Denver Broncos Head To Chicago For 1st Preseason Game

Denver is ready to see Peyton Manning in action for the first time in more than a year.

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Denver Broncos Release 2012 Preseason Depth Chart

The Denver Broncos released the first preseason depth chart ahead of Thursday's preseason opener against the Chicago Bears. There are no real surprises to be found here. Peyton Manning is the starting quarterback; Willis McGahee is the starting running back; and Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are the starting wide receiver.

On defense, Elvis Dumervil is the starting right defensive end and Jason Hunter, as noted over the weekend, has moved ahead of Robert Ayers on the other side of the line. D.J. Williams is listed as the starting weakside linebacker, but with a six-game suspension in the offing he won't be there when the regular season starts.

Other notes: Derek Wolfe is running second-team defensive end behind Hunter while Ayers is Dumervil's backup. Guard Chris Kuper is still making his way back from a nasty leg injury, but he is first at right guard. Lance Ball is behind McGahee at running back while rookie Ronnie Hillman is third-string for now. Caleb Hanie is Peyton Manning's backup, which is just incredibly scary for plenty of fans.

Check out the depth chart below:

POS First Second Third Other
WR Demaryius Thomas Matthew Willis Jason Hill Greg Orton Tyler Grisham Cameron Kenney
LT Ryan Clady Chris Clark Mike Remmers
LG Zane Beadles Adam Grant Austin Wuebbels
C J.D. Walton C.J. Davis Philip Blake
RG Chris Kuper Manny Ramirez Tony Hills Wayne Tribue
RT Orlando Franklin Ryan Harris
TE Joel Dreessen Jacob Tamme Virgil Green Julius Thomas Anthony Miller Cornelius Ingram
WR Eric Decker Andre Caldwell Brandon Stokley Mark Dell Gerell Robinson
QB Peyton Manning Caleb Hanie Brock Osweiler Adam Weber
FB Chris Gronkowski Austin Sylvester
RB Willis McGahee Lance Ball Ronnie Hillman Knowshon Moreno Jeremiah Johnson Xavier Omon

POS First Second Third Other
LDE Jason Hunter Derek Wolfe Jeremy Beal
DT Ty Warren Kevin Vickerson Malik Jackson Ben Garland
NT Justin Bannan Mitch Unrein Sealver Siliga
RDE Elvis Dumervil Robert Ayers Cyril Obiozor Jamie Blatnick
SLB Von Miller Nate Irving Jerry Franklin
MLB Joe Mays Mike Mohamed Steven Johnson
WLB D.J. Williams Wesley Woodyard Danny Trevathan Elliot Coffey
LCB Champ Bailey Chris Harris Tony Carter Joshua Moore Ramzee Robinson
RCB Tracy Porter Drayton Florence Omar Bolden Syd'Quan Thompson
SS Quinton Carter Mike Adams David Bruton Duke Ihenacho
FS Rahim Moore Rafael Bush Jim Leonhard Anthony Perkins

POS First Second
K Matt Prater Britton Colquitt
P Britton Colquitt Matt Prater
H Britton Colquitt
LS Lonie Paxton Aaron Brewer
PR Eric Decker Syd'Quan Thompson
KR Lance Ball Matthew Willis

For more on the Broncos, visit Mile High Report. Check out SB Nation NFL for more news and notes.

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Broncos, Ryan Clady End Contract Extension Talks

With training camp underway, the Denver Broncos and offensive tackle Ryan Clady have decided to end their contract extension talks, reports Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Thus ends roughly two months of negotiations to give Clady his second NFL contract, as his rookie contract ends at the conclusion of the upcoming 2012 season.

Clady, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, has been a rock on the left side of the line and will undoubtedly command a significant deal on the open market should he hit there in March. However, the Broncos would likely use the franchise tag on him, giving him a one-year tender that would be worth nearly $10 million.

The Broncos used its franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater this past offseason and reached a four-year contract with him in early July. Denver had reportedly offered Clady a five-year, $50 million deal, but negotiations did not progress beyond that.

With training camp underway, ending the negotiations ends one possible distraction.

