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Broncos' McCoy glad to go back to calling plays, if not the shots

By: ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
February 7, 2017 Updated: February 7, 2017 at 8:03 pm
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ENGLEWOOD — Mike McCoy is glad he's calling plays again, if not all the shots like he did in San Diego.

He gave up game-day play-calling duties during his four seasons as head coach of the Chargers.

Vance Joseph's first call as Broncos head coach was to lure McCoy back to the job he held in Denver from 2009-12 following McCoy's ouster last month.

McCoy said returning to his old gig was "something special," and certainly not something he sees as a demotion but as a chance to go back to doing what he does best.

"I've got a burning desire to call plays, and I did not do that the last four years and that was something hard," McCoy said Tuesday. "I think that Ken Whisenhunt and Frank Reich did an outstanding job for the four years I was there in San Diego. And that's why I was (content) being in the head coaching role and I let those two guys do it."

Although he certainly had veto power, McCoy said he missed those play-calling duties.

"So, I'm excited to get back into this and call plays," he said.

No matter who's calling them from the huddle, either.

Trevor Siemian beat out Paxton Lynch last year but Joseph declared upon his arrival last month that it's an open competition again.

"And there's nothing like competition," McCoy said. "That's what makes everyone better. And the great thing for these two young quarterbacks and our entire offense is we're going against a great defense every day."

With John Elway in charge, there's always speculation the Broncos will add another veteran to the mix, say a guy like Tony Romo.

"I'm happy with the two guys we have," McCoy said. "And that's the focus right now is getting the two quarterbacks we have on our roster ready to play."

With holdovers such as running backs coach Eric Studesville and receivers coach Tyke Tolbert along with newcomers Geep Chryst (tight ends), Jeff Davidson (O-line) and Bill Musgrave (quarterbacks), McCoy and Joseph have assembled an eclectic offensive staff with roots in both the power and zone blocking schemes.

Joseph said he expects creative tension between McCoy and Musgrave, who pulled out of offensive coordinator interviews elsewhere to coach the young QBs in Denver.

"I hope so. That tension is always a good tension," Joseph said. "You want the best game plan on Sundays and obviously with Geep Chryst, Mike and Bill Musgrave, they've all called plays. So, that's exciting for us. But with those personalities it won't be an issue."

Studesville, who was promoted to assistant head coach following his dalliance with the New York Jets, is someone McCoy relied on heavily for his opinion in his first stint as Denver's play-caller.

McCoy used the word "change" half a dozen times in his comments Tuesday when Joseph introduced his coaching staff. McCoy suggested the offense is going to look drastically different as it evolves through free agency, the draft and offseason workouts.

"So, there's going to be a lot of changes. They're going to have to leave this building in the offseason program and take their work home. And that's not just the two quarterbacks but it's everybody," McCoy said.

It won't matter who starts at quarterback if he's not protected better, however.

The O-line was Denver's weakest link last season and among the main reasons they missed the playoffs altogether a year after winning Super Bowl 50.

"Our offensive line needs to play better," McCoy said. "Our offense will go as far as our offensive line will take us."

When he was hired, Joseph said he wanted an aggressive offense and in McCoy he has a coordinator known for his aggression and creativity, which weren't hallmarks of the Gary Kubiak-Rick Dennison offense the last two seasons.

"Mike has built an offense from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning, so he has the ability to adapt his skillset to our players," Joseph said. "We want to be aggressive. We want to score points. How he does that, that's going to be his expertise."

JOE WOODS replaced Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator but will keep the blueprints that helped Denver's defense dominate the NFL the last two seasons.

"Obviously with Vance being a defensive coordinator (in Miami last season) and he also coached with Wade for three years in Houston, there are some things that we can tweak that we want to add to the defense to help enhance it," Woods said. "But we don't want to change what we've done the last two years."

Joseph said he'll keep the Broncos' wildly successful 3-4 scheme in place, too.

BROCK OLIVO replaced Joe DeCamillis as special teams coordinator and served a three-year apprenticeship under Dave Toub, the Chiefs special teams coach who interviewed for the Broncos' head coaching vacancy.

Olivo, 40, said it wasn't an awkward goodbye, though.

"It was like a father sending his son off to school that just won a scholarship. He was very proud, he was so elated, fired up for me," Olivo said. "Even though it's an interdivisional rival, he didn't care. He was more excited for me and proud at my opportunity than he was (concerned) about where I was going or the fact that we have to play each other twice a year now."

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