Just like in their heyday of the late 90s and the Super Bowl 50 run in 2015, the Denver Broncos will have a Kubiak calling the plays.

This time, it won’t be Gary Kubiak — who was the team’s offensive coordinator from 1995-2005, and head coach in 2015 — but his son Klint Kubiak, who will be calling the plays into Russell Wilson in the Mile High City starting Sunday.

That, according to Mike Klis, who says Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett and the team kept it quiet until this morning so the Las Vegas Raiders couldn’t game plan for Kubiak’s offense. It will certainly be interesting to see that new offense, led by Wilson, and what direction Kubiak decides to take it.

Klint Kubiak — who went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO and played safety from 2005-09 — has bounced around the NFL in different offensive positions. In 2013-14 he was the Vikings’ quality control coach, then he was an offensive assistant with Denver from 2016-18, was back with the Vikings from 2019-21 as the QBs coach under his dad’s leadership and then became offensive coordinator last year. Under Hackett this year, Kubiak was the passing game coordinator and now takes over as play-caller today in Denver.

Last year with Kubiak as offensive coordinator the Vikings offense was solid, which would be a giant improvement for Denver’s NFL-worst offense. Last year’s Vikings averaged 25.0 points per game (14th), as they got the most out of Kirk Cousins and limited turnovers to an NFL-best 13. Minnesota also scored 62.7% of the time in the red zone, which was ninth in the NFL. Denver is dead-last at 35.0% this year.

Speaking of Cousins, 2021 was a strong year for him, with 33 touchdowns compared to 7 interceptions and his 103.1 passer rating was the third-highest of his career.

Kubiak was able to game plan for Cousins, running many intermediate routes with Justin Jefferson. Per the Vikings website, Jefferson earned a 99.9 grade on intermediate routes from Pro Football Focus and, “Jefferson was targeted 61 times in the intermediate area, which led the league, and he also led the NFL with 40 catches and 726 yards in that particular depth of target (10-19 yards).”

The aforementioned low interception rate was also a high point for last year’s Vikings’ offense under Kubiak. Denver’s given it away 10 times this year and has a 0 turnover differential currently.

As for things the Vikings needed to improve on, one was third-down conversion percentage, an area in which the Broncos are currently 31st in the league (28.5%). Even at 36.4% last year for Minnesota, which was 26th, it would be an improvement for Denver. And certainly something to keep an eye on.

Another area Minnesota struggled in last season was EPA per play, in which they were 17th. This year, the Broncos EPA/play is the worst in the NFL currently. So, there’s hope Kubiak can help there, too.

How can Kubiak help Russell Wilson?

Last week I asked who was more to blame for the Broncos awful offense, Nathaniel Hackett or Russell Wilson.

Simply, Hackett. Why? He calls the plays — which have been ineffective, unsurprising and bland — while he’s also responsible for evaluating players and game management, two things he’s been terrible at so far.

“And I gotta learn how to call plays for Russ, I gotta learn how to call plays for all the players,” Hackett admitted to Sports Illustrated at the end of October.

There’s no denying Wilson has been dreadful for Denver for most of the year. He doesn’t get to skirt the blame, either.

But Hackett hasn’t been playing to his player’s strengths, outside of a few drives against the Chargers and three more drives against the Jaguars.

So, how can Kubiak help Wilson?

First and foremost, he needs to call more quick passes for the quarterback. As Warren Sharp pointed out after the Broncos loss to the Titans last week, Wilson was hit 17 times, which was the most by any QB since 2006. He was hit so many times because he holds onto the ball too long; he held it for 3.5 seconds or longer on 14 of the drop backs he was hit.

2.6 seconds is the average time to throw in the NFL, so Wilson’s got to be faster getting the ball out of his hand.

Hackett got Wilson going against LA and Jacksonville with the quick passing game, too, outside of the hashmarks. It would be smart of Kubiak to call more of those plays, while also helping Wilson in an area he’s historically been bad at, the middle of the field on those intermediate routes.

Keep in mind the Broncos are without Jerry Jeudy, the team’s No. 2/3 receiver, and KJ Hamler, among many others on offense. So, even quick passes may not lead to big gains or effective offense without Denver’s best playmakers.

Secondly, Kubiak can help Wilson excel by rolling him out more.

The Broncos offense line is incredibly injured from left to right. They do get Cam Flemming back at right tackle this week, and backup center Graham Glasgow is going to give it a go. But starting left tackle Garett Bolles has been out for weeks and Denver is on backups at left tackle, center, right guard and right tackle.

The combination of Wilson holding the ball too long and the offensive line injuries has disrupted the Broncos offense in every game this year. Running more play-action and rolling Wilson out will allow him to make more plays on the fly and run to pick up first downs in short yardage situations.

Finally, Kubiak has to find more ways to get rookie tight end Greg Dulcich the ball, too.

There’s no doubt there will be growing pains with Kubiak as the play-caller, but Broncos Country has to hope there’s some sort of improvement against the repugnant Raiders today.

Denver (3-6) faces Las Vegas (2-7) in the Mile High City, with kickoff scheduled for 2:05 p.m. MDT today.