One of Gary Kubiak‘s first orders of business upon being hired as Broncos head coach didn’t involve schemes.
It didn’t involve film, though assessing personnel was a part of it. Kubiak had a different way of going about it, something that has left a clear mark on the team.
“I remember the first day, I called every player on the football team when I came here. I told them I was proud to be a part of them, that I had a lot of respect for what they had done in the past. So, that was my approach, and then we went to work.”
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders appreciated the gesture:
“It was big. Since day one when Kubiak has come into the Broncos organization, he’s welcomed everyone with open arms. He called everyone. I’ll tell you what – I’ve been on a lot of teams and this is definitely a family oriented team. I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The Broncos have changed their image as an offense-heavy team that buries their opponents by mounting insurmountable leads.
Under Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Philips and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, Denver has morphed in a defensive-minded unit that wants to run the ball and manage the clock.
But there’s also a family element. One where blood is titanium and it only gets stronger with each win. Edge rusher Derek Wolfe recalled his telephone conversation with Kubiak:
“I thought it was going to be one of those conversations where he was like ‘hey this is coach,’ and this and that. But it wasn’t like that. He asked personal questions, asked about your life, asked if you were married and had kids and stuff. … It’s a huge family atmosphere. There’s not a lot of business, it’s more like family than business.”
While the Broncos are a veteran team with excellent leadership, not all of the players are exempt from mistakes.
That was especially true for practice squad safety Ryan Murphy, who was questioned during a prostitution sting conducted by law enforcement at a San Jose motel.
Kubiak issued this prepared statement to media Tuesday afternoon:
“Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him. Ryan is returning to Denver, but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time.”
There’s been no indication that Murphy was ever directly involved with the solicitation of sexual services, and the Oregon State product was released from questioning without a citation.
The seventh round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, a roster cut casualty who got picked up in one of the best situations imaginable, found a way to possibly throw it all away.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.