Day one of the 2015 Denver Broncos organized team activities kicked off today with three key linebackers sitting out of today's practice. Starting inside linebackers Brandon Marshall (foot) and Danny Trevathan (leg) both sat out of today's practice as they recover from injuries. Joining them is the Broncos' first-round draft choice Shane Ray (toe), who is also recovering from an injury.
OTAs are underway, Danny Trevathan, Brandon Marshall and Shane Ray are all observers today. pic.twitter.com/xdqMfATFPY— Chris Hall (@BroncosTV) May 27, 2015
Trevathan is recovering from multiple leg injuries last season that sidelined him for the majority of the 2014 season. Marshall underwent surgery on a Lis franc injury earlier this spring and is recovering nicely. Ray is recovering from a turf toe-type injury and should be good to go soon. All three of these guys are expected to be healthy or close to returning by Training Camp.
Running back competition:
ESPN Denver's Cecil Lammey was on hand to watch the Broncos participate in today's OTA practice. According to Lammey, the Broncos running backs had an up-and-down practice session.
Ball looked good when the holes were huge, I still question his decisiveness as a runner, looked more agile today #Broncos— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) May 27, 2015
It's good to hear Ball looks more agile this season, but I share Lammey's concerns about the running back. His indecisiveness as a runner really stood out to me in 2014. He looked like he was thinking too much instead of reacting and hitting the hole. This will be something he will need to work on this season.
Lammey also had some negative things to say about Ronnie Hillman, adding he "looks odd in the zone-blocking scheme" and also questions his decisiveness and patience as a runner.
I figured Hillman's running style would fit in well with Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme, but it's still very early in the process.
Now for some good news. Remember when former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase called running back C.J. Anderson chubby? Well, Anderson showed up to OTAs looking very un-chubby apparently.
Adam Gase would not be calling Anderson chubby this year, dude is rocked up, still has powerful lower body PERFECT fit for ZBS #Broncos— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) May 27, 2015
Anderson is going to have a great season. I cannot wait to see him running in Gary Kubiak's offense.
The competition for the No. 2 running back position is up for grabs, but it appears that Juwan Thompson might have the very early lead for the spot. Lammey said Thompson showed well today, mentioning Thompson's powerful running style, how well he sees the field, and how decisive he is as a runner.
I agree with everything Lammey has to say about Thompson, and I believe No 40's running style fits in perfectly with Kubiak's offensive system.
Kubiak hopes to hear something about Antonio Smith in a "week or two:"
While Smith is dealing with his off-the-field legal matters, he has been excused from OTA practices.
Gary Kubiak hopes to have answers to Antonio Smith situation in about "a week or two."— Jon Heath (@JonHeathNFL) May 27, 2015
Manning getting work under center:
According to the Denver Post's Troy Renck, quarterback Peyton Manning was seen taking reps from under center during today's practice session.
Manning worked under center today.This by design.Part of reason uncomfortable there last yr was bc tried switch midstream w little practice— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) May 27, 2015
These are some much-needed reps for Manning. As Renck said, Manning was uncomfortable under center last season because of the lack of practice in that position. Now with Kubiak's offense asking the quarterback to work under center more, Manning will need to get as many reps as possible.
USA Today's Lindsay Jones also noticed how much Manning was under center. She called it the most noticeable difference to the Broncos offense thus far.
This will be a storyline to keep an eye on all summer.
Sambrailo impressing early on:
According to Lammey, rookie offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo compares to Louis Vasquez.
Ty Sambrailo note: dude has a powerful hand punch in drills. His ferocity is on Vasquez levels, nasty attitude a welcome sight #Broncos— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) May 27, 2015
Lammey says he would be "shocked" if Sambrailo wasn't the team's starting right tackle Week One.
I like hearing about Sambrailo's strong punch and mean streak. If this holds true throughout training camp and into the season, the Broncos could have a pretty intimidating right side of their offensive line.