Interim head coach Jerry Rosburg talks first game in charge, hope for closing season on high note: “Winning is its own reward”


Jerry Rosburg has been coaching football since 1979 and coaching in the NFL since 2001.

Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, he walked onto the field as a head coach for the first time.

“You never really know until you get there, right? That’s true of any new endeavor,” Rosburg said Monday. “When I walked out there after all the things I had to do in the locker room … when my son and I walked out onto the field, it was, ‘Wow. There it is.’ It was a great feeling. It was a humbling moment, great gratitude that I could walk out there and feel what that was like.”

Any awe, though, didn’t last long.

“During the game, I was coaching football,” he said. “During the game, I felt completely into the game and relaxed. Somebody asked me if I was nervous, during the game I was coaching just like I was coaching before. I just had more on my plate. …

“Overall, I felt like I was where I belonged.”

One day later, he provided a frank assessment of his own performance. He thought in retrospect he should have taken a timeout one play after an eight-yard completion to Courtland Sutton late in the first half. The next play was an 11-yard completion to Sutton but, attempting to preserve the final timeout, the Broncos went hurry-up and quarterback Russell Wilson was strip-sacked, ending a chance to get points before halftime.

Rosburg knows the data — he spent the previous 15 weeks as a game management assistant — and said it was basically a toss-up whether to call a timeout.

“It may be by the book, it may not be,” he said of the timeout sequence. “There’s different ways of looking at that book. … As best I could discern, the second timeout I took I think could have been better utilized at the end of the next play because we were in such close proximity to the hash.”

Rosburg described taking a timeout despite the fact that Sutton was so close to the left hash mark — where the ball would be spotted — that the Broncos could have gotten the next play off quickly. Then, on the next play Sutton was tackled not far from the right hash, but Chiefs defenders did a smart job of holding him up and preventing him from spotting the ball.

“They were grabbing guys and holding up guys like most NFL defenses are wise to do,” Rosburg said. “We didn’t get on the ball as quickly as I’d have liked and then the (strip sack) happened.”

Now the Broncos have just one week left in the 2022 season. They’re 4-12 overall and 0-5 in the division. They’ve lost nine straight games against AFC West opponents and haven’t logged a divisional win since Nov. 28, 2021, against the Chargers.

“It would have been nice to take care of this one and then move into next week and take care of that one, too, both divisional games,” Sutton said after Sunday’s loss.

Rosburg on Monday said there is “so much to play for” for the Broncos, even if that’s only the difference between 4-13 and 5-12.

“They rallied for them and they rallied for those fans,” Rosburg said of the spirited effort against Kansas City. “These players and coaches have so much more invested than me. I was sitting on my dock drinking coffee (in September). It wasn’t about me and it’s not going to be about me this week. I want those players to come off the field and hug each other and laugh. I want them to go out in the parking lot with their families and their wives are happy and children are happy. I want the fans to drive away from the stadium and they’re cheering them rather than giving them the raspberry.

“We’re going to go out there and play with passion, hopefully better than we played (Sunday) and hopefully we get in the locker room and we celebrate. That’s what I’m looking for.”


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