ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Joe DeCamillis stepped up to the podium Monday after GM John Elway named him interim head coach and was instantly met with a welcome-to-the-show question:
“Who’s your quarterback?”
The Denver Broncos’ 51-year-old special teams coordinator dodged the inquiry, declining to say whether Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch would be under center when the Broncos (4-1) visit the Chargers (1-4) on Thursday night.
“We’ve got a lot of guys we’re evaluating this week,” he said. “How’s that?”
Elway tabbed DeCamillis after doctors ordered head coach Gary Kubiak to take a week off after experiencing a “complex migraine condition” Sunday night shortly after Denver suffered its first loss of the season.
The Broncos saw their nine-game winning streak snapped 23-16 by the Atlanta Falcons, who sacked Lynch six times with Siemian sidelined by a bruised left shoulder.
Kubiak, 55, was transported from the stadium to the hospital by an ambulance — the second time that’s happened in three years — after experiencing flu-like symptoms. He was kept overnight and doctors determined he had what the team termed a “complex migraine condition.”
Kubiak was sent home from the hospital Monday afternoon and issued a statement saying he was feeling much better, thanking his team’s medical staff and expressing his confident in DeCamillis. He added: “I’ll be home this week resting and getting healthy and I look forward to rejoining our team on Monday.”
Elway said Kubiak will meet with medical personnel to decipher whether there’s any triggers that brought on his illness. “We’re just excited that Gary is OK and that the prognosis looks great,” Elway said.
All but a handful of players had left the locker room Sunday night and only learned of Kubiak’s illness via news reports.
“You never want to hear about anybody going to any hospital with any sickness, but we’re just glad he’s going to be OK and we’re just going to handle business until he gets back,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said.
Running back C.J. Anderson said he knows Kubiak appreciates the players’ prayers, but “if you know Kube, you know he’s more concerned about how we’re going to play Thursday night. Let’s not make the stress even worse, right?”
Elway said Kubiak’s spirits were high.
“He was very tired, but he got a great night’s sleep last night, probably as good of a night’s sleep as he’s had in a long time,” Elway said.
Kubiak’s predecessor, John Fox, had a heart operation in the middle of the 2014 season and conferred with his staff throughout his absence.
Elway said he wasn’t sure if Kubiak will be involved in a similar fashion: “We’re really kind of leaving that up to the doctors. The process for Gary is to worry about Gary this week.”
Elway said Kubiak told him before kickoff that he wasn’t feeling well and Elway checked in on him before heading home. Head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos later called Elway back to tell him Kubiak was headed to the hospital.
“I will say this: it was scary going in,” Elway said, “but (I was) very excited coming out as far as the prognosis for Gary and his health as well as his coaching career.
“Obviously any time you have an episode like Gary had in 2013, what happened last night is a big concern. But we left the hospital and his family was very relieved. We feel very good about it.”
Kubiak had a health scare in 2013 when he was coach of the Houston Texans, suffering a “mini-stroke” and collapsing in a scary scene at halftime of a game against Indianapolis. He returned to the coaching box 10 days later and eventually to the sideline, but he was fired about a month after the episode.
After a year as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator in 2014, Kubiak took over in Denver and said he’d learned to delegate better to preserve his health. He had no issues while leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl title last season.
DeCamillis said his response when Elway picked him to run the team this week was: “Yes, sir.”
“It really wasn’t an ‘ask,'” DeCamillis said. “You want to do what you can to help the team win. That’s how I look at it.”
DeCamillis figures he’ll be too busy this week to seek tips from his father-in-law, former Broncos coach Dan Reeves, although, “He’s been a great sounding board for all the years and I’m sure he’ll have some nuggets” of unsolicited advice.
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton