Broncos' Jack Del Rio: Coaching 'book' has changed


JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- It was delightful Thursday morning aboard the Cornucopia Majesty. My luggage finally arrived, the sun was shining, the infernal wind subsided, it was a balmy 21 degrees and the Denver Broncos were noticeably loose after Wednesday's full-pads practice.

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Peyton Manning was especially jovial. Linebackers Nate Irving and Danny Trevathan were clowning on each other in front of the assembled media. The coaches were insightful in their sit-down sessions with reporters.

I enjoyed my chat with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, formerly the head coach of the Jaguars.

Much like Carolina Panthers coach Riverboat Ron Rivera, Del Rio became known for aggressive fourth-down gambles that belied his reputation as a buttoned-up, conservative defensive mind.

Both coaches have dismissed the old-school coach's concept of "playing it by the book."

"I think the book has changed," Del Rio told Around The League. "The old book, you would always punt. I can't speak for Ron. I know in our situation, looking at the probability tables, it gave our team the best chance to win -- win those situations and win the game."

Del Rio emphasized that his priority was putting his team in the best position to win regardless of the second-guessing from media and fans used to seeing a more formulaic approach.

"The hard part is before it becomes accepted or popular or something celebrated is that as a coach, you're getting ripped for it," Del Rio explained, "even though the probability tables show that clearly it's the smart thing to do. It wasn't part of the old book."

Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano could learn a thing or two from those probability tables.

Del Rio made it clear this week that he wants another shot at a head-coaching gig. After hearing him hold forth on a variety of topics Thursday, I hope he gets the opportunity in 2015.

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