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Competition the key word this offseason for the Denver Broncos

They won a Super Bowl last season, but head coach Gary Kubiak says that's behind them. Now they are focusing on the new season and that means a lot of position battles for the starter spot.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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Whether we are talking about the quarterback, the punter or just about every position in between, the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos will be looking to fill several roster spots this coming season with the guy who "wins the battle" in training camp.

Not the least of which of those positions will be the Broncos' signal caller.

Although veteran Mark Sanchez has been penciled in as starter for now, Gary Kubiak has made it clear he's using a pencil with an eraser for that position on the depth chart. Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch are both considered in the mix for QB1.

"I'll have a depth chart going into training camp. That doesn't mean we won't operate totally evenly. But they will be listed somehow," Kubiak said Tuesday. "We'll sort that out here at some point. They're all very talented. They're all going to rep, so we'll see who wins the job."

Regardless of who is listed 1-2-3 right now, Kubiak is far more interested in getting each of them a lot of reps to get a handle on this offense because there "is no room for leeway" with the QBs anymore.

"There is really not. Mark is a veteran. He's had the book. Nobody has worked harder than Mark. He's done some really good things," Kubiak said. "We're going to hold him, Trevor and Paxton to that standard for our team. Work the hell out of them and they have to do their job."

One of the toughest battles in training camp won't be for a starter but rather for the third wide receiver. With Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders locked in for the top two spots, the guy lining up as No. 3 is a wide-open competition between Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, Jordan Norwood and "Sunshine" (occasionally known as Jordan Taylor).

"That's a good battle. Cody, Bennie, Sunshine and Jordan...we're kind of rotating those guys with how they work with the 2s and 3s. That's going to be a very competitive position," Kubiak said, adding that it will probably come down to how well each guy can play on special teams. "It usually comes down to how well they play for Joe [DeCamillis]. I just mentioned a couple of young receivers that I think have a chance to push him."

Speaking of pushing, Kubiak likes how the running back competition is shaping up between veterans C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman -€” as well as rookie Devontae Booker.

I think C.J. is ready to be an every-down guy...his condition level is the best I've seen since I've been here. Ronnie has come back better. 'Book' probably had his best day out here. It's going to be a very competitive group. -Gary Kubiak on competition at running back.

"I think C.J. is ready to be an every-down guy. Just watching him, I think his condition level is the best that I've seen it since I've been here," Kubiak said, noting Anderson's "really good" offseason. "Ronnie has come back better. ‘Book' probably had his best day out here, so it's going to be a very competitive group. I think C.J. is responding to that."

And this year, there's even a legitimate competition at fullback with running back Juwan Thompson and fullback Andy Janovich.

"They're doing great," said offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. "For Juwan, I think he's really developing. He's really bought into 'I can do a little of everything.' Andy is learning. They're both learning the position. I think they're doing a really good job."

Kubiak and his coaching staff aren't just looking at the veterans or draft picks to compete. They're expecting it from all the players, including (or maybe especially) from the college free agents.

"The first thing is they've all got to rep a great deal. We've gotten them a ton of work. They've made a lot of progress. I think they're ready to compete," Kubiak said Thursday, calling out Kyle Kragen and Kalif Raymond as two guys UDFAs who have stood out. "They're all ready to compete. I know that."

When it comes to the punter competition, special teams coach Joe DeCamillis knows he is going to have some tough decisions to make.

"I think it's been a real neck-and-neck competition. Riley [Dixon] has got a lot of ability, but Britton [Colquitt] is a smooth, good veteran," DeCamillis said after practice yesterday. "It's going to be a heck of a competition going into training camp."

Andrew Mason observed the competition on Wednesday:

Each blasted one punt with a hang time of greater than five seconds; Colquitt uncorked a punt that stayed in the air for 5.02 seconds, while Dixon had one blast that consumed 5.09 seconds. Colquitt was more consistent; each of his five punts had a hang time of at least 4.60 seconds. But on Dixon's final punt, he turned in a 4.86-second hang time on a kick that he placed near the left sideline, well outside the numbers.

With Aqib Talib out the rest of the offseason, cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Kayvon Webster have gotten more reps on the first team defense. Both Wade Phillips and fellow corner Chris Harris Jr. said the two players have really developed a lot in this offseason, which will make them more competitive in a very deep secondary.

"Roby and Kayvon are working hard," said Phillips, noting that both played well last year in their more limited roles - Roby making key plays on defense and Webster coming up big for special teams. "Kayvon, I'd like to see more because he's a good player."

Although Justin Simmons is a rookie at possibly the Broncos' strongest position -€” safety -€” Phillips noted the young player's ball and body awareness.

"He made quite a few plays. We chart every day how many plays they make, what they do well and what they do wrong," Phillips said. "He's in the plus territory, so he's doing well."

But perhaps the most intriguing competition on the defense will be the one for Danny Trevathan's replacement.

"We're going to wait and see. We've got two guys that really played a whole lot last year and played well when [Trevathan] wasn't in there," Phillips noted. "Corey [Nelson] and Todd [Davis] are doing really well in there now. We feel like we've got a good rotation if we have to or if one of them steps up and plays all the time. We can do both."

Let the competition(s) begin.

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