Kuper on 2011: ‘We want to win’ (Football)

January 20, 2011

Chris Kuper

Arguably the best day of the NFL season is Sunday with back-to-back conference championship games, and Denver Broncos offensive lineman Chris Kuper of Anchorage will be glued to the TV just like the rest of us.

“I just watch the games like a fan,” Kuper told me.

Next season, though, he hopes to be on the field. Kuper, of Dimond High fame, hasn’t experienced a playoff game in his five seasons with the Broncos.

But that could change next season with the hiring of John Fox, a veteran NFL coach with a track record for turning teams from joke to juggernaut. He led the Carolina Panthers to the 2004 Super Bowl two years after inheriting a 1-15 team.

“I’m happy to have a coach with his experience,” Kuper said.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Alaskan followed the coaching search closely.

“I was in Denver the whole time, so it was on the news and in the papers every day,” he said.

A change in coaches means a change in philosophy.

“It leaves a lot of things up in the air,” he said. “There will be personal changes and scheme changes. So it is nothing that I haven’t experienced but it is a tough time for everyone involved but also exciting.

“We want to win games.”

Fox will be Kuper’s third coach in five seasons. Mike Shanahan was the first and Josh McDaniels, who was fired last month following a 4-12 season.

“It was very disappointing,” Kuper said. “We would like to put that one behind us and get going on this upcoming season.”

Kuper, a former All-American out of the University of North Dakota, has started 57 of 63 career games.

He entered this season having allowed just six sacks, highlighted by the 2008 season when he was the NFL’s only 16-game starting guard to not allow a sack.

That’s good news for the quarterback, whether it be Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton.

By the way, how different is it blocking for one verses the other?

“The biggest difference would be that Tebow is left handed and that puts me on the blind side,” Kuper said, “so he doesn’t necessarily see the rush coming from the right.”

Luckily for him, though, he doesn’t have to worry about that right now. His only concern is vacation plans.

“My whole family is taking a trip to Maui,” he said. “I will probably come back home to do some fishing this summer for sure.”