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Denver Broncos right guard Chris Kuper is listed as the starting right guard on the team's initial depth chart, but he won't be on the field for Thursday's preseason opener against the Chicago Bears, according to 104.3 The Fan's Darren McKee. Kuper has taken part in team drill and is traveling with the team to Chicago, but the team is taking it safe with him as he makes his way back from injury.
Kuper is still recovering from a dislocated ankle and broken leg suffered during the regular season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs in January. For the moment, it looks like Manny Ramirez (not that Manny Ramirez, mind you) will receive the first-team call for the game on Thursday.
Earlier in the week, right tackle Orlando Franklin did take some snaps at right guard, but it appears the broncos aren't all that interested in moving him over there permanently. Kuper should be healthy enough to keep his spot at the top of the depth chart.
Despite being drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, QB Brock Osweiler was listed at No. 3 on the Denver Broncos' first depth chart. In front of his are Peyton Manning and free agent signing Caleb Hanie, but Osweiler says that he is not concerned with where he is on the depth chart.
Denver will get its first taste of the Peyton Manning era on Thursday when the Broncos meet the Chicago Bears at Solider Field in the preseason opener. Manning has spent his entire career as a member of the Indianapolis Colts up to this point, but missed all of last season with a neck injury before agreeing to a lucrative free agent contract with the Broncos this spring.
The Denver Post projects Manning to take between 10-12 snaps on Thursday based on how the Broncos have treated their first preseason game historically. The Post says Caleb Hanie will replace Manning and play most of the second quarter until rookie Brock Osweiler takes over. Adam Weber is expected to play quarterback in the fourth quarter.
Denver Broncos right tackle Orlando Franklin got off to a rough start at training camp when he received a concussion on the first day of practice. After being cleared to play over the weekend, Franklin is back at things on Monday, but apparently he is trying out a different position: right guard, according to Andrew Mason.
Franklin is no stranger to playing guard, as he spent time there while playing for the Miami Hurricanes. This is not wholly unexpected as the team had reportedly kicked around the idea before training camp started. Franklin struggled as a pass-blocker in his rookie season, but was outstanding as a run-blocker.
However, this is likely to get him accommodated to the position again, as Franklin moved back to right tackle later in practice. Incumbent starter Chris Kuper is coming back from injury and is listed as the first-teamer there on the recently released depth chart. Franklin will resume playing right tackle when Kuper is healthy enough to be on the field again -- or so we believe.
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:
|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|
|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|
|K||Matt Prater||Britton Colquitt|
|P||Britton Colquitt||Matt Prater|
|LS||Lonie Paxton||Aaron Brewer|
|PR||Eric Decker||Syd'Quan Thompson|
|KR||Lance Ball||Matthew Willis|
Just one day after signing him, the Denver Broncos placed safety Jim Leonhard on the active physically unable to perform list to start his career with the team, reports Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Leonhard ended the 2011 season with the New York Jets by injuring his knee in December.
Remember, the active physically unable to perform list is not like the regular season PUP list. All Leonhard needs to see the field again is for the team doctor's to clear him for practice. The regular season list requires a player to sit out the first six weeks of games and have a three-week evaluation period to determine if the player can get on the field or will be placed on season-ending injured reserve.
So, for now, Leonhard will wait to get on the practice field while still counting toward the team's 90-man camp roster.
Von Miller, Denver Broncos linebacker and the 2011 defensive rookie of the year, is looking to have an even better sophomore season after piling up 11.5 sacks during the regular season. While still learning to play linebacker and dealing with a cast on his injured thumb, Miller was still a force to be reckoned with during the final stretch of the season. In 2012, he hopes that his offseason training has him ready to peak in September, reports the Denver Post.
Miller spent the offseason practicing yoga with New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 16.5 sacks in his second year in the league. That was good for fourth in the league-lead. If that helps Miller improve his skills at attacking the quarterback and opposing tight ends and linemen we could be looking at the league's defensive player of the year.
