Quarterbacks, quarterbacks, quarterbacks.
Since Emmanuel Sanders joined the Broncos in 2014, it seems to him like all the media wants to talk about is the quarterbacks.
Can you blame a guy if he just wants to talk about something else for a while? Like the fact that he and Demaryius Thomas have become one of a handful of WR duos that put up multiple seasons in a