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Peyton Manning Still Working Way Back From Injury, Says SI's Peter King

It's still early in camp, but Peyton Manning isn't 100 percent, reports Sports Illustrated's Peter King. In his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column, King discusses his Saturday visit to Dove Valley and his observations on Manning:

Manning can hear what people are saying about him and read what writers are writing about him. Peyton's back to normal. Look at him throw. Look at his command of the Denver offense. He's back.

"I hate it,'' Manning said.

Because he's not. He's not all the way back.

King goes on to mention that it's not the neck that's the issue for Manning; rather, it's a nerve issue that causes problems with his arm strength. Yes, Manning is accurate in his throws, but he's not sending deep bombs down the field.

Furthermore, King sees Manning increasing his accuracy but losing a bit on his yards per completion. That really might not be a bad thing, especially considering what we saw with Tim Tebow last year. And with Willis McGahee, Ronnie Hillman and the rest of the running back corps taking care of things on the ground, a different Manning won't be a bad thing.

For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report. Head over to SB Nation NFL for more news and notes as we go through training camp.

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Broncos And Peyton Manning Developing A Pitch Count-Type Plan For Training Camp

The Denver Broncos are heavily invested in veteran quarterback Peyton Manning for the 2012 season and beyond, so every precaution is being taken to make sure the future Hall of Fame QB isn't putting unnecessary stress on his surgically-repaired neck during practices. Manning's four neck surgeries and his lack of participation in training camps over the last two seasons has heightened the level of concern heading into this season, so the QB is already working with team trainers to develop a throwing schedule that might turn out to be something like the pitch count system that MLB teams use to protect elite pitchers.

The details of the plan are still being hammered out, but the Denver Post reports that both sides are trying to find a balance in the practice schedule:

Manning already has met with Broncos head trainer Steve Antonopulos to map out how much he will throw in training camp as well as formulate a potential plan for the season. The team is seeking to find a balance. Manning, who is noted for rarely sitting out even one play in practice, will want to do as much as possible, but he is 36, and coming off multiple neck surgeries that also impacted the nerves in his throwing arm.

The report also notes that there are no restrictions currently imposed on the 36-year-old signal caller in terms of what kinds of throws he can execute in the offense, so this is more about guarding against wear and tear as the team prepares for a long NFL season.

For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report. Head over to SB Nation NFL for more news and notes on training camps across the league.

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Broncos Announce Signing Of QB Brock Osweiler, RB Ronnie Hillman

According to the team's executive vice president of football operations, John Elway, rookie second-round draft pick QB Brock Osweiler and rookie RB Ronnie Hillman have signed with the Denver Broncos:

Osweiler went to the Broncos with the No. 25 pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Arizona State product had over 4,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns in his final season with the Sun Devils.

Hillman went to the Broncos just a few picks later, joining Denver with the No. 4 pick in the third round. Playing only two seasons with San Diego State, Hillman managed to cull an impressive 3,243 rushing yards and 36 rushing touchdowns.

For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report. Head over to SB Nation NFL for more news and notes as we approach training camp.

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2012 Denver Broncos Training Camp: Peyton Manning's Arm Strength At 85 To 90 Percent

The Denver Broncos gambled on QB Peyton Manning's would recover his arm strength, despite a year under the knife and away from football. Well, according to the Denver Post's Mike Klis, the gamble appears to be paying dividends:


According to Klis, Manning did not look his best at the beginning of the offseason workouts, but eventually began to return to form:

I thought [Peyton Manning] went from 65 percent the first couple times I saw [him] ... As it went on, you saw him throw deeper and deeper. [In the Broncos'] second-to-last minicamp sessions -- which is really their last big one -- they had a two-minute drill and it was like the defense wasn't even there. He was throwing crossing patterns with zip and right on the money. And he threw two goal outs, one on the right side to Eric Decker and one on the left side to Demaryius Thomas, and he well out-threw the secondary for what would be touchdowns.

And though Klis saw improvement from Manning, he does not think the Peyton Manning of the mid-aughties will ever be back:

I thought he was 85 to 90 percent by the end. He really came a long way in that four weeks. I'm still little skeptical that he'll come all the way back based on the fact that this is unprecedented, remember, that a 35-year-old missed an entire season with four neck surgeries and then you're asking him to come back and be the same again. That would be unprecedented.

For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report. Head over to SB Nation NFL for more news and notes as we approach training camp.

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