Just don't let him catch any passes from Peyton Manning, as Miller is quoted as saying in the Denver Post's article. No one wants another season of shaky depth at receiver.
The Denver Broncos had their first live tackling of the 2012 training camp during Saturday's scrimmage, but with 41,304 in attendance, the first big cheers did not come from a crunching tackle, but a from an audible.
In the opening drive of the day for QB Peyton Manning, the electronic communication system between him and the coaches malfunctioned, so he called his own play and hit WR Eric Decker for a touchdown. Manning, however, was more impressed with Decker's catch than his own play calling:
"I thought (Eric) Decker's back-shoulder touchdown catch was awesome," Manning said of the play.
"It was excellent coverage by (Drayton) Florence, but Decker did a good job kind of holding his eyes until the last minute. Back-shoulder fades are a hard route to cover. That was something he and I had been working on, so it was good to kind of put that in play today."
The well-attended scrimmage put the Broncos training camp attendance at over 70,000 for the season, setting a new franchise record for practice attendance with almost two weeks remaining.
With Quinton Carter expected to miss a couple of weeks due to arthroscopic knee surgery, the Denver Broncos signed safety Jim Leonhard on Saturday afternoon to fill that void in the secondary, reports CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora:
Free agent S Jim Leonhard has agreed on a 1-year deal w/Denver. Worked out there today, a day after visiting Buffalo. Bills also made offer— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 4, 2012
Leonhard is a seven-year veteran out of Wisconsin, playing the last three years with the New York Jets. He spent a year with the Baltimore Ravens and the first three of his career with the Buffalo Bills, who, as La Canfora mentions, were also in the hunt for the safety's services.
Leonhard has 326 total tackles and six interceptions in 94 careers games
Right tackle Orlando Franklin will practice "sparingly," coach John Fox said, now that Franklin has been cleared to return to the field. Franklin suffered a concussion on July 28 during the team's first practice in pads.
He was allowed to do conditioning work Friday afternoon and ran wind sprints under the supervision of a strength coach while his teammates practiced.
The Denver Broncos don't exactly have their depth chart figured out at either safety position right now, but injuries are now complicating the situation even further than before. Safety Quinton Carter, who started 10 games for the Broncos last season, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier in the week and now he is expected to miss at least two weeks of action (possibly including the first two preseason games).
Carter initially suffered a hamstring on the second day of camp while trying to intercept a deep pass intended for wide receiver Eric Decker, but after sitting out for a few practices he had his knee scoped and is now on the shelf for a few weeks. In the meantime, Rahim Moore will get more time with the first unit. The Broncos will also work out free agent safety Jim Leonhard on Saturday, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
Ex-Raven and Jet S Jim Leonard had a good workout with the Bills today and will workout for the Broncos tomorrow. Exploring his options— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 3, 2012
WR D'Andre Goodwin cleared waivers and has been placed on the— Denver Broncos (@Denver_Broncos) August 3, 2012
#Broncos injured reserve list.
Goodwin injured his ankle of Wednesday as part of a series of injuries to Broncos wide receivers.
Goodwin, an undrafted free agent out of Washington, was part of the Broncos' 2011 practice squad and was promoted during the playoffs to the active roster. After Eric Decker's MCL sprain against the Steelers, the Broncos needed a wide receiver for depth and Goodwin was the one who received the move up.
ACcording to Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post, rookie QB Brock Osweiler has looked well during the 2012 Broncos Training Camp, and -- given a strong preseason showing -- he has a chance to play behind QB Peyton Manning as the No. 2 play-caller in Denver:
Manning has been a quality mentor to Osweiler. The rookie has said "How lucky am I? I get to learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks, probably the greatest quarterback, to play the game." And Osweiler has done a tremendous amount of work on his throwing mechanics and simply to learn the playbook.
Osweiler, 21, played three season with the Arizona St. Sun Devils, and only one of those seasons as the team's primary starter. In 2011, he threw for 4,039 yards and 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions before the Broncos selected him with their second-round NFL Draft selection, the No. 57 pick overall.
According to SI.com's Peter King, the Miami Dolphins quarterback situation may in fact best that of even the Denver Broncos'. King, reporting from the Dolphins training camp, says that QB David Garrard -- himself coming back from a missed season due to injury -- looked like a better signal caller than QB Peyton Manning recently did:
For one day anyway, David Garrard sure looks like the starting quarterback. Upstairs in the press area watching practice, traveling partner Neil Hornsby made a list of the top quarterback performances we'd seen on our (so far) eight-camp trip. ... But the more I thought of it, the more I thought Garrard should be no lower than [the top four] -- ahead of Manning.
Garrard, 34, is in his first season since being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason of 2011. Spending 5 seasons as the Jags top starter, 2006 through 2010, Garrard compiled 14,195 passing yards with an 87.0 quarterback rating. Manning, meanwhile, had passed for 21,639 yards with a 96.9 rating with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Denver Broncos have been hard at work on the practice field during training camp in Dove Valley, but on Saturday afternoon they take one step closer to live-action NFL football when more than 20,000 fans fill Sports Authority Field at Mile High for a scrimmage featuring Peyton Manning and the revamped Broncos offense. Manning is excited to take the home field in front of fans, and he also appears to be in mid-season form when it comes to glossy quotes pumping up the quality of the fanbase:
"I know the crowd - the 12th man - will be a big part of our season this year," Manning said, "and Saturday will be a good way to start it off. Just from playing here, I can tell the Broncos have passionate fans that love their team, and I'm glad to be on that side now."
"It's a great stadium. I've always thought that, and I've always thought the Broncos have had great fans. It's always been a loud, tough place to play as an opponent."
Many pundits and analysts have been wondering how Manning's passes will look as they soar through the air at Mile High, and this will be the first chance for everyone to watch it all unfold.
The scrimmage is free to the public and starts at 3:50 p.m. MT.
With Jack Del Rio as the new Denver Broncos defensive coordinator, things on that side of the ball are likely to be a bit different than they were under Dennis Allen in 2011, his only season with the team. Case in point, Jason Hunter has surpassed Robert Ayers as the starting defensive end across from Elvis Dumervil, reports the Denver Post.
Del Rio has said that Hunter is a "rugged defensive lineman" who has played his way into the position. Hunter had originally been signed as an outside linebacker by Josh McDaniels, but he moved back to the defensive line in 2011. He filled in for Elvis Dumervil last season when the former NFL sack leader missed a couple of games.
It's still early in camp and Robert Ayers will very much have a chance to take back his starting position. Ayers had also been cast as a linebacker by McDaniels, but he moved back to the line permanently in 2011. Ayers picked up three sacks last season and is looking for a breakout year this fall.
Peyton Manning is still getting acclimated to his new surroundings, including the group of wide receivers he will be working with in 2012. Demaryius Thomas in particular has impressed Manning with the way he has practiced over the last couple of days.
"He's a guy we're going to feature," Manning said of Thomas. "His size and strength and speed just allow you to do certain things with him that other players just can't do. I thought Demaryius, these past two days, has made some good plays, done some good things with the ball after the catch, which is what we're going to need."
Thomas caught 32 passes for 551 yards and four touchdowns in 2011.
Goodwin, 24, spent the 2011 NFL season on the Broncos roster, mostly on the practice squad, and did not appear in any games for them. The Washington Huskies graduate caught 124 passes while playing for the Pac-10 school and had 1478 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns to his credit.
Kenney played his collegiate ball with the Oklahoma Sooners. In 2010, his senior season with OU, Kenney caught 33 passes for 544 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also ran into some strange, off-field trouble in November of 2011 when he was accused of stealing a woman's purse.
Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio knows he needs the interior of the defensive line to step up this year, and for him that means the defensive tackles need to beef up. Kevin Vickerson spent the offseason bulking up from 290 to 330 pounds, just as Del Rio requested, and it appears every DT on the roster is working to hit at least 300 pounds on the scale.
Vickerson recently explained to Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post that Del Rio had an odd anatomical point of emphasis he used to drive home his point about adding weight:
"I didn't know what to expect or anything like that, but I went in Coach Del Rio's office and the first thing he said to me was, 'Your butt is too small.' I guess I knew right then things would be different.
"But I think my game is big boy; that's what got me in the league. That's what kept me in the league, and that's what Coach Del Rio wants."
To be clear, Del Rio doesn't want his DTs to hit the buffet and eat junk food all day. He is looking for more physicality and toughness at the line of scrimmage, but quickness on the interior is still important. With new marching orders, it will be very interesting to see which players emerge as the starters on the interior of the defensive line.
Kenney is a 23-year old who spent his college years as a member of the Oklahoma Sooners. He was arrested in November of 2011 on suspicion of stealing a purse and using her credit card to buy alcohol.
Kenney measures at 6-feet, 190 lbs. He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash before the 2011 NFL Draft. Most scouting reports had him pegged as a fifth receiver type who could possibly contribute on special teams.
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.
Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno had spent all of training camp so far only working individually and in 7-on-7 as he continues to comeback from a torn ACL, but on Monday he began practicing in team drills for the first time.
RB Knowshon Moreno is working during a team period. He'd been limited to individual and 7-on-7 work coming off a torn ACL. #Broncos— Broncos RapidReports (@CBSSportsNFLDEN) July 30, 2012
The Denver Broncos made the NFL playoffs last season after winning out on tiebreakers since they finished in a three-way tie with an 8-8 record. Tebow Time fueled part of that, but the end-of-season struggles made it a shaky proposition to make the playoffs. But things should be different with Peyton Manning under center this time around.
Over at SB Nation, NFL editor Joel Thorman predictably offers Manning as the reason the Broncos will make the playoffs during the 2012 season:
Peyton Manning? is that the right answer? The Broncos addition of Manning was the biggest free agent move all year and perhaps in the last few years. He's a major difference maker and adding him to a team that already went to the divisional round of the playoffs last year means a playoff appearance will be easier in 2012.
The caveat, of course, being that Manning is healthy for the entire season. Manning's neck is seemingly fine, but his arm strength is still affected by nerve pain. If Manning goes down, the Broncos' alternatives are likely Caleb Hanie and rookie Brock Osweiler. That's scary.
Denver Broncos safety Quinton Carter got tied up with a receiver during practice on Friday and injured his hamstring, albeit not seriously. Denver is calling the injury "day-to-day," but the notorious fickleness of hamstring injuries moved them to sign ex-University of Colorado safety Anthony Perkins, who was in camp on Saturday.
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.
New Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Eric Decker have already established a good rapport, according to the Post's Mike Klis. Those two provided the highlight of a recent practice, in Klis' estimation:
Highlight: Too bad for Peyton Manning and Eric Decker the regular season is still six weeks away. The quarterback and receiver are working together like they were ready yesterday. On a one-on-one red zone drill, Manning threw a well-timed back-shoulder pass with zip. Decker was blanketed by rookie corner but the receiver turned as the ball was at his head, fell back and made a terrific catch as he landed on his backside. Score!
The Broncos resume practice at 8:50 a.m. MT on Monday morning.
The Denver Broncos may have surprised draft experts around the NFL when they selected Cincinnati Bearcats defensive tackle Derek Wolfe with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, but Wolfe has already begun to show his worth in Denver's training camp. Due to a quirk in the CBA regarding when rookies graduate from college and when they can begin work with their NFL teams, Wolfe missed all of Denver's offseason programs with the exception of its three-day minicamp in June.
