COACHING STAFF COULD CHANGE
There may be changes coming to the Broncos’ coaching staff after this season, due in part to a struggling offense that led to the team’s first nonplayoff season since 2010.
Head coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, meanwhile, have to make decisions on whether they want to return in 2017.
“I love this league. I love the Broncos. I love this work. I’m all in on (Sunday’s season finale against) the Raiders right now,” Kubiak said Friday. “There will be time for reflection and all of that stuff next week.”
Kubiak’s future bears watching mostly because of his health. He was hospitalized overnight after the Broncos’ loss to Atlanta in October and was diagnosed with a complex migraine that caused extreme fatigue and body weakness. Kubiak rested for a week at home while special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis took over as Denver’s interim coach.
In 2013, as the Texans’ head coach, Kubiak collapsed on the field at halftime of a game with what was later diagnosed as a mini-stroke. He missed a week of work after that episode.
Phillips’ two-year contract expires after this season. Phillips’ defense was the catalyst for the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 victory last season and has played at a high level this season.
“We think the world of Wade,” Kubiak said. “Everybody knows the job that Wade has done. (Contracts) are things that will be addressed after we get through this week. But Wade’s a tremendous person and a tremendous football coach.”
Phillips, 69, is a 39-year NFL coaching veteran in his second stint on the Denver staff. He hasn’t said that he wants to retire. Denver’s defense wants and expects Phillips back in 2017.
Phillips received the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award, a lifetime achievement salute as an NFL assistant coach, from the Pro Football Writers of America this year.
The Broncos ruled out defensive end Derek Wolfe (neck), safety T.J. Ward (concussion) and tight end A.J. Derby (concussion) for Sunday’s game against the Raiders. Linebacker Brandon Marshall (hamstring) is listed as questionable.
Those absences will set up bigger roles for the Broncos’ young players — including safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks, defensive end Adam Gotsis and tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Henry Krieger-Coble.
Marshall hasn’t run full speed much this week. Corey Nelson would get his fourth consecutive start if Marshall can’t play.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian will get a start, but Kubiak anticipates Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch each playing one half.
Veteran linebacker DeMarcus Ware had surgery Friday to repair the ruptured disc in his back. … The Eagles promoted former Denver practice squad running back Terrell Watson to their 53-man roster.