Ever since his arrival in Denver, rookie special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes has been a pistol at the podium. The 45-year-old was a longtime assistant in a multitude of positions in the NFL and coached in former professional football leagues NFL Europe and the Arena Football League.
Stukes was the Los Angeles Rams' assistant special teams coach in 2021 and won a championship after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, in Super Bowl LVI. His reputation for production and attention to the intricate details is what hooked second-year general manager George Paton during the hiring process last winter.
But perhaps a Super Bowl ring wasn’t the only thing the veteran assistant coach brought with him from L.A. to the Mile High City.
“We all know just by looking on the field who those guys are,” Stukes said Tuesday at UCHealth Training Center when asked about emerging leaders on special teams.
“They’re not necessarily vocal leaders all the time. They show it by action. I learned from a coach a long time ago—this is one of his favorite sayings, and I’ve adopted this also—‘I see better than I hear.’ It’s more about action instead of just talking about what you’re going to do. How about proving it on a field? That’s where I’m at right now. I want to see what guys can do on the field to help us grow as a team. You want me to tell you who told me that? (Rams HC) Sean McVay.”
Add Stukes’ name to the list of veteran assistant coaches who have been elevated to more prominent roles. The 2022 Broncos coaching staff consists of head coach Nathaniel Hackett, offensive coordinator Justin Outten, and defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. All three will debut their new coaching titles this season.
One aspect of his special teams unit that Stukes has the upper leg on, is veteran kicker Brandon McManus. McManus is the only remaining player from the Super Bowl 50 championship roster and chose to skip voluntary OTAs this offseason. The outspoken locker room leader and former special teams captain participated in the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp that ended Wednesday.
“Brandon is a professional. He comes in prepared. He comes in focused. He brings leadership qualities, like he’s the leader of the specialists,” Stukes said Tuesday at the UCHealth Training Center.
“He talks to the young guys. He talks to Sam (Martin); he helps Sam with his punting mechanics as well. He helps Corliss (Waitman) with his punting mechanics. Brandon wants to have a hand in everything. He’s going to help (Long snapper) Jacob (Bobenmoyer) with his snapping as well. Brandon, he’s everything I thought he would be—or everything we thought he would be, myself and Coach ‘Mal’ (Assistant Special Teams Coach Mike Mallory). He’s done a great job. He’s done a great job, really.”
Although he’s a first-time coordinator, Stukes has consistently explained his philosophy of accountability and laborious hard work. He’s been quick to compliment players such as receiver Tyrie Cleveland and rookie returner Montrell Washington. Stukes’ charisma is authentic, and his chippy attitude and demeanor suggest that he’s a direct and bold coach.
After all, Stukes is an extended branch of the McVay/Shanahan tree — two coaches well known for those attributes.
Follow Luke on Twitter @LukePattersonLP.
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