During his first two seasons in the league, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas didn't need to do much route running. At least in 2011, much of that was due to the presence of Tim Tebow at quarterback, but Peyton Manning has changed all of that. At the start of training camp, cornerback Champ Bailey has definitely seen an improvement in the third-year wide receiver (via DenverBroncos.com):
"(Route-running) was the biggest thing for him because he’s a bigger guy," Bailey said. "Bigger guys struggle running routes most of the time. He’s on top of it now. He looks like one of the best now because he’s running his routes as crisp and can be and he’s catching the ball."
Thomas is considered one of the top players for a breakout season. With a multi-winning league MVP quarterback throwing passes to him, Thomas is sure to improve upon 2011's 32 receptions for 551 yards and four touchdowns.
During Peyton Manning's career with the Indianapolis Colts, the backup quarterback spot on the roster was mostly filled by unknown players since the signal caller was always playing. Then when he missed the 2011 season due to a neck injury, Manning had to give way to his backups, which resulted in a huge disaster for the team.
Now, in 2012, the Denver Broncos are dealing with a similar situation. They have Manning ready to play under center, but his backups are less than stellar. Caleb Hanie returned home to Colorado from the Chicago Bears, where he replaced Jay Cutler after he went down with a thumb injury. Adam Weber is the only holdover from 2011 and Brock Osweiler is a rookie who needs plenty of work to become a starter in a few years.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King sees the backup competition mostly between Hanie and Osweiler and the likely backups to make the roster; however, Weber shouldn't be counted out. There's nothing radical here, and there's little doubt that Osweiler won't be on the Opening Night roster. Weber, most likely, will spend another year on the practice squad.
The Denver Broncos added a new player to training camp on Saturday when safety Anthony Perkins was put on the 90-man roster for training camp, reports Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post. If Perkins name sounds familiar to anyone, it's because the Northglenn, Col., native played his college ball for the Colorado Buffaloes.
Perkins went undrafted in April but he did receive a tryout with the Broncos earlier in the year. This is pretty much a move designed to add another body to camp. He doesn't really have much of a chance to make the final roster. The projected safeties are Mike Adams and Rahim Moore at the moment, though Quinton Carter, a second-year player like Moore, is also in the mix once he's healthy enough to practice.
According to his CU profile, Perkins finished with 236 tackles, good for 41st all-time at the school.
The #Broncos have signed safety Anthony Perkins, a rookie from the University of Colorado. He will wear No. 43.— Denver Broncos (@Denver_Broncos) July 28, 2012
The Denver Broncos absolutely need to make sure they have their best quintet of blockers on the field to protect Peyton Manning for duration of the 2012 NFL season, so it's no surprise that there is some early chatter about shuffling the offensive line during training camp. One candidate to move along the line is right tackle Orlando Franklin. The 24-year-old started 16 games at tackle for the Broncos in 2011, but he played come guard in college and could shift inside if Ryan Harris shows some potential to take over at RT.
Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post said the team has already considered the idea of moving Franklin to guard:
The Broncos have kicked around the idea of moving Franklin to guard because he's a powerful force in the running game and has struggled in pass protection. Moving him inside would take advantage of what he does best and limit his exposure to one-on-one pass protection situations against more athletic defensive ends.
...To move Franklin to guard, the Broncos would have to find a replacement at right tackle. Harris has plenty of experience there, having made 34 starts for the Broncos. They like his athleticism, but he has had back problems and foot/leg injuries.
Peyton Manning had his first opportunity to test out the new weapons in Denver. Mike Kils' report from Friday indicates that even though the Broncos' first training camp practice was rerouted fromfrom their Dove Valley practice fields to the South Suburban Sports Dome down the street, Manning still completed passes to Eric Decker, Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme.
