Former Broncos WR joined the 49ers coaching staff this year. (Photo: NinersNation)
The Broncos are 49ers may be the closest things to brother-like franchises in the NFL, and maybe all of sports. Yes Stan Kroenke and his son Josh own and run the Rams in L.A., and obviously the Nuggets, Avs, Rapids and Mammoth, but they don't cross-over with the Broncos the way San Francisco does.
Both franchises have legendary, Hall of Fame, owners in Pat Bowlen and Eddie DeBartolo.
Both franchises have legendary, Hall of Fame, quarterbacks, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Kyle Shanahan grew up in Denver, because his Dad, Mike was winning Super Bowls as the Coach of the Broncos. Mike, won a Super Bowl as the Offensive Coordinator with San Fran, before taking the Broncos job.
49ers GM and Broncos Ring-of-Famer, John Lynch is great friends with Broncos President of Football Operation and GM, the aforementioned, John Elway.
Rich Scangarello, the Broncos new offensive coordinator, was the QBs Coach in San Francisco the last 2 years, and was with Kyle in 2015 in Atlanta as well. He basically runs Kyle's offense, and as he told us a few weeks ago, he talks to Mike Shanahan all the time, picks his brain about football, and this offense, and has meals with him frequently.
Wes Welker, who helped the Broncos and Manning engineer the most productive offense in NFL history, joined the 49ers as their Wide Receivers Coach this year.
You get the point, there's a lot of overlap. I could also mention former Broncos Defensive Coordinator, Joe Woods, who's coaching the SF secondary this year, and Broncos linebacker Dekoda Watson, spent the last 2 years playing in the bay area for the 9ers, and was with Denver in 2016. Oh, and by the way, Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio coordinated the San Francisco defense for 4 years from 2011-2014. Again, it's pretty obvious, these franchises are pretty well intertwined.
So, it's understandable that the 2 teams would get together, as they have multiple times in recent years, including in 2016 and 2017 for some extra work in front of a pre-season game.
As expected, these joint practices are welcomed, especially at this time of year.
Broncos defensive end, Derek Wolfe, often says he loves hitting people. Thus, he's happy to welcome in the 49ers. "It definitely gets to be a grind when you’re just going against the same person every day," he said. It will be nice to get a new body out here to work my craft against and to see where we’re at against another team."
Broncos President of Football Operations, John Elway and 49ers GM, John Lynch. (Photo: 49ers.com)
Vic Fanigo has put his stamp on this training camp, and this organization, even in a short time. He changed the practice jerseys to game jerseys, because it reduces grabbing and holding. He doesn't like to practice things that aren't "game-like" and among the little tweaks he's made, he eliminated music from practice. The music, dates back to the Josh McDaniels era and continued through John Fox, Gary Kubiak, and Vance Joseph.
Fangio was asked Thursday about the mechanics of the joint practices. Would there be full pads both days? Would their be music? Would he be open into using the 49ers DJ? His answers were no surprise.
I've said all week that I think Saturday's practice would be in shells, because of fights that often break out in the first day different teams get together in a training camp practice. We'll see if the Broncos heed the words of their Head Coach. "We’re not here to fight or anything like that," Fangio said. And I asked him if he planned to address fighting with his team, in order to curb that sort of thing, and he answered succinctly, "Yeah, I already have!"
Pro Bowl Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said there's real value in these joint practices.
As far as the idea of fighting with San Francisco, Harris didn't seem to have much interest. "Nah, why would we fight the 49ers (laughs). I don’t know anybody really on their team." So, I asked if he'd talk trash to their wideouts coach, and he needed to be reminded that Welker was coaching their pass catchers. "(is) Welker there? I know they got Wes Welker, Joe Woods, I'm gonna holler at them."