When Peyton Manning retired on March 7 the Denver Broncos not only said goodbye to one of the franchise’s best players, but also one of the greatest leaders in all of sports. In his four years as a Bronco, Manning lead the team to unprecedented success, but after hearing countless players and coaches speak about him, his leadership qualities could have been even better than his legacy on the field.

Although Manning’s retirement was a crushing blow to the leadership of the team, the Broncos were very confident in the many leaders that remained on the team, such as DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller and Aqib Talib, to name a few. Only a couple months later, near the end of OTAs, all three of these players have had major setbacks in terms of being able to lead the team.

From Talib getting injured with a gunshot wound to Ware dealing with a lingering back injury, which has prevented him from taking the field, to Miller missing all offseason actives trying to neogtiate a long-term contract extension with the team — all three players have taken a step back in terms of leading the team.

One might be assume, then, that the Super Bowl champions may be wandering without a leader. That’s far from the case. The Broncos have had a core group of leaders dating back to last year — the coaching staff. While this may seem obvious, not many professional teams truly rely on the coaching staff to provide guidance for players, instead passing that responsibility on to fellow players.

This coaching staff is different.

Not many defensive coordinators in the NFL intentionally quote Drake, the rapper, like defensive coordinator Wade Phillips did on Thursday when talking about getting their Super Bowl rings.

And not many special teams coordinators open up about their favorite rapper like Joe DeCamillis did with artist T.I.

“I’m actually a T.I. guy,” said DeCamillis Thursday after the final day of mandatory minicamp. “Literally I never go to talk to anybody before the game. I walked up to [T.I.] and hugged him. He’s awesome.”

If this coaching staff is this enjoyable to be around when they are speaking to the media, it isn’t hard to imagine why the players love them so much.

Not only do the players love the coaching staff, they respect them and look up to them because the coaches treat them like adults — which again, isn’t always the case.

“The key is that you deal with [distractions] openly and honestly with your players,” said Kubiak.

The Broncos have had their fair share of offseason distractions this year, from losing both starting quarterbacks — Manning to retirement and Brock Osweiler in free agency — to Miller holding out for a new deal to Talib being injured from a gunshot.

However, Kubiak reminds the team that this is not uncommon territory for them.

“Remember our team dealt with a lot starting the season last year. That’s what I remind them of. Derek [Wolfe] was out for a month. T.J. [Ward] missed the opening game. Our offensive line, we had a lot of things going on. That’s part of football,” said Kubiak. “But you keep working, it doesn’t keep you from working.”

Kubiak says the best way to deal with distraction and keep his team focused is to address any issues right away.

“Start every day by talking about the things that are going on and just how we are handling things and what we are doing,” said Kubiak. “We don’t run away from anything. We talk about everything.”

The Broncos players not only have the love for the coaching staff, but true respect. This respect allows the players to look to the coaches for leadership guidance, like they have done.

If there is any question about how important this coaching staff is to the team, look back at recent history. Before this coaching staff took over last year, the Broncos were never able to get over the hump in the playoffs. In the first year with this coaching staff, they won it all.

Of course the Broncos would love to welcome Ware and Miller back to the field, but until then the organization can rest easy knowing the coaching staff has taken the reigns.