Gary Kubiak told his team, “You can either get back to practice or we can come back later tonight and do this again.” This conversation happened after the fifth fight of the day on the final day of Broncos training camp. Okay, it’s not exactly Shawshank Redemption worthy, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” But, Andy Dufresne would’ve been proud of the Broncos commitment to stop the silly stuff and get back to business. The practice wrapped up about an hour earlier than expected and with that training camp officially ended.

“Training Camp is over? Seriously?” said one bug-eyed, bizarrely head-shaven Broncos rookie. Indeed, the conclusion of camp doesn’t feel like it used to. When camp wrapped in Greeley, the players would race back to Denver/civilization. There were no doubts that it was a wrap as dorm rooms were packed up and the comfy confines of the University of Northern Colorado were left in the rearview mirror. Now, one day just blends into another.  Heck, head coach Gary Kubiak let the veterans just stay at home; they didn’t even have to shack up in the nearby hotel with the rest of the new guys. So, forgive these fellas if they don’t exactly know everybody’s name. The Broncos won the Super Bowl last year, so any romantic idea of how things used to be has been quickly replaced with how things worked last year.

Double sessions in pads – GONE! Hitting more than two days in a row – GONE! Practices lasting three hours – GONE! As old school as Kubiak is about his offense, he has quickly adapted to the new standard of the NFL. Keep your players healthy and keep them in shape. If you do that, you have your players longer and you will get better results. The Broncos two unsung heroes in the organization are Mitch Tanney, the director of Analytics and Michael Sullivan, the salary cap guru.


When smart move after smart move is made on big things and little things, you have an extremely effective system of operation. Sure, there were blips this offseason. Losing Malik Jackson stung. The Broncos did try to keep him. Losing Brock Osweiller stung. The Broncos really undervalued the Brockster and apparently hurt his feelings pretty bad. Losing Danny Trevathan wasn’t a big deal despite the fact he led the team in tackles. Wait and see, Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall will do just fine. Having Aqib Talib shoot himself (come on now, we all know he shot himself!) wasn’t so hot, but there’s nothing the Broncos brass can do about that kind of stupidity. The Von Miller saga took a long time, but it did resolve itself to make Von a Bronco for life, a future Broncos Ring of Famer and at the end of the day he will be wearing a Gold Jacket in Canton representing the Rocky Mountain Region. There was a huge shake up on the offensive line. Free agents Russell “I never was in charge of a contract I understood” Okung and Donald Stephenson will be extremely solid bookend tackles. Max Garcia will fall in line at left guard. Book Matt Paradis in for every play this season at center just like he did last year. At right guard, we have some questions, but it’s nothing that can’t be solved with a combination of Darrion Weems, Michael Schofield and Conor McGovern. It appears that CSU star Ty Sambrailo is getting lost in the flotsam due to injury, but in all honesty, he may have had a hard time learning this new position even if he was healthy.

The secret sauce to this camp that nobody from the outside can see with their Peyton Manning blinders on is that the Broncos offense isn’t a little better coming out of camp, it’s much better. C.J. Anderson has looked spectacular. The wide receiver group is by far the deepest and most talented in the NFL. Tight ends seem to be a mystery, but they are taking turns becoming stars if you can look past Jeff Heuerman who was supposed to be the man and is becoming an unneeded afterthought day after day. The return of John Phillips was eye-opening, as was the performance of undrafted rookie Henry Krieger-Coble.  Virgil Green had some true superstar moments in camp which most likely will relegate Garret Graham to the streets.

The Niners are desperate. They make the Broncos QB situation look like a day at the beach – well, any beach except for the urine-filled, feces-infected sandlot in Rio. They needed to scrap and fight on the second day of combined practices. They need to find pride in their desperation. They need to plan the welcoming party for future first-round draft pick Deshaun Watson from Clemson. Have a fun year Chip Kelly!

Coach Kubiak made the announcement that most of us in attendance at camp every day anticipated. Trevor Siemian will get the start. What an amazing turnaround from a year ago! The news was announced to the team before practice and you could see that it cast a certain pale on the practice, especailly Mark Sanchez. This was a tough blow. Sanchez was supposed to get his rebirth in Denver and all he had to do was hold off a seventh-round pick from Northwestern that hadn’t run one play aside from a kneel down in any regular season NFL game.

Paxton Lynch is undoubtedly the future, but nobody is looking to rush the young man. The NFL season is long, and the Pirate may yet get his shot, but it’s not like he had to be put under the microscope like Jared Goff is suffering through in L.A. Lynch will have time and future QB competitions for the next decade may be very, very boring.

Mark Sanchez was supposed to be clearly better than Siemian and he just wasn’t. However, it’s not to say he was bad or embarrassing or disappointing or anything other than he was simply Mark Sanchez. He throws touchdowns and interceptions in equal proportion. He will be needed for the season and still has an outside shot to be the opening day starter.  However, the future is not in his hands anymore. If Siemian can pull off a good game on Saturday, there is no reason in the world he wouldn’t get the start in the all important Preseason Game 3, ironically facing Goff and the Rams. If Siemian falls on his face, then I suppose we can have another conversation, but it would be hard to understand why Trevor would perform any less than he has done day-in and day-out in the training camp nobody knew actually existed.

