There are seven new coaches in the
And the one offensive coach? His team faces the biggest offensive uncertainty of the bunch.
Gary Kubiak returns to Denver, where he once backed up Hall of Famer
It's a system in which the quarterback doesn't do much changing of plays at the line of scrimmage — Manning's specialty — and puts him under center, as opposed to back in the shotgun.
That puts the old-dogs-new-tricks theory to the test, as it's back to the drawing board for Manning, 39, who was on a most-valuable-player pace last season but cooled considerably when then-coach John Fox put renewed emphasis on running the ball.
Elway, the club's top football executive, said he went through a similar transition to Manning's late in his career with the Broncos, when it was no longer all about passing as he shared top billing with running back Terrell Davis. That resulted in Elway ending his career with back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
"You're just as valuable now at 38 or 39 as you were at 25," Elway said. "But your role changes, and what you can provide the team to make it better is what changes. Getting used to that adjustment sometimes can be difficult. But so far, so good with Peyton. He's buying in with what's going on, and understanding that."
Kubiak, the former
"We're going to do what he does best within that scheme," he said. "To be honest with you, that's not even a factor for me. It's been fun for the two of us to work together, and for him to say, 'I like doing these things under center, these formations, these types of things.' We're going to work on them, and I'm going to listen.
"There are going to be some things thrown out the window, and some things where it's like, 'Hey, I really like this. Let's do this more.' That's what we've been working on."
The other six new coaches have their share of hurdles too:
John Fox, Chicago
One of four new coaches who have been NFL head coaches elsewhere, Fox directed both Carolina and Denver to Super Bowls.
Chicago's third head coach since 2012, he replaces Marc Trestman, who went 13-19 in two seasons and was part of a late December housecleaning. The
Fox, who was fired by Denver, took offensive coordinator Adam Gase with him on the way out. Fox also hired Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator, the coach who drew up those schemes for San Francisco's most recent Super Bowl team.
A big challenge for the Bears' staff will be helping restore some pride to a defense that was once emblematic of the city.
"They have a lot to prove on defense in Year 1 under John Fox,"
Todd Bowles, N.Y.
Returning to the Jets was a homecoming for Bowles, who began his NFL coaching career there in 2000 as the defensive backs coach. His odyssey then took him to Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia and Arizona. In three of those stops, he worked under Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells.
Whereas most new coaches are given some leeway to turn around a team, Bowles is facing some lofty expectations. Yes, the Jets are coming off a 4-12 debacle, but they have a seasoned roster and, according to ESPN, the highest cash payroll in the league.
Then again, the Jets also are missing their would-be starting quarterback.
Bowles ran a more demanding training camp than his predecessor,
"It's been about getting this team out of its bad ways and setting the pace for this team to be where it needs to be, and what we expect us to be," guard
Added Colon: "I like Bowles from the standpoint that he knows football. He came from a good football bloodline. You can feel it. You see it. People walk different when they're around him, and it feels good. It's just right."
Dan Quinn, Atlanta
Like Jacksonville's Gus Bradley before him, Quinn parlayed his job as Seattle's defensive coordinator into one as a head coach elsewhere. The
In 2014, Quinn's defense gave up a league-low 15.9 points per game. The Seahawks also yielded the fewest yards and yards passing, and were third against the run.
It's so far, so good for Quinn — at least in the eyes of Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
"I think you can see the energy of the coaches transmitting to the player," Blank told reporters recently. "That's exactly what we hoped for and that's exactly what we're seeing."
A former head coach in Jacksonville, Del Rio was most recently defensive coordinator in Denver. In his three seasons with the Broncos, his defense was ranked first in the
He takes over a team with a excellent young quarterback in Derek Carr, a solid receiving corps that includes first-round picks
"Jack Del Rio is the right coach for them," former Raiders coach
"He's going to make them legitimate. They lived on the myth that the Raiders are tough and all that for a long time, when they weren't. Jack sees through that myth."
Jim Tomsula, San Francisco
Since 2007, San Francisco's defense ranks second in the league in rushing yards allowed (3.72). In 2011, the team set an NFL record by not allowing a rushing touchdown in the first 14 games of the season. Tomsula's line was a big part of that.
These are the new-look 49ers, however, with all sorts of defensive standouts no longer on the roster. Gone are defensive leaders
"I'm not sure I've ever been around a guy that loves the game as much as he does," tackle
Rex Ryan, Buffalo
If they were looking for a splash, the
In each of his first two seasons with the Jets, Ryan led them to the AFC championship game. Before that, he spent 10 seasons molding the stellar defense of the Baltimore Ravens.
Ryan is a risk-taker, and that shows in the free agents he signed, among them guard
"He's got a magnetic personality," Bills General Manager Doug Whaley said of Ryan. "It's a breath of fresh air."