A Gary Kubiak hire could make things awkward with Peyton Manning

Getty Images

As the Broncos begin to look for a new head coach who will be accepting a job that comes with an annual Super-Bowl-or-bust mandate, one of the potential candidates is a guy who recently said he won’t be a candidate for any job.

Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, before becoming coach of the Texans in 2006, served as offensive coordinator of the Broncos.  As a player, he spent nine years with the Broncos and quarterback (now G.M.) John Elway.  Vic Lombardi of CBS4 in Denver, appearing on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, explained that Kubiak is a viable candidate.

If Kubiak alters his not-this-year stance and ultimately becomes coach of the Broncos, a couple of awkward wrinkles could emerge.

First, Kubiak’s offense requires periodic quarterback mobility, for example when one of the various rollout pass plays are called.  Obviously, that wouldn’t necessarily work with the largely immobile Peyton Manning.

Second, in Houston Kubiak coached the one team that Manning was interested in joining three years ago, but that wasn’t interested in Manning.  And Peyton has a long memory; he wanted to play for the Texans, the Texans weren’t interested, and Kubiak’s fingerprints reside somewhere on that decision.

Yes, the Texans and Kubiak opted to stick with Matt Schaub over Peyton Manning.  Matt Schaub.  Matt.  Schaub.

Peyton would have to get past that one before working with Kubiak.

And Peyton will have input in the hire.  Elway already has said so.  For any other quarterback in any other circumstance, that would prompt plenty of criticism.  The mere fact that Manning has that kind of power makes the job even more challenging that it otherwise would be — especially if Peyton enters 2015 with the mindset that this will be his last shot at trying to win that elusive second Super Bowl.

77 responses to “A Gary Kubiak hire could make things awkward with Peyton Manning

  1. “Yes, the Texans and Kubiak opted to stick with Matt Schaub over Peyton Manning. Matt Schaub. Matt. Schaub.”

    Florio, you are pure comedy & snark without even trying. One of the reasons I keep coming to this site.

    That said, any coordinator worth his salt would not have any plays scripted whatsoever that have Peyton Manning mobile. Any one that does needs not to have that position because they do not know how to utilize talent.

  2. A good coach tailors his system to the players he has. While it’s true Manning wouldn’t be able to run the naked bootlegs off of the stretch action that the Broncos used to have Jake Plummer run, they could run plenty off play action off of stretch because Manning used to run that in Indy all the time.

    Secondly the Texans had zero cap room at the time Manning was a free agent and if I recall correctly had just given Schaub a new big money extension, while I’m sure they would have loved to add Manning financially it just wasn’t possible.

    An optimist could look at it as Manning wanted to play for Kubiak and would be excited by the chance to play for him.

  3. I don’t really get it, weren’t all the questions about Kubiak similar to the questions that are being asked about John Fox?

  4. This speculation of Kubiak going to Denver is all clickbait, to which I am guilty of getting pulled in too. Kubiak moving – not happening.

  5. I don’t understand the Kubiak to Denver talk. I mean, if John Fox didn’t have what it took to get over the hill into the SuperBowl, why would you hire Kubiak who’s going to kick you back down the hill? Plus with Peyton, he would lose 99% of his offense, the QB rollout cause Peyton can’t do it. Stoopid, but I guess that’s what you get with Elway.

  6. I respect Peyton as much as the next guy, but he really is holding this team back from moving on. The Peyton experiment has run its course. I just do not see Peyton getting any better with age.

  7. No QB should be allowed to have input with any coach hiring, plain and simple. Keep up the great work Elway! The Donkeys will never win another super bowl with that clown show

  8. As a bronco fan my whole life. elway needs to hire shanahan. And don’t bring kyle along. He is a great coach. He got screwed in Washington thanks to rg3. To busy with commerciala, and not enough time on the field.

  9. Is Denver really a good job? It’s a Super Bowl or bust 1 year gig with uncertainty with aging megastar QB in Peyton. Team has limited cap space and two major pieces headed for free agency in The two Thomases. Broncos may have entirely new offensive and defensive philosophies next season with veteran group.

    John Elway has his work cut out for him.

  10. Not buying this report. Kubiak would tweak his system if just for a year or two and then he could install anything he wants when Peyton retires. It also would appear the Texans non interest was more Bob McNair and salary cap implications.

    “Some people said, why didn’t you sign Peyton Manning?” McNair said. “Well, we just couldn’t do it. We would have had to let go of two or three of our outstanding players to create enough room in the salary cap to do something with him. Those are the decisions you have to make as you go forward. You hope you make the right decision.”

  11. I don’t remember Peyton being interested in the Texans. If I remember correctly, he first visited Denver, then Arizona, next San Francisco, and finally Tennessee before choosing Denver.

  12. The Bleacher Report said that Peyton would be interested in a Mike Shanahan return. We all know Shanny hasn’t won anything since Elway, but if you give him Manning? If Manning can get healthy this could get very interesting.