Is it too early? Sure, but what the heck – here’s my fearless roster prediction:


O Line: (9) Russel Okung, Max Garcia, Matt Paradis, Darrion Weems, Donald Stephenson, James Ferentz, Ty Sambrailo, Micheal Schofield, and Conor McGovern.  I think it will be nine as they try and get Sambrailo healthy and they wont put him on the short-term IR.  Kyle Roberts and Dillon Day are interesting. If the Broncos really make a bold move and dump Schofield, then they may have a shot, but that’s unlikely.

Tight Ends: (4) Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, John Phillips and Henry Krieger Coble. HKC has made some dramatic moves in the past couple of days, making Garret Graham completely expendable. Hey, you get more for less. This isn’t a hard decision and like Sambrailo, Heuerman hangs in there despite his injuries, but the team will need at least three tight ends so they will start the season with four.

Wide Receivers: (6) Demaryius Thomas, Emanuel Sanders, Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, Jordan Norwood and Jordan Taylor. They would be nuts to cut Jordan “Sunshine” Taylor. He will not last on the practice squad. He has just made too many good plays in camp and deserves a spot. There was a brief competition between Norwood and rookie Kalif Raymond, but Norwood is too valuable as a vet and has proven his reliability day after day not only as a receiver but as a kick returner. Raymond dropped a critical third down conversion in the combined practice with the Niners that Norwood makes every time. It’s really not even a hard decision.

Running Backs: (4) C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman, Devontee Booker and Andy Janovich.  A true fullback makes the team for the first time in a long time. If the Broncos stop believing in Hillman, they may add Kapri Bibbs, but I’m guessing they go with a change of pace guy like Ronnie despite the fact he is weak on special teams. This will be one to watch. Juwan Thompson doesn’t have a home with Janovich in the house.

QBs: (3) Trevor Siemian, Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch. Wait and see, they will all start at some point this season and most likely this will be the order of those appearances.

Defensive line: (6) Derek Wolfe, Sylvester Williams, Adam Gotsis, Jared Crick, Darius Kilgo and Billy Winn. The loss of Vance Walker and Phil Taylor hurts in terms of losing a starter and what was hoped to be a solid back up. UDFA Kyle Peko has an outside shot, but his pass rush is limited and Winn brings more NFL experience to the table. The surprise has been Gotsis who has recovered quicker than expected from an knee injury and played great. In addition, Kilgo can move from tackle to end with relative ease.

Outside linebackers: (4) Von Miller, Demarcus Ware, Shane Ray, and Shaq Barrett. Wow – that is truly sick! What would most teams do for these four guys! This position alone is going to win game for the Broncos. The crazy thing is that Vontarrius Dora and Eddie Yarborough are good enough to make most if not ALL other teams in the NFL. What a luxury for the Broncos but it obviously came at a steep price for Von and a paycut for Demarcus. The health of Ware is tricky but we should see him in pads next week

Inside linebackers: (4) Todd Davis, Brandon Marshall, Corey Nelson, Zaire Anderson. There is a chance Frank Anderson could outshine Zaire on special teams but Zaire has had some holy @#%&! Moments that are hard to ignore

Cornerbacks: (5) Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Kayvon Webster, Bradley Roby, Lorenzo Doss. Taureen Nixon got hurt at the wrong time, but it probably wasn’t going to matter. With Shiloh Keo about to go on suspension for two games, Will Parks will make the team and that gives you enough players for special teams especially considering you have to carry four tight ends because we are all waiting for Heuerman.

Safeties: (4) T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons and Will Parks. Parks had some shaky rookie moments handling the pace of camp but has picked things up and played well including an incredible diving pick off Sanchez at the goal line one day in camp.

Special Teams

Specialists: (3) Brandon McManus (K), Britton Colquitt (P), Casey Kreieter (LS) – The Broncos will have to dump draft pick punter Riley Dixon not because he can’t punt – he can!  But, McManus doesn’t seem comfortable with Dixon as a holder and that my friends is just too much of a risk. Call it a conspiracy, but BC keeps his gig after agreeing to another paycut.

Special teams guy: (1). Who is that one guy that you gotta have for special teams and depth. This person could come from any position, but he’s on the team primarily for special teams

Shiloh Keo: The two game suspension for a DUI is rough and put Keo in danger for sure. BUT, he is a tough dude who flies all over the field and his positive contributions in BIG games last year should not be ignored. He won’t count against the 53 so the Broncos get to keep one guy for two games. That guy will be….

Kalif Raymond: Early in the season when the weather is good a potential game breaker cannot be ignored. It will be an extremely short leash for Raymond but it could be extremely exciting for Broncos fans.

Injuries always mess up the best of plans, but take a look at this team and a coaching staff that returns completely intact and you tell me why this squad won’t contend for another championship.