There was specifically the deep ball thrown to Decker, who got behind the defense in a post pattern and showed the potential of this Broncos passing game with what seems to be a rejuvenated Peyton Manning
On Saturday, the Broncos have their first practice in pads and it is free to the public from 8:50-11:30 in the morning. A walk-through later in the day is closed to the public, according to Kils' report.
The Denver Broncos are expected to have both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker as the team's starting wide receivers during the 2012 season, but Andre Caldwell could find himself taking some playing time away when the team stays in two-wide-receiver sets, speculates the Denver Post's Andre Caldwell.
Legwold bases this off the initial practice the team had on Thursday, which means we still have plenty of time for roles to settle. However, with Peyton Manning throw balls in Denver, Caldwell could be in line for his best season yet. Entering his fifth season, Caldwell has 124 career receptions for 1,172 yards and six touchdowns, all with the Cincinnati Bengals.
More than likely, Caldwell will be competing with Brandon Stokley for the No. 3 wide receiver slot. Stokley was a favorite target for Manning in Indianapolis, but the 36-year-old receiver has dealt with injuries over the last few seasons and did not play at all in the league during the 2011 season.
The Denver Broncos definitely have the starting quarterback spot locked down with Peyton Manning, but health concerns surrounding the 36-year-old signal caller make the backup QB competition a very important battle during training camp. Denver drafted Brock Osweiler with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but he's considered a long-term prospect for the future. The true No. 2 QB competition comes down to a head-to-head battle between Caleb Hanie and Adam Weber.
Hanie has more NFL experience, but his career with the Chicago Bears ended on a sour note after he was pushed into action during 2011 due to an injury to Jay Cutler. Adam Weber spent his first season on the practice squad, but he will likely have a chance to jump past Hanie on the depth chart during training camp and the preseason.
Mike Klis of The Denver Post kept an eye on position battles during the first day of camp, and here is what he noticed happening behind center:
Caleb Hanie was clearly the No. 2 QB. Adam Weber was No. 3 and rookie Brock Osweiler was No. 4. The competition here is between Hanie and Weber. The Broncos probably won't keep both. Osweiler and Peyton Manning are keepers - you heard it here first!
Every team enters training camp with position battles at multiple spots on the roster, and this year the Denver Broncos are no exception. Stability at the top of the roster on offense with Peyton Manning has been the dominant story during the offseason, but now the focus will shift to emerging competitions at running back, right guard, defensive tackle, weakside linebacker and strong safety.
Mike Klis of The Denver Post kept an eye on which players lined up with the starting units during the first day of camp, which may offer some insight into which guys have an early leg up on their teammates in the eyes of the coaching staff. Here is how the battles shaped up on the first day, according to Klis:
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is working hard to regain his All-Pro form after four neck surgeries and plenty of time away from the football field, and everyone is excited about the impeccable timing and accuracy of his throws during the early stages of training camp. The wide receiver group has so far come away particularly impressed with Manning, and Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports found that Demaryius Thomas had some gushing praise for his new signal caller:
...Manning's accuracy was impeccable. He put throws in tight spots and consistently made it easy for his receivers. Working primarily with wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, and tight ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, Manning put throw after throw into the tight window between the top of their shoulders and the top of their waist.
"Tim was a running quarterback where sometimes you would see the ball coming out of your break and sometimes you were doing an adjustment because he broke the pocket," Thomas said. "Peyton is a pocket quarterback where you're getting the ball coming out of your break every single time."
No matter how well Manning plays during practice, the Broncos are going to be cautious about his workload during camp.
Over at SB Nation, Ryan Van Bibber has offered up his rankings of the quarterback units of all 32 NFL teams. With their recent addition of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos are ranked 10th, with the uncertainty surrounding Peyton Manning's return likely preventing the team from ranking higher:
Peyton Manning already earned his place in the Hall of Fame. The new chapter in his storied career could be vastly different than the last. He turned 36 in March, and missed all of last season with a series of tricky neck surgeries.
Manning and the Broncos began training camp on Thursday. The team is being cautious about Manning's workload during camp.
