Both the Broncos and the Chargers know what it is like to have the next man up mentality.
The Chargers have a litany of injuries on both sides of the ball and the Broncos are missing a few key players as well. They will also be without their Head Coach Gary Kubiak who is dealing with a complex migraine condition. Stepping up in his place is Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis.
DeCamillis has been coaching in the NFL for 28 seasons and became the Special Teams Coordinator for the Broncos two years ago, the same year Kubiak became the head coach. He has a few people on the staff to give him advice on being the interim head coach as both Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and running backs coach Eric Studesville have served in that role before. DeCamillis has already consulted with Phillips about his new role and has called Phillips a "great resource." When asked about how much contact he would have with Gary Kubiak going into this week's game, DeCamillis said "At this point none; we really want to see Kub worry about Kub."
One reason the Broncos may have selected DeCamillis is due to having worked with both the offense and defense throughout the year. When asked if he thought that experience was helpful, he said, "Yea I think it is helpful, (the rest of the coaching staff and I) have already been in constant communication throughout the games that we have already played, for really the past two years so it has been good and will hopefully help me out going into this game."
The Broncos are also missing a few key pieces from the defense that propelled them to victory in last year's Super Bowl. Some are due to free agency such as Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan and others due to injury. When asked about it Von Miller's confidence in the team's ability to step up and fill the void was steadfast.
"The good thing about the National Football League is that you have the opportunity to go out there and perform. We have 16 chances to go out there and show what type of defense we can be, what type of team we have, (and) what type of guys we have in the locker room. You see it every single week, a starter goes down and the second-string guy comes out and he becomes a superstar; that can happen to any team on any given Sunday."
The Chargers have in fact exemplified Von Miller's sentiments on numerous occasions; two prime examples being that of Tyrell Williams and Jatavis Brown stepping up and filing in successfully when leaders on both sides of the ball have gone down. Williams is currently second on the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards while Brown leads the Chargers' defense in tackles. Another notable replacement has been rookie tight-end Hunter Henry who hauled in 12 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in the two games Antonio Gates missed due to injury.