5 things Gary Kubiak will do differently than Kevin Stefanski

(Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Kevin Stefanski and Gary Kubiak
(Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Kevin Stefanski and Gary Kubiak /
3 of 6
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images) Mike Zimmer and Kevin Stefanski /

Minnesota’s offensive line will be more competent in 2020

Just as the defensive secondary is a Mike Zimmer niche, a sturdy offensive line is a Gary Kubiak trademark.

Again, Kevin Stefanski did not coordinate a “bad” offensive line in 2019, but it was pretty average and the unit collapsed in some pivotal moments. There’s no verifiable safeguard from that happening again, but Kubiak has a documented track record of offensive line success.

First of all, Kubiak prefers a zone-blocking scheme and frequent quarterback rollouts. The inherent design of these strategies is to create space and hence reduce pressure. This is how the 2019 Vikings had very few sacks allowed, 25, which was (believe it or not) fifth-best in the NFL. Get the quarterback on the run and reduce the number of sacks. Quarterback rollouts are deodorant for a suspect offensive line.

From 1995 to 2005 with the Broncos, Kubiak was the skipper for the team’s offense. John Elway wasn’t exactly Captain Nimble. Nevertheless, throughout those 11 seasons, Denver allowed the fifth-fewest sacks in the business. Kubiak then joined Houston for eight seasons as the head coach of the Texans. With Houston, the Texans allowed the eighth-fewest sacks from 2006 to 2013.

His good fortune in offensive line cultivation is not limited to protecting the quarterback. Kubiak has been afforded some degree of control over an offense in his 22 NFL seasons (in the capacity as an offensive coordinator or head coach). In 14 of those seasons, his team has finished in the top 10 of rushing yards. That is 63 percent of his pro football life that he’s done this. It’s not a coincidence for fluke deal–it’s gospel.

Stefanski may very well develop into an offensive line aficionado, but Kubiak already is one.