In Their Words: Kubiak, DeCamillis and Phillips

On Thursday, the third and final day of Broncos veteran minicamp, it was the coaches turn to answer the media’s questions. Head coach Gary Kubiak, special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips talked about the overall progress of minicamp heading into training camp next month.

Each one weighed in on the development shown so far within each entity: offense, special teams and defense.

Here’s what stood out:

Kubiak: “We had a purpose and that purpose was to work our older players very, very hard in individual—a lot of conditioning work, individual work. We got a lot of teaching done from a walkthrough standpoint and yet, our young players got a bunch of reps late in the day…”

DeCamillis: “Good head coaches, like [Kubiak] understand you only get 46 (players) for the game. Everyone talks about the 53 (man roster). Well, that’s important, but really who plays in that first game is important and you have to have the right guys going into that game and I think the more experienced the coach is the better chance you have at getting that right. I’m looking forward to how we’re going to do the personnel end of it here and see who is going to make the team.”

Phillips: “It’s not my aggressiveness; it’s the players’. It’s the Broncos’ defense, and I think we’ll have a good defense. How good we can be depends on where we go from now through training camp and into the season…”

Kubiak: (Bringing in center Gino Gradkowski) “Really, it was a need. From a center standpoint, last year it was (center Will) Montgomery who was here and he was a free agent. Then you’ve got (center Matt) Paradis. He’s a young player and we looked in the draft and it became a concern. Which direction are we heading here?… I had him up at Baltimore and he had started the year before and I think he’s a great player…”

DeCamillis: (On if WR Emmanuel Sanders is still in the mix for punt returner) “Yep, and he’s done a good job back there catching them also when we’ve had him back there. It’s been good and productive so far and we just need to keep that the same way.”

Phillips: “Shane Ray is coming along real well in the classroom. He needs to take it to the field. He hadn’t had as much work as we’d like. He strained a quad muscle a little bit. He’s missed some full-speed time. He’s so sharp on the board and in watching film, and then on the sideline he’s over there telling us—we have a coach with him every play—he tells the coach what he’s supposed to do on that play.”

Kubiak: “…I’d loved if he (Ray) had had the full summer. But I think we’ve been very smart. ‘Greek’ (Head Athletic Trainer, Steve Antonopulos) has been very smart bringing him along. The biggest thing with him is he was so behind on his rehab process and so we stopped and said, ‘Let’s get that under control and then we will move on with the football…”

DeCamillis: “Ideally you’d like to have one punter, one kicker and one long snapper. That’s the amount of specialists we’d like to carry going in and that’s what the goal is going in.”

Phillips: “I think we’ve got an exceptional group (of defensive backs). I think everybody knows that. Anytime you have three guys that have been to the Pro Bowl—they all have ability, they’re all hard workers and they’re all smart players. I have no complaints about the secondary, for sure.”

Kubiak: “…I think he’s (Cody Latimer) comfortable with what we are doing. His reps have been increased obviously without Demaryius (Thomas) here. So, I see a fine young player. I liked him coming out. I’m really excited about what he can bring and I know he’s a lot better now than when he started. So just, I’m excited moving forward.”

DeCamillis: “I think the biggest key on kickoff returns is you’ve got to make the most out of your opportunities. If you get one a game, you’ve got to cash in on that one a game. That’s the big key. The biggest thing on kickoffs is also the coverage part of it and that’s what we want to get our guys jacked up about and really thinking, ‘Hey, let’s get them inside the 10 rather than just take the touchback every time.’”

Phillips: “I think we have four guys that have really shown up real well (on the defensive line), but we still need a couple more to step up. You need six, maybe seven, and we’ve got some other possibilities.”

Kubiak: “We had a little concern over the nose position and how we’re going to go about it. But I think (Vance) Walker has made a lot of progress. I think ‘Sly’ (Sylvester Williams) has had a really good offseason. Marvin (Austin Jr.) has been nicked a little bit and has missed some time. So there’s been a little concern on how we’re going to do that. But, the good news is that Wade [Phillips] has played with a big nose, he’s played with the small guys, he’s played with all of them…”


Mike Tolbert, a Mile High Sports intern and student at MSU-Denver contributed to this report


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