What did you see from the first joint practice yesterday?
“I thought it was a good day’s work. I think both sides, you get out of these things, particularly when you have a great partner to work with, there’s so much that you get out of this work. You get to see different looks. Now, the one thing with this team is we’re both seeing the same offense, but the defensive looks, that’s invaluable for our guys. It’s also great to watch your players when the competitive juice comes up a little because you’re playing against someone else and get to see, much like a game, how some guys can handle it in practice and you take the next step up. This is still practice, but it’s going against someone else. Some guys handle it really well, some guys take a step back. That’s all part of the evaluation. But, I think it was good, solid work. I thought the coaches did a tremendous job of letting our guys know, I think [Denver Broncos head coach] Vic [Fangio] even said to his guys, ‘Hey, these are our teammates for the next couple days,’ and [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] reiterated it. That doesn’t mean that you’re not competing your tail off, but it means let’s respect each other. I felt like the guys did a real good job of that.”
Were you able to spend much time with Denver Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway yesterday and what kind of resource was he for you when you got into the business?
“Yeah, I was able to spend time with John and [Denver Broncos director of player personnel] Matt Russell, and all these guys. John was a tremendous resource. He’s a good friend and we’ve got a lot of parallels from where we went to school, two-sport players, and I used to try to walk pigeon toed so I’d be more like him and all of those things. Now to call him a friend, I think the little bit of time in an offseason when he had me come in here was very integral in my motivation to do this and saying, ‘Hey, this might be something that someday I’d like to do.’ He’s been a tremendous resource. I have great respect and admiration for him and everything he’s done.”
Any Broncos jump out at you as you watched the tape yesterday?
“That 58 [Denver Broncos OLB Von Miller] was alright. He’s quite a player. They’ve got a nice roster, so I think there’s reason to be excited. I think Vic’s doing a tremendous job of running a tough camp. They’ve got some players on that roster and I think it’s going to be a good football team, I really do.”
What do you think of Vic and his 60-year-old first time as a head coach?
“I think it’s probably long overdue that he got his shot. I’ve long respected his style. I remember being in a production meeting with him when he was with the Niners and one of the things I love about him, there’s some old school. I remember saying, ‘Hey, you just came from Stanford. I know you’ve been in the league, but you’ve got [former 49ers LB] Pat Willis and [former 49ers LB] Navarro Bowman.’ He said, ‘eh, they’re alright.’ His point was, and I talked to him later, there’s a few great players, and if we use great all the time, I think it’s the way he looks at things. He doesn’t get too blown away. He believes in sound football and his teams play that way and they have over the years and they’ve also made a ton of plays. I think he deserves this opportunity. I’m thrilled to see him have it.”
What did you learn about Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello in his time in San Francisco and did you expect him to be pretty solid after as a coordinator?
“Yeah, I think I was telling someone yesterday, I think the time that I probably, where I saw Scangs kind of show us what he had was when we traded for [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo]. He had other quarterbacks that he was preparing to play and building the game plan each week, but he also had this job of getting a quarterback who we had invested a lot in up to speed in a completely different offense, a lot of verbiage where they didn’t have that in New England. And so, just to watch his work ethic and the effectiveness with which he did that and got Jimmy to a point where we could stick him in and play him. I think he impressed the heck out of me there. I think his story, everything from basically volunteering in Atlanta, sleeping on couches and all those things to going off to Wagoner College because he wanted to call plays. All those things impressed me, and I think he’s deserving of the opportunity. I think he’ll do really well.”
You have nice facilities like this across the league now as opposed to when you were playing the game, it was a little bit bare. What do you think of the challenges, even though it’s nice to have these luxury places, what are the challenges of camp nowadays?
“It’s a little different than, [Denver Broncos executive vice president of public and community relations] Patrick [Smyth] can attest, at old One Buc Place where we had coaches in closets and things. I think these players have every resource available to them, and it’s what they want to do with it. They have great things, but nice facilities don’t win games. They may help you bring a free agent in or something like that and they’re sure nice, but that’s not what wins and loses games. It’s still what’s done on those lines, and those fields still look very similar to when I was here, so I think that will never change.”
Have you gotten a chance to connect with former Denver Broncos CB Champ Bailey at all since his induction?
“Yeah, we’ve talked a lot. Just extremely proud of Champ and the way he handled himself. That was a no brainer in my mind and he’s a first ballot. Played with a lot of great players, but there’s a few, the [former NFL DL] Warren Sapp’s, the Champ Bailey’s, the [former NFL LB] Derrick Brooks’, the [former NFL CB] Ronde Barber’s, that kind of were up there and just different. He was one of those. Had so much respect once I was around him, because you knew how athletic he was, but the way he prepared himself each week, and he did so quietly, but I learned a lot from him. Hopefully, he learned something from me.”
Were you taken aback by your banner up there?
“Yeah, I had not seen that, so that was pretty cool. That was cool.”
How about the facilities around here?
“They’ve done such a great job. One thing that I saw with Mr. B [former Broncos owner Pat Bowlen] when I was here, which I always appreciated, was every year, there were a couple of projects going on and I think when you do that, the place never gets to, ‘We’ve got to completely redo it.’ This is an example, and I haven’t had a chance to go inside yet, but I’m looking forward to going and seeing the new stuff in there. They’ve done a tremendous job here and gives me a lot to go home and talk to [CEO] Jed [York] about.”