Plenty of virtual ink will be spilled in the coming days discussing Denver's hiring of Gary Kubiak. We'll do our best to keep up.
Jeff Legwold, ESPN:
Manning and Kubiak are both smart, savvy and experienced enough to handle through Manning's return if it happens, but it will take concessions from both to make it work. As former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer put it: "They know what they're doing, they've both been doing it a long time and Kubes played quarterback. If they want to get it done, they'll get it done."
Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun:
Kubiak was extremely happy in Baltimore and was planning on living in the area year-round with his wife, Rhonda. He clicked with Flacco, who flourished in Kubiak's offense, which called for the quarterback to get rid of the ball quicker and use his legs more. The Ravens' running game also was revitalized in Kubiak's zone-blocking schemes.
Those close to Kubiak said he was energized just being able to focus on leading the offense and calling plays after spending the previous eight seasons as the Texans' head coach and dealing with all that entails. But his ties to the Broncos' organization and his desire to be a head coach again proved too much for the Ravens to overcome.
John McClain, Houston Chronicle:
In 2012, Manning wanted to play for the Texans, but Kubiak was loyal to Matt Schaub, who was coming off foot surgery. Owner Bob McNair said if Manning hadn’t been coming off multiple operations on his neck, the Texans would have been interested.
Kubiak took over a 2-14 team with little talent, and the Texans finished 6-10 and 8-8 in their first two seasons. After another 8-8 season in 2008 and a 9-7 finish in 2009, the Texans plummeted to 6-10 – the first of his two bad seasons with the Texans.
Rather than fire Kubiak as fans and media demanded, the Texans hired Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator. They had 10-6 and 12-4 records the next two seasons, winning the AFC South and a wild-card playoff game each year before they were eliminated on the road by Baltimore and New England.
Kubiak’s worst season was 2013 when injuries and ineptness forced him to play three quarterbacks. He was fired after an 11th consecutive defeat, finishing with a 2-11 record. Phillips was named interim coach, and the Texans lost their last three games.
Jared Dubin, CBS:
You're likely familiar with the zone running scheme, even if you don't know it. The foundation of the zone run game relies on three plays: inside zone, outside zone and stretch. Think of Davis or Foster running east to west, then planting their foot in the ground, making one cut and taking off down the field. Picture Portis searching for a hole between the guard and tackle before knifing through the seam. It's not difficult at all to picture C.J. Anderson having great success in Kubiak's offense.
The stretch play, of course, is a staple of the offenses that Peyton Manning has run throughout his career. Everyone's seen him reach his hand out far away from his body to give the ball off to Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Knowshon Moreno and others. But the Manning offense is a delicate ecosystem; he's nearly always functioned as a de facto offensive coordinator, and of course, that's Kubiak's calling card as well. It will be interesting to see how Manning meshes with a coach who also has such a clearly defined offensive system, provided he comes back for another season.
Spilly, Kissing Suzy Kolber:
To seal the deal, John Elway met with his former OC and backup quarterback in Houston for a romantic weekend of what I’m assuming was reliving old times (Hey, remember Bubby Brister? We got him a ring!) and hate-watching the Colts game. Now, with the deal now done, challenges ahead of them include figuring out how to keep four hundred and thirty seven free agents from scattering around the league and leaving creepy yet scrumptious gift baskets at Peyton Manning’s house to persuade him to give it JUST ONE MORE YEAR.