  13. Your QBs are Manning and Osweiler and you’re gonna bring in a coach whose offense requires mobility?

  14. This assumes Manning is as petty as you are. I doubt it. If he wants to play, he should. Manning having input in the HC hire is dumb unless Elway is willing to admit that he is only looking at one year, two tops (but unlikely)

  15. Personally, I Think this is the guy. Knows Denver. Knows Elway. it s the old boy system throughout.

    But, consider this: Kyle Shanahan. Not Mike…

  16. Look at his picture (insert slam). Megahead. One and done. Fivehead. Horeface. Well that should cover the next 80 or so comments.

  17. Why would Kubiak leave the Ravens whose Super Bowl window will be wide open for the next 2-4 years for a Broncos team whose Super Bowl window abruptly slammed SHUT last week?

  18. Peyton is one of the greatest of all time, obviously, but why would he want to go back and play another year for the Elway and the Broncos?

    I suspect the Broncos will end up with a new coach far less accomplished than John Fox.

    Good luck Broncos, you’ll need it….

  19. They’re both grown men. Deal with it although this is purely speculation since neither possibly will be with the Broncos next season.

  20. If John Elway is looking for a coach that will get the team to play with more “fire” as he put it, Kubiak is not that coach. The Houston Texans continually came up short in big games, and he was fortunate to keep his job there as long as he did. Its so tiring to see the same losing coaches get recycled over and over and over. The NFL is the Hollywood of the sports world, nothing new and original, just remakes and parts 1,2,3,4,5….

  21. Elway has said that Manning will have input but Elway will do what Elway wants. If he wants Kubiak, he will hire Kubiak. He is thinking long-term for the head coach position even while thinking Superbowl or bust now.

  22. Kubiak ain’t goin nowhere. I don’t know why they keep writin up this s “what if” stuff . He is a man of is word, and he would have known about the possibility of that job opening before he released that statement. He is comfortable where he is and he is a perfect fit in baltimore in every way you look at it.

  23. Why should Peyton have input on ANYTHING at this point? If he picks up where he left off and finally accepts the fact that he’s done, he will undoubtedly blame some phantom injury, head to I.R and call it a career. Bet that.

  24. You can clown on the decision to keep Matt Schaub with your benefit of hindsight all you want, but Schaub threw for what at the time was the 7th most yards in NFL history in 2009 (~4700) and was a multiple Pro Bowler on a team that was starting to look like an annual playoff contender. And the Texans were supposed to just throw that all away to gamble on a 36 year old Manning who hadn’t played for a full year and coming off a very serious career-threatening injury?

  25. So what? Mannings way hasn’t always worked in post season. The real irony for me is that Elways justification for parting ways with Fox mirrors what Jim Irsay said about moving forward without Manning. Stacking regular season wins and division titles was fun but at the end of the day it’s all about post season success.

  26. Matt Schaub was also coming off a really good season if I remember correct and then…he drove off a cliff.

  27. I don’t get what is going on at Denver. Best thing Peyton could do at this point is retire and let the Broncs start fresh next year with a new coach and new quarterback.

  28. Not gonna last long. Elway is too egotistic especially with Kubiak as a former Broncos QB too. No more then 2 season Kubiak will be looking for a new job. Elway needs to go, but fans are kissing his ass as tho he is god in Denver.

  29. Peyton retires, Oakland trades Schaub to Denver to be the new stater. Let history be the judge.

  30. Manning is the Lebron James if the NFL always catered to because of his past not his present which means NO MORE championships for the TEAM

  31. In all fairness to Kubiak, three years ago nobody knew how Manning would respond to that surgery. Manning would need to suck that one up. If his ego won’t allow that, it’s just one more example of him being a weenie.

  32. To be fair, no one could have predicted Schaub was going to melt down and Manning’s neck was still an unknown.

    But hindsight being 20/20…….

  33. I would love to see Kubiak in Denver because Kubiak sucks as a head coach. He is a total control freak and if Kubiak is hired I guarantee Manning will not be back.

  34. At the time, Schaub was still a highly regarded NFL QB (before he completely imploded) and Peyton was a highly questionable unknown coming off that missed year and neck surgery. So don’t act like it was a crazy decision to stick with the guy who’d been doing a great job for years, instead of handing over millions of dollars and your team’s future to an aged potential cripple.

    And I’m pretty sure if you checked old articles, you’d find lots of PFT pundits saying that exact thing at the time.

  35. I don’t see how the Broncos keep all the important pieces together, add more weapons on defense, and find a coaching staff that will mesh quickly for Peyton’s last run. Aren’t they constrained financially?

    The less popular option to peyton might be to go to another team with 9/10 of the team together with the only thing lacking is a QB.

  36. Kubiak might take a HC job but it won’t be Denver. I am sure he had his fill of Horse-Face the nine years he was the backup QB.

  37. And the new coach has to have the power and strength to actually coach (yell at) Manning. When Manning’s making really bad decisions, like he was in the Colts playoff game, the coach should be actually coaching him about the abysmal decisions, like you would with any player’s poor decisions. Not sure Kukiak has that kind of fire–seems he’s laid back like Fox. But Elway would certainly know Kubiak’s temperament, and since I believe Kubiak is Elway’s choice (and has been since before the playoff loss), Elway must think Kubiak will bring more fire than Fox.

