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Broncos players promise better effort in 2015

C.J. Anderson considered his lack of production in the Colts-Broncos playoff game a big reason for the team's loss, so the running back is using that to fuel his hunger for this upcoming season.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Oh, was another week of some great stuff on the field ... and some incredible nonsense off of it ... plus some pretty funny stuff around it (nice one, Von).

But since I'm a huge fan of bear-wrestling defensive line coach Bill Kollar's attitude toward nonsense, we're going to stick to the good stuff on the field.

Broncos running back C.J. Anderson is coming into OTAs a fit and trim 223 pounds, having earned the right to be the named "starter" in camp.

But No. 22 isn't particularly proud of his play last season.

You read that right. The guy who ran for 849 yards in the regular season (only starting seven of those games), crossed the goal line eight times and earned a spot at the Pro Bowl in his second year in the NFL, believes he let himself and his team down for his effort during the playoff game against the Colts.

Whaaaat? Anyone else recall Anderson being one of the few Broncos with any positive results in that game?

But the fact that the running back didn't score at all and the team didn't advance tells Anderson all he needs to know heading into the offseason training - he did not play as well as he should have.

And that, he says, is "unacceptable."

"I had 24 touches, and I didn't get in the end zone to help my team win. That's just unacceptable," Anderson said. "But I'm still hungry because I know last season I was a big key why we didn't move on to the next round."


Anderson also believes the pressure for the offensive line to do well in run protection this coming season is as much on the running backs as it is on the big uglies.

"As a running back, we'll make the right cut to make them right. That is our job," he said of their decision making on the lanes to run. "It would be unacceptable and wrong to miss the wrong spots to make them look bad and make us look bad. It would be wrong."

Anderson even put his fellow running backs' reputations on the line by promising - yes, promising - that no matter who is in the backfield, the rusher will make good decisions and find the right cut.

[The O-Line] is looking good. There are some bumps in the road, but it's June. We don't play until September. We're going to get it going. We'll get them right.  -C.J. Anderson, running back.

And if you're asking Anderson, there's no reason to panic over the O-Line (something I told you last week not to do, so now you really can't panic).

"They're looking good. There are some bumps in the road, but it's June. We don't play until September," Anderson said. "We've got a lot of time to fix things up. We're going to get it going. Like I said, it doesn't matter who's up there up front, I trust them and they trust us, and as a backfield, we'll get them right."

That's a lot of confidence for a young guy whose only been a starter for half a season.

But part of Anderson's certainty comes from his love for the new offensive scheme, which he calls "easy and fun."

"When there are pads, there is one tempo, which is full-go," Anderson said. "I can't wait to see how it looks with pads on, but right now it's looking good with no pads. I'm ready to go."

Anderson says he and his fellow RBs - Montee Ball and Juwan Thompson - keep pushing each other to get it right.

"We're all pushing each other and we all know we have the talent and the ability to make this team go," Anderson said, adding that each running back believes he is crucial to the offense. "We all feel like it doesn't run without us. If we go out there and give it our all and give it our 100, everyone follows behind us."

The same might be said for the tight end group as well. Between Virgil Green, Owen Daniels, James CaseyJoe Don Duncan, Marcel Jensen and Dominique Jones, there's a lot of competition for only a couple of spots.

I've always been impressed with Brock and his composure and how he commands the huddle. He's learned a lot from Peyton and it shows in the huddle.   -Virgil Green, tight end

"We've been catching a lot of passes out there," Green said, adding that the new offense makes it tough for defenses to hone in on whether the play will be a pass or a run. "We're going to go out there and compete. For the most part, each of us has to focus on our job and what we're doing. We can't too much focus on, ‘He just caught that ball' or ‘I didn't.' We just focus on our job. We work well together. We're just having fun out there."

And if the running backs and tight ends are having fun, that means the quarterbacks probably are too. And by quarterbacks, that does include Brock Osweiler, who is beyond ecstatic with his revived apprenticeship under Peyton Manning (tutoring that is actually including playing time with the first-team offense).

"I've always been impressed with Brock and his composure and how he commands the huddle," Green said Thursday, noting the increased confidence from the backup because of the added reps this year. "[Osweiler's] that guy right now. He's in the huddle commanding things, telling us if we're not playing so well, calming down guys, relaxing and then the next play. He's learned a lot from Peyton, and it shows in the huddle."

But don't worry, Broncos fans, word on the street is that our  MVP quarterback is also looking good - as confirmed by both Green and Anderson.

"[Peyton] looks good," Green said. "He's putting a lot of balls in the right place. Peyton is Peyton to me. He's always going to go out there and find a way to be ‘18.'"