The Denver Broncos completed the first day of training camp with much fanfare, seeing over 4,000 individuals make their way into Dover Valley's facilities, but we won't see a depth chart for some time. Still, we did get a glimpse of what the Broncos' first-team unit on offense and defense will look like.
Gray Caldwell details over at DenverBroncos.com the look of the two sides on Thursday. As expected, there were many of the usual faces. On the offensive line: Ryan Clady, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton and Orlando Franklin. Peyton Manning and Willis McGahee were in the backfield while Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas were the top two wide receivers. Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen, both offseason signings, both played in two-tight-end sets. Andre Caldwell came in as the third wide receiver while Chris Gronkowski played at fullback.
On defense, the front four consisted of Elvis Dumervil, Ty Warren, Mitch Unrein and Robert Ayers. Von Miller and Joe Mays took up two of the linebacker spots while Wesley Woodyard drew duties at the other spot. Woodyard will have a chance to replace D.J. Williams in the starting lineup, as the latter is facing at least a six-game suspension. Cornerback Tracy Porter and safety Mike Adams, free agent signings this offseason, joined Champ Bailey and Rahim Moore in the secondary.
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.
The Denver Broncos added future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to the mix during the offseason, and his impact on the practice field in Dove Valley is likely going to be huge. Things are expected to be vastly different than they were during the Tim Tebow era, and the defensive players are particularly excited about being tested early in camp by a supremely accomplished signal caller like Manning.
Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey knows every moment in practice will make the team better, and he isn't shy about saying that Denver has the best QB in the NFL. Here is what Bailey recently told Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post:
"You know with Peyton's preparation, he's going to be ready every single day, every single play. So you have to be ready to. And if you're not, he's going to make you pay for every little mistake. You're not going to make a mistake and he misses it and has to come back to it later if you make it again."
"If you make a mistake, he's going to see it, find it and throw the ball into it. That makes everyone better. And you know the guy you face on Sunday won't be better than the guy you saw every day out here in camp."
Good news and gushing quotes are to be expected at the outset of training camp, but this time the Broncos defenders may be right about the impact Manning will have on the team.
The Denver Broncos don't open training camp until Thursday afternoon, but the team is already making changes to its roster. On Wednesday, Denver waived a pair of undrafted rookies, wide receiver and special teams ace Eric Page and cornerback Coryell Judie.
Both players were cut due to injury. Page tore his ACL before the start of training camp and Judie has an issue with his back.
Page was expected to compete for the team's kick returner jobs. Without him, Denver's kick return duties now may fall on the shoulder's of Eric Decker.
All eyes will be on new quarterback Peyton Manning as camp starts. Manning signed a lucrative free agent with Denver in the offseason after missing all of the 2011 season with the Indianapolis Colts due to injury.
D.J. Williams will be suspended for the first six games of the 2012 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, and the Denver Broncos aren't wasting any time getting his replacements prepared for duty. As training camp nears in Denver, coach John Fox is saying Williams won't be taking many snaps with the first team defense. Fox is aware of the situation and the Broncos will use training camp practices to get Williams' replacements as many reps as possible.
"Obviously he’s going to miss a big portion of the season," head coach John Fox said Wednesday. "We already know, going in, that he won’t be with the ones in games one through six, so I don’t know that he’ll get many one reps in this camp."
The Denver Broncos brought in many new faces this offseason, players like Peyton Manning, Tracy Porter and Jacob Tamme chief among them. But the team also brought someone in behind the scenes that they view as a crucial part of their success in the 2012 season. That person is new strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson, who joins the Broncos from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
(via the Denver Post)
Osweiler and Hillman have agreed to terms. All picks are signed... Ready for camp!— John Elway (@johnelway) July 24, 2012
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.
