- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Today's question: What assistant coach on your team's staff will make the biggest impact?
Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos: Defensive line coach Bill Kollar is expected to pump up that group's performance, and Wade Phillips arrived to a defensive depth chart with five Pro Bowl players and three edge rushers in DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller and rookie Shane Ray. Still, plenty of eyes will be on offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Coach Gary Kubiak will most likely be the Broncos' game-day playcaller. But if things go as Dennison hopes, he will do plenty of the heavy lifting when it comes to fitting Kubiak's version of the West Coast offense to quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning said he looks forward to working with Kubiak and repeatedly expressed confidence in him finding a comfort zone. Kubiak has a shrewd, offensive mind that is flexible enough to fit his philosophies around what Manning does. But for a team that has averaged 34 points per game over the past two seasons, Dennison will face passionate scrutiny with the potential for the big payoff of a deep playoff run if he gets it right.
Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs: Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton does a good job with game plans and making adjustments during games. But the Chiefs have been among the league's best teams in the kicking game during the past two seasons. For that, I credit special teams coordinator Dave Toub. Among Toub's many successes with the Chiefs is the development of Knile Davis as a kickoff return specialist. Davis didn't return kicks in college but had the speed and other necessary tools to become a good returner. He was terrible when he first started out with the Chiefs. More kicks wound up misjudged, dropped or fumbled by Davis than returned. But Toub refused to give up on Davis. He continued to work with him and the Chiefs have been rewarded. Davis averaged 29.5 yards and returned two kicks for touchdowns in the past two seasons.
Eric D. Williams, San Diego Chargers: For the Chargers, new linebackers coach Mike Nolan has made an immediate impact. He brings experience in a 3-4 defensive scheme, and commands respect from the players because of his experience as a defensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL. Along with that, Nolan's attention to detail and demanding the best out of his players should elevate the playing level of a position group that has under-performed the past two years for the Chargers.
6dEric D. Williams
8dEric D. Williams