ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On New Year’s Day, just one day after the Denver Broncos had concluded their 5-11 trek through the 2017 season, John Elway told the social media world, “Our 2018 season starts today."
To that end, the Broncos got one of their offseason wishes, which is a work week at the Senior Bowl for the team's coaching staff. For the first time since 1989, the Broncos will handle coaching duties for one of the teams at the college all-star game, which features many of the best senior prospects in the 2018 draft.
The Broncos will coach the North team, which usually includes players from the Big Ten and Pac-12, among other leagues. The Houston Texans staff will coach the South team, which usually includes players from the Big 12, ACC, SEC and other leagues. However, players are moved around at times if there aren't enough from a given conference or geographical location to fill out a position group. So until Senior Bowl officials release the two rosters -- expected to happen Jan. 17 -- it won't be known which team some prominent players will play for. That includes the marquee player in this year’s game, Heisman Trophy-winner Baker Mayfield.
The Oklahoma quarterback accepted an invitation to play in the game in recent weeks.
In a statement, Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway said: “We jumped at the opportunity for the Broncos to work the Senior Bowl. On both the coaching and personnel sides, the experience gives us a chance to meet these prospects and get to know them on and off the field. The Senior Bowl has a great tradition, and we are excited to be a part of it."
Since taking his current job in 2011, Elway has consistently attended Senior Bowl practices, and the Broncos’ draft classes in those years have often included players the team met with during Senior Bowl week. The collegiate teams will practice Jan. 23-25, and the game will be played Jan. 27 in Mobile, Alabama.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph may have to adjust how he has the staff handle duties during practices, given that he fired six assistant coaches. The Broncos are looking for a quarterbacks coach, a running backs coach, a wide receivers coach, an offensive line coach, a special-teams coordinator, an assistant defensive backs coach and a linebackers coach.
The Broncos do have coaches still on the staff who could handle practices for the offensive line, quarterbacks, defensive backs and linebackers. They would have to adjust to work with special teams, wide receivers and running backs if they do not fill those positions before they go to Mobile.
Coaches also often interview candidates for coaching jobs at the Senior Bowl. Joseph worked the Senior Bowl three times when he was an assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers.