The Tangerine Bowl: Dr. Rick Perea, P.H.D, DK2 Motivation/Denver Broncos


Over the past couple of days, I have gotten the chance to be at the Glazier Clinic, which is a football clinic held for coaches that are around the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. There are a lot of great speakers that were there including Craig Johnson the RB coach for the NY Giants, Mike Bobo the head coach for Colorado State, and more importantly for you guys, Dr. Rick Perea, who does most of his counseling work for the Denver Broncos. He is a great guy, enthusiastic, and he is the kind of guys that wakes up everyday thinking it will be the best day of his life. On top of that, he is incredibly informed about the root of motivation in athletes and is an incredibly helpful resource for coaches of all levels.

When I saw his name on the list, I decided that this was something that I could not miss or skip so, I sat in on his talk. He had a lot of great points about motivation and had some insights as to how the Broncos won the Superbowl from a psychological and motivation standpoint. I now present to you some of the things he shared over the course of the talk. Keep in mind that even though most of these are direct quotes, I might have not gotten the whole thing in verbatim. So please take these as paraphrasings if nothing else. Enjoy.

The Discussion

On former coach Adam Gase:

Adam Gase is now the coach of the Miami Dolphins, as you maybe already aware. An older coach came into my office, you know in his early to mid fifties, and he asked me, “Doc, how is Gase getting the job?” A coach as old as he was couldn’t understand how he had trouble getting a job and Adam Gase found one. You know why Adam Gase found a job? It’s because he connects with the players.

On why the Broncos had a great defense:

Bill Kollar, the defensive line coach, completely stopped practice so he could talk about hand placement for five minutes. He didn’t give them more reps but instead, went over the process…. Derek Wolfe, a good linemen, had a career year and it was thanks to Bill Kollar…

On Wade Phillips:

It helped for him to take a year off. It was evident that he was having fun coaching football. Von Miller does his dances, Demarcus Ware kind of shakes his head while he’s doing it. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris talk smack back and forth and it you don’t know the relationship between Chris and Aqib, they talk smack at eachother all the time. And Wade just lets it go on and let it be. And when Von is doing his dances at practice, Wade will dance with him. Wade developed relationships with Von and the rest of the defense, and they wanted to play for him.

On a situation between an offensive tackle and another coach:

People think that because we won a championship, it was smooth. No, there were some bumps in the road. An offensive tackle came into my office one day. Without naming names, he came into my office and told me, “I am getting threatened to lose my job at halftime. He is threatening to cut me. Am I going to get cut?” Now is that positively reinforcing the player? [room sounds back, “No!”]

On Demarcus Ware’s transition to a leader:

The true MVP of the team is Demarcus Ware. In his 11th year, and believe me, once you get to your 11th year, players get set in their ways… he changed in the midseason. He came into my office after practice, and it wasn’t for anything bad or anything like that, it’s just part of the protocol. I told him,”You need to be a leader.” He said back to me, “I’m not that way, I have just always did my best and got out of the way.” I then told him,”You need to change… The team needs you… Make a shift.” And he did. Without his leadership at the end of the year, we wouldn’t have never won the Super Bowl….

On Demarcus Ware’s influence on Demaryius Thomas. Players are required to take another teammate on a trip during the offseason.

I get a text from Demarcus Ware. He says, “Doc, guess where I am at?” Then I get another text from him, “Me and DT are in South Africa.” And he did this for the sole purpose of building a relationship… He is trying to hand over the torch to DT, because he thinks he needs to become a leader. When DT was standing over on the sideline, Demarcus Ware noticed him [Asks for volunteer to stand in front of the room ‘Come here and be DT.”] And he would go over to him and nudge him [nudges volunteer] “Hey DT.” [nudges again] “DT” [nudges again] You gonna be great today? [nudges again] “Huh?”

On Adam Gase after Superbowl 48:

After Super Bowl 48, Adam Gase came into my office. He asked me, “Doc, what could we have done differently?” I told him, “Your coaches should have kept coaching process.” Players were looking at the bad snap on the first play of the drive. They weren’t focused on what they needed to do, they were dwelling on what already happened. Don’t teach outcome, teach the process.

On Demarcus Ware teaching Von Miller:

DWare learned martial arts in the offseason. He went to this guy and he brought Von with him so he could learn it. On the practice field, D Ware would go to Von, put his hand on his chest like this [puts hand out] and they would just practice martial arts for 20 minutes during practice. 20 minutes!

On Wade Phillips:

Wade didn’t raise his voice at the Broncos defense. Not once. You see some defensive coordinators that are going absolutely crazy on the sideline. But Wade didn’t raise his voice, he just said, “[this is where he spoke words very softly as he were Wade]”. He let those guys be who they are and they became intrinsically motivated because he let them be who they are. Wade did not control the defense this year. He let the players talk smack and dance. He rewarded the process not the outcome.

After coach asked question about Aqib Talib committing personal fouls:

What hurts Aqib makes him good too. His passion for the game is so large. If you met Aqib, you would love him and I do too. He is a good person with great qualities. The only problem is that he doesn’t regulate his anxiety [and it sometimes gets the better of him].

On Brock Osweiler (Edit to add context: Dr Perea also told coaches in the room that he will become a Pro-Bowl QB with or without the Broncos and said, “You watch” following that theory):

I had a great relationship with Brock Osweiler. From here to here [points from neck to top of head], he is in the top 5 quarterbacks that I have ever worked with. The difference will be if he can be positive when it comes to adversity. Because everywhere else, he is one of the best in here [points to head]………I will say this, Adam Gase helped him early in his career.

What Von said the night before the Superbowl:

On the night before the Super Bowl, Von told the others that, “I am going to strip-sack it, go for 60 yards, and show everyone my speed.” Well, the 60 yard part didn’t happen but, the rest came true.

There was so much that he didn’t talk about that I took very detailed notes on because there was so much I can use when I become a small college coach. Hope you found it as interesting as I did.

Some slight edits were made in the first half hour of this published post.

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I am a former film coordinator for a FCS school. Currently serving in the Navy. I was glad to be around the game of football and had the chance to learn from a lot of great people. I wouldn't be where I am without the gracious support of my family, coaches, assistants, players, and friends. I also greatly appreciate you guys who take the time to read my stuff and show genuine appreciation. It means a ton! You guys are awesome! Twitter Handle: @FBDubs