When Denver’s interim head coach Jerry Rosburg spoke to the media for the first time on December 29, Rosburg mentioned that he was the one who fired Stukes.
“The changes on the staff that we’ve made have been my decisions. I know special teams. I’ve been coaching special teams for a long time. We weren’t good enough. We were 32nd in the league in one of the metrics that I follow, and, if I’m not mistaken, there’s 32 teams in this league. That had to change and the only way it was going to change was for me to insert myself right into the middle of that thing.”
It was clear back on September 29, that Stukes didn’t want Rosburg getting involved with the special teams unit.
After firing Stukes, Rosburg made his presence felt being in the special teams meetings.
Newly promoted special-teams assistant Mike Mallory still ran the meeting, but Rosburg was still around.
“Jerry definitely had some input,” Singleton said. “It was really both of them communicating together.”
Broncos’ Special Teams Struggles in 2022
Stukes was brought in to be part of Hackett’s staff and had a bigger influence on the roster than people realized.
Entering training camp, the Broncos brought in punter Corliss Waitman to compete with veteran punter Sam Martin who had been with the team for the previous two seasons. Stukes ultimately made the final decision to keep Waitman over Martin.
This season, Waitman ranks 22nd in gross average punt yards at 46.2 while Martin ranks 13th at 48.1 yards.
The field goal kicking has also been horrific for Denver.
Kicker Brandon McManus is having the worst season of his career by missing a total of 10 kicks and has made just 76.5% of his field goals this season.
In his second year as a special teams coordinator, Stukes’ return game has not been effective either. Denver ranked dead last in the NFL in kickoff return average of just 17.4 yards per return with their longest return being the NFL’s second-lowest 29 yards.
The Broncos punt return game has not been well either. Denver has averaged just 8.5 yards per punt return.
Who Is Rosburg?
Starting with the Cleveland Browns in 2001 as the special teams coordinator, Rosburg has become one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NFL. After spending a year in Atlanta with the Falcons in 2007, the 66-year-old was named the special teams coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens from 2008-2018.
According to Mike Klis of 9News in Denver, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh promoted Rosburg to assistant head coach in 2009. Harbaugh, being a former special teams coordinator himself, knew that he found himself a gem.
Baltimore would go on and win the Super Bowl of 2013, after beating Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady in the playoffs before beating the San Francisco 49ers.
In March of 2019, Rosburg announced his retirement from coaching, but after three years into retirement, Rosburg is back and employed by the Broncos and will be in the box Sunday night coaching against the 49ers.