The Denver Broncos may have an All-Pro starter in QB Peyton Manning, but the team also hopes to have an eventual starting quarterback in rookie QB Brock Osweiler. The Arizona St. Sun Devils product is reportedly nearing a deal with the Broncos:
Source w/ knowledge of talks anticipates deal for Broncos QB Brock Osweiler (2nd rnd, 57th pick) "will happen within the next couple days."— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) July 23, 2012
With the Broncos Training Camp poised to begin on Thursday, the team will look to get Osweiler on the roster so he can begin digesting the playbook as soon as possible.
The 21-year-old Osweiler played three seasons with ASU and passed for over 5,000 yards. In the 2011-12 NCAA football season, he helped lead the Sun Devils to a 4-5 record in the Pac-12 and a third place finish in the South division.
Peyton Manning's time with the Indianapolis Colts is marked by the myriad of touchdowns that he threw to wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, but tight end Dallas Clark was as integral to Indianapolis' passing game as anyone. As such, the Denver Broncos are planning to increase the use of tight ends in their offense, according to Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post.
You'll never believe it, but a switch at quarterback from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning apparently instilled a lot more confidence in the gamblers of America in regards to the Denver Broncos' Super Bowl chances. Bill Bradwell broke down the odds at the MGM family of sportsbooks on Tuesday at Grantland, and the Broncos rise from afterthought to legitimate contender is perhaps the most startling thing about the story, aside from the sheer bizarreness of the San Francisco 49ers being the betting favorites.
The Broncos opened at 75/1 when the lines were first set for the 2012 NFL season. As training camp nears, Denver boasts 7/1 odds. The teams more popular than the Broncos at the MGM family of sportsbooks are the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and the aforementioned 49ers, who lead the way with 4/1 odds despite one winning season in the last nine years. According
The first family of NFL quarterbacks is as eager to see Peyton Manning return to the field as anyone. The Mannings are confident that once the Denver Broncos' new quarterback gets under center, he will be one of the NFL's elite signals callers yet again.
"Peyton is a four-time MVP, a Super Bowl champion," Eli said. "He's coming off an injury, but he's going to be ready to play. ... We're both looking forward to a great season ahead of us."
For Peyton, the biggest hurdle has not been the rehab but instead coming to a new team.
"There's no question it's been a big change, a big switch. It's one I'm trying to adjust to," Peyton said. "There's constantly something to learn, something to adjust to, new players, new teammates, new coaches, new surroundings. So when you're 14 years in one place, you do kind of become institutionalized. ... Everybody keeps saying, `Are you settled yet?' ... I don't think anybody can get settled in a couple of months."
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is undoubtedly the star of the defensive unit, but he's not the only playmaker among the LB corps. Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation recently ranked the linebacker units around the NFL, and he determined that the sneaky depth on the Broncos is enough to make them the No. 7 LB group in the league:
If you forgot that Denver had other linebackers besides Von Miller, you can be forgiven. His first season in the NFL was incredible. Joe Mays is an underrated two-down player on the inside. Nate Irving's range should get him more playing time this season. D.J. Williams' pending suspension and his playbook gaffe make you wonder about his long-term future with the team.
As for the the rest of the AFC West, only the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 6) earned a higher ranking. The San Diego Chargers dropped in at No. 13, while the Oakland Raiders earned a No. 30 overall designation.
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.
The 2012 NFL Offseason is in full swing, and few teams have changed more this summer than the Denver Broncos. After signing Hall-of-Fame-likely QB Peyton Manning to the roster, the team traded fan-favorite QB Tim Tebow to the New York Jets -- a pair of blockbuster moves that headlined the offseason.
WR Demaryius Thomas spoke about the seismic transition on 790 The Zone in Atlanta, saying he tired of the all the Tim Tebow questions from the media in 2011 and that playing with Peyton Manning has been a whole new experience for the two-year veteran:
"You’re gonna have to run the whole route tree now. The comebacks, the slants, the posts, the ins. And I didn’t have to do that much when I was my first couple of years in the league."
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