Since his arrival in Denver, rookie special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes has been a gun on the podium. The 45-year-old was a longtime assistant in a multitude of NFL positions and was a coach in the former NFL Europe and Arena Football League professional football leagues.
Stukes was an assistant special teams coach for the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 and won a championship after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, in Super Bowl LVI. His reputation for production and attention to intricate detail 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 Los Angeles to the Mile High City.
“We all know just by looking on the field who those guys are,” Stukes said Tuesday at the UCHealth Training Center when asked about emerging leaders on special teams.
“They are 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 have adopted it too: ‘I see better than I hear’. It’s more about action rather than just talking about what you’re going to do. How about trying it out in a field? I’m on that now. I want to see what the guys on the field can do to help us grow as a team. Do 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 managerial titles this season.
One aspect of his special teams unit where Stukes has the edge is veteran kicker Brandon McManus. McManus is the only remaining player on the Super Bowl 50 champions roster and chose bypass voluntary OTAs this off season. 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 prepared. He comes concentrated. He brings leadership qualities, like he’s the leader of the specialists,” Stukes said Tuesday at the UCHealth Training Center.
“Speak to young people. She talks to Sam (Martin); she also helps Sam with the mechanics of clearing him. He helps Corliss (Waitman) with his clearance mechanics. Brandon wants to be involved in everything. He will also help (long snapper) Jacob (Bobenmoyer) with snapping him. Brandon, it’s everything I thought it would be, or everything we thought it would be, me and Coach ‘Mal’ (special teams assistant coach Mike Mallory). He has done a great job. He has done a great job, really.”
Although he is a first-time coordinator, Stukes has always explained his philosophy of responsibility and hard, laborious work. He has been quick to congratulate players like wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland and returning rookie Montrell Washington. Stukes’ charisma is authentic, and his cheerful demeanor and demeanor suggest that he is a direct and fearless trainer.
After all, Stukes is an extended branch of the McVay/Shanahan tree, two trainers well known for those attributes.