- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Gary Kubiak has certainly heard all of the words.
The ones, and there have been plenty of them since he was hired this past January to be the Denver Broncos' 15th head coach, devoted to the idea that quarterback Peyton Manning doesn't quite fit the offense Kubiak and the other Broncos coaches have put together.
And at that Kubiak simply shakes his head.
"Look, it's not my offense, it's our offense, the Denver Broncos offense and we wouldn't be very smart -- we'd be stupid -- not to do the things we do best," Kubiak said. "Peyton has been one of the greatest there's ever been for a long time, we're going to do things that fit him and get done the things we want to get done. That's coaching, that's our job."
In training camp's early going, it's clear the Broncos have meshed Kubiak's version of the West Coast offense with what Manning has done at a Hall of Fame level in his career. There is a little of this, a little of that in what they'll do.
The Broncos huddle more than they have since Manning arrived in 2012, Manning will be under center more than he has been and Manning is poised to be asked to throw on the move more than he has in the past. For his part, Manning has consistently said he's ready to run whatever Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison devise and that includes the bread-and-butter, play-action rollouts Kubiak's offense has traditionally used.
"I feel that I throw pretty well on the run, to tell you the truth," Manning said as camp opened. "I never had as many designed roll-outs or scrambles, but I've sprinted out through the years. ... I actually think I throw pretty well on the run for a guy that doesn't really run well. I actually throw well on the run, maybe even better than some guys that actually run well."
Kubiak has pointed out that he has had players finish as the league's leading rusher (Terrell Davis), leading receiver (Andre Johnson) and leading passer (Matt Schaub) during his time as a play-caller. His point is that he's adjusted to his personnel, successfully, and stays true to the things he likes to do on offense as well.
Schaub didn't play in the offense the same way as the more mobile Jake Plummer did and neither Schaub nor Plummer played in the same way John Elway did during the Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl seasons.
"That's the thing about Kubes, he will make it whatever it needs to be," Plummer said. "He'll look at Peyton, study Peyton and create something that is true to what he wants to do and is true to what Peyton does. That is Kubes' strength, he's just one of the smartest dudes out there and he is great with people, he understands people. I know when he left the Broncos (in 2006 to coach the Houston Texans) I wanted to cry."
"Obviously I don't get into the comparisons between this year and last year, but yeah, I think you learn," Manning said.
Kubiak, Elway's former backup as a player, is known among his peers as a grinder, a coach who "is all about ball," is most often the refrain. So, in that way many think he will be a kindred spirit for Manning much the same way Manning bonded with former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
Kubiak worked with Hall of Famers in Steve Young and Elway early in his coaching career and now, just over two decades later, he gets his chance to work with Manning. Gase was once asked what Manning wants most from a coach and his response was "answers," and Kubiak has come to enjoy Manning's pathological inquisitiveness for things he has filled piles of spiral notebooks with over the years.
"For me as a coach, man you love that," Kubiak said. "It's interesting because early in my career, my first round as a coach, I was a young coach trying to coach a Hall of Fame player (in Elway). ... It's great to work with those guys. It's so challenging. They're so smart. They want all the answers. They deserve all the answers. To watch a guy as long as he's been doing it the way he takes care of himself and how important it is to him, I'll be honest with you, it's a blast right now. We're trying to fit everything together and we'll do that. But he's a joy to work with every day because he loves ball. It's what he loves to do."
14hEric D. Williams
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