come at wideout, DT has been a Bronco for a while now. In fact, longer than anyone. DT has caught passes from Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, and now Paxton Lynch. His bag of tools is almost complete, and DT now has the ability to pass on those tools to some of the new kids on the block. DT has not come to the NFL easy. Like a lot of NFL players, he has traveled a different road. Demaryius can not only help the players on the field, but show them how it’s done off the field as well.
C.J. is a Super Bowl champion running back, who during a stretch in 2016, was one of the few reliable weapons on struggling offense. C.J. knows protection calls, option routes, hot calls, and all the small things it takes to stay in the NFL as a running back.
Jamaal Charles has been doing it (and doing it well) for the Kansas City Chiefs for nine years. Jamaal can not only show Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson how it’s done, he might also be able to help everyone in the film room when it’s time to play the Chiefs.
On the defensive line, it would be easy at times to take some plays off in the heat of summer practice. But not if Wolfe is watching. Wolfe is an animal, a motivator with a motor. And Derek Wolfe is definitely not afraid to call guys out for not putting out. Now, with rookie DeMarcus Walker and second-year man Adam Gotsis, Wolfe has some teaching to do.
The No Fly Zone
This bunch is all A’s, as in Type-A personalities. Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby, T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart. All guys who can ball out and do so every play. There is no taking days off when everyone is performing at a max level. In an office setting, these guys would drive you crazy because they would never let up and always stay late. It’s the same reason we love them on the field; they never take the day off.
The leader of the pass rush. The leader of the front seven. The leader of the defense. The leader of the Denver Broncos. DeMarcus Ware showed him how it’s done, and he has not forgotten. Now, he has Shaq Barrett and Shane Ray to mentor. And what better teacher to have than a mature Von Miller? Von not only is the leader of the front, but the front man for the Broncos organization. It’s now Von’s team.
Vance Joseph is in his first year as a head coach. He’s been described as a leader of men. Really, he’s a leader of leaders. In an organization as successful as the Broncos, that’s exactly what’s needed.