ENGLEWOOD, Colorado— The Broncos’ first preseason game is just days away, and the game against the Cowboys may be just as important for Denver’s coaching staff as it is for players looking to make an impression.
Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and offensive coordinator Justin Outten will each coach their first games in their new roles, and Evero will take on calling duties for the first time.
“It’s really important,” Evero said of the game. “Not just this weekend, but all the preparation for the week. For me, it’s about building the call sheets and our operation throughout the week and how we want to progress through that. Then a time we come to the weekend, [it’s about] what we do on game day – our mechanics off the pitch and on the pitch, in the box and all those things. It’s definitely good practice.”
Evero acknowledged the vantage point the coaches’ stand offers a play caller, but said he would call plays from the sidelines.
“I really want to be out there with the guys,” Evero said. “I want to be emotionally connected to them.”
Outten, meanwhile, will be in the coaching box as Nathaniel Hackett’s “eyes in the sky.” The Broncos head coach will call plays from field level, but he’ll rely on Outten for a different perspective.
“Hackett used to play with us in Green Bay when it was minus five. [degrees]drinking hot chocolate,” Outten joked. “I hope to get that opportunity one day, but I’ll be upstairs and I’ll be Hackett’s eyes.
Game results may not matter, but Evero and Outten will do valuable work when the Cowboys visit this weekend.
As Evero calls games into a gaming setting for the first time, it looks like it will be without at least a few of its best players.
When asked what he needed to see from players like Justin Simmons, Pat Surtain II and Bradley Chubb, Evero just smiled.
“Some guys have already shown what they can do, and we’re very happy with what they can do and where they are,” Evero said.
Translation: You may not see many star Broncos defensemen in preseason action.
Rookie Montrell Washington has seen his role on offense increase in recent days, but special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes believes the added responsibility could actually help him as a returner.
“I think I see more confidence,” Stukes said. “You don’t see the guy that came in the first week or every time we drafted him as a rookie. He’s also starting to mature a little bit more. All of these catches he’s making on offense are great for him in special teams, but we still have to see what he can do on Saturday as a returner.”
Washington is expected to get its first live opportunity Saturday against the Cowboys.
“We recruited him to be our revenant – there’s no secret there either,” Stukes said. “But he has to earn the job. The fact that he is making attacking plays can only help him on special teams. Again, we have to see what he does on Saturday when it comes to live ball. We haven’t had a live tackle period, so we want to see if he can make contact. We want to see his balance, we want to see him burst, explode and make plays. All of that is going to help him.