  38. How about Adam Gase??

    This guy was nearly an automatic to be a head coach in Cleveland last year and San Francisco this year, but he’s not worthy of a top job anymore???

    Plus, doesn’t fixing anything that isn’t broken ruin teams??

  39. Forget Manning, this is about DENVER’s future. Manning will not be a part of that much longer, so it is pointless to have him play any major part in coaching decisions.

  40. Peyton Manning has maybe 1 good year left. Why would Elway allow him to have a say in the next coach who could be their long after Peyton retires. Then again, just because Peyton provides his opinion, it doesn’t mean they will listen!
    Did I just answer my own question? Why, yes, I believe I did.

  41. Manning is washed up. He should have known better than to go to a cold weather team that plays outdoors in January. The distance he can throw a football is in direct correlation to the outdoor temperature. If it’s 32 degrees, he can throw it about 32 yards. Take your ball and go home Peyton.

  42. All of this speculation is pointless, Kubiak staying in Baltimore at least one more season not only because he enjoys the gig, but also for his health. A lot less stress when you’re not the guy running the entire team on the field.

  43. Kubiak & Shanahan run the same offense and it’s what Elway wants. PFT readers should know it wasn’t Shanny the COACH that got him fired out of Denver, it was Shanny the GM. He had too much power & couldn’t construct a roster on the defensive side to compete.

    Elway will still find the players & Kubiak will coach them. Plain & simple. This is a hire for the future beyond Captain “I’m going to throw a pass on 3rd & 5 even though there are 6 acres of open field in front of me”.

  44. Elway never said that Peyton would have a say in any coach that the Broncos hire. Elway said that he would keep Peyton informed on the process. More like telling Peyton the way we are going with this hire then Peyton can make his own decision on if he wants to stick it out and play for the new coach. Media turned it into “Peyton will help choose the next coach”! Simply not true.

  45. Kubiak probably doesn’t need the stress related to this job. I think John Fox did about as well as any coach could do. Elway might be thinking that he’s doing a better job as GM than he’s actually doing. The expectations are too high. Kubiak might just say No Thanks. Once Manning retires and this becomes a 6-10 team, then Kubiak might consider coming.

  46. “The Texans and Kubiak opted to stick with Matt Schaub over Peyton Manning. Matt Schaub. Matt. Schaub.”

    Don’t see why this continues to be such a huge deal. It’s in the past now.

    The Texans had just completed their first playoff appearance that year and Schaub, for years, was their franchise guy. He had a fantastic season that year and combine that with all of the doubts as to whether Manning could still play at a high level following his neck injury, it was not a hard decision for Kubiak. He wanted to maintain the consistency on his ship.

    Yes, three years later it’s easy to second guess and all that. But if Manning continues to hold a grudge over a decision Kubiak made 3 years ago, perhaps Manning’s maturity is the problem.

  47. Read an article a couple days ago on this very subject and the ending paragraph stated, “Let the revisionist history tellers begin!” And begin they have.
    As stated in previous comments:
    1) Schaub was coming off a record setting(for him and the Texans anyway) year for passing and made the playoffs.
    2) Manning had missed playing the entire previous year and had gone under the knife several times, I forget now but I think it was 3 surgeries he underwent on his neck. No one knew or even had a clue how Manning would respond, at best he was nothing more than a question mark at that time.
    3) The Texans were already having to let go important players in order to keep others, how many more players would have to be let go in order to sign Manning. The Texans quite simply did NOT have cap space to sign someone like Manning, period, as in end of discussion!
    The author of this article and others seems to be the ones that the ending paragraph of the article I read a couple days ago are talking about. I wish these people would actually learn what they are reporting on before they throw whatever garbage they can up on the site and act like they accomplished something.

  48. I’m a Pats fan living in the heart of Broncos country. This is on John Fox. He is a nice guy, amiable, the players like him. But he is not and never been the kind of coach who can whip a team up to the level of intensity required to go all the way. I watched the Colts take down the Bengals and saw a level of intensity and heat I knew would give the Broncos trouble. When I saw the Broncs take the field last weekend, they looked like they were trotting out for a pre-season game, and it never got any better. Flat as a beer left on top of the tv overnight. Elway has his faults . . . maybe a lot of them . . . but he’s telling the truth when he says he needed to see the Broncos go down “kicking and screaming the whole way.” Instead of half the team looking like it was coming out of a coma.

  49. Everyone has written off Peyton before, and he came back with a vengeance. I think denver made a big mistake of letting fox just walk away. I really think Peyton should jump ship and play a different team. I really think denver shot themselves in the foot with letting fox go. After all who fires a coach with a winning record like his was. Denver is stupid and I think elway lost in his game of trying to be a bully

  50. If any of you people watched the conference introducing Kubiak, you’d know how great a choice this is for the Broncos & Manning. Elway and Kubiak are 100% behind Manning coming back, and he will be running an offense behind the strengths of his players, not the “Gary Kubiak” offense.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.