Peyton is Peyton to me. He's always going to go out there and find a way to be '18.'  -Virgil Green, tight end

"Being 18" is what everyone is counting on, but Green, Anderson and the rest of the offense are chomping at the bit to help 18 do just that a little bit easier.

"No matter what season I had last year or what season Peyton had last year, at the end of the day, we have no ring on our finger," Anderson said, adding that he doesn't want to be a one-year wonder in the NFL. "We want to bring that Lombardi back here for sure."

And in the event the offense cannot get it done on its own, Malik Jackson believes the defense can handle it.

"That's our goal every year - to go out there and be a defense that goes out there and doesn't rely on the offense," Jackson said, adding that now that many of the defenders have been playing together for a while, including T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr. plus Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall, which will make the defense menacing to opponents. "We'll be one of those teams that is a more defensive-led team. We want to be because defense wins championships. That's just what we're working for, and I think we can get that."

Mostly, Jackson wants to see the defense give it all every game.

"I think we've just got to keep practicing our pass rush moves and just be ready to take advantage of situations when we do get those one-on-ones," Jackson said, salivating over the potential with three pass rushing threats in Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Shane Ray on the field at the same time to create one-on-ones for the defensive line.

"We've just got to be able to go out there and make the best of our plays and get those sacks presented to us, and leave nothing on the field this year," Jackson said.

Except maybe...the opposing team's quarterback.

Horse Tracks:

New Denver Broncos coaches say it loud and proud
The noise level at Broncos practices has been cranked up with a new group of vocal assistant coaches.

'Fearsome Threesome' could provide a 'tornado' rush for Broncos - The Denver Post
The Broncos feature three legitimate pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller and new addition Shane Ray. Ware views them as a 'tornado' force to disrupt the opposing offense.

Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware ready to help Ty Sambrailo learn at left tackle - Denver Broncos Blog - ESPN
The Broncos like the idea of having Ty Sambrailo play against upper-tier pass-rushers -- a pair that includes not just one, but two, Pro Bowl players.

Shane Ray won't get rookie treatment from Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware
The Denver Broncos' veteran defensive stars said they already know enough about Shane Ray to understand what he can accomplish as a rookie.

Von Miller says Broncos players fine each other for flatulence ... and he's the most frequent offender - ESPN
The NFL and its teams are known to be rather strict.But if Von Miller's claims are true, the players themselves can be downright draconian.

Virgil Green working to learn offense inside and out
Tight end Virgil Green has a knowledge base of the new offense but now he's looking to get the details down to understand it in its entirety.

Brock Osweiler's command, composure impress teammates
The fourth-year QB has seen some first-team work, and his command of the huddle has captured teammates' attention.

Brandon Marshall planning to be ready for training camp this summer - The Denver Post
Forget the Broncos' reshuffled offensive line for a second. Equal concern remains about a player standing across from the group: Brandon Marshall.

Why are the Denver Broncos falling on many NFL power rankings? — The Sports Show
Woody Paige and Les Shapiro discuss why the Denver Broncos are trending downward in the eyes of many analysts.

Ward's Finals focus is on Warriors
A native of the Bay Area, safety T.J. Ward isn't afraid to to show off his Warriors fandom.

Just win baby: Raiders support NBA's Warriors in ad -
The Raiders offered their Oakland neighbors best of luck in a full-page ad in Thursday's edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. Will the Warriors heed the Silver and Black's advice?

Additional owners meeting on L.A. set for August 11 -
The NFL will add an additional owners meeting on August 11 in Chicago to discuss the Los Angeles relocation possibilities, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.

Jimmy Garoppolo struggles in Patriots practice -
Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo struggled in the two-minute drill Thursday, tossing four interceptions. Find out what else we learned from Thursday's OTAs.

Buffalo Bills could be Rex Ryan's best team yet
Rex Ryan will tell you the Buffalo Bills team he has now could be his best team yet. Given that he's never had a franchise quarterback, he'll also be able to rely on a familiar blueprint.

After Further Review: Why Jets are smart not to scrap Geno Smith yet -
Ship Geno Smith to the scrap heap. Right, Jets fans? Wrong. The tape shows Smith's growth late last season -- and why he could soar.

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta back at practice -
Ravens TE Dennis Pitta, who is rehabbing from a surgically repaired right hip for the second time, was back on the practice field Thursday and participated in individual drills.

Report: Dolphins' Caleb Sturgis injured playing kickball -
Never say a child's game is innocent. Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis reportedly injured his plant leg in a team game of kickball. Sturgis, who is on the hot seat, will miss at least two to three weeks.

Jameis Winston practices with Bucs' No. 2 offense -
The No. 1 overall pick spent Thursday with the No. 2 offense. Coach Lovie Smith downplayed Jameis Winston taking reps with the second-team offense, saying they wanted the rookie to see time with different combinations.