KUBIAK LEANS ON SHANAHAN FOR PREP WORK
When Gary Kubiak won the AFC championship game, one issue remained unresolved for Broncos critics. Kubiak has never won a Super Bowl. He has, however, worked for a coach who has won three Super Bowl title rings. Mike Shanahan’s 49ers offense dominated the San Diego Chargers, and, as boss of the Broncos, he won the team’s two NFL championships.
Shanahan didn’t earn the nickname “Mastermind” for his appearances on “Jeopardy.” His football blueprint left an imprint with Kubiak, who has leaned on his experience with Shanahan in shaping his practices this week as he installed the game plan as if the Broncos were playing Sunday in Super Bowl 50.
“Absolutely. I saw Mike last week, spent some time with him. I watched him prepare for these games,” Kubiak said. “Yeah, I take a lot with me on what Mike taught me and how he prepared this team for these types of situations.”
Shanahan, who interviewed for head coaching jobs with Miami and San Francisco this winter, is proud of Kubiak’s achievement. They became close while Kubiak worked as his offensive coordinator.
“Anytime you go into a situationwhere a team haswon and they expect you towin and get back to a Super Bowl, it’s very hard to do that. Gary has met the challenge,” Shanahan said. “And you can seewhy his leadership skills have given them the ability to get back to the Super Bowl. I knowGary as well as anybody— he’s not happywith just getting there. Hewants to win it.”
There’s nobody in the NFL like Carolina quarterback CamNewton. So said Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Newton features a special skill set. He is capable of throwing out of the pocket, but is featured regularly in the run game. The latter is the hardest part to duplicate in practice. Denver QBs Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian have been simulatingNewton on the scout team.
“He’s one of a kind,” Osweiler said of the former Heisman Trophy winner.
“I have done my best,” Siemian said. “You are not going to do too good a job of impersonating him. He’s such a dynamic athlete.”
Safeties Darian Stewart ( knee) and T. J. Ward ( ankle) and guard Louis Vasquez ( knee) didn’t practice Friday. Vasquez intended to, but he was held out from working on the artificial turf when the team went inside Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse because of the wind. All are expected to be ready for the Super Bowl. Vasquez remains in a three- man rotation at guard with Evan Mathis and rookie Max Garcia, a concession to his knee injury.
Denver players appreciate the differences in how this Super Bowl has been handled. Players on injured reserve will fly on the team charter Sunday, same as everyone else, and were included in the team picture. Two years ago, the injured players arrived late in the week of the game. “It shows the true team aspect. Everybody has contributed,” said cornerback Chris Harris, who missed the Super Bowl two years ago because of an injury. “Look at a guy like ( offensive tackle Ryan) Clady. He has missed both Super Bowls ( with injuries). I definitely know this means a lot for him.” ... Phillips has downplayed his role in the team’s success, even as his players praise him. “I am just riding the train, clanging the bell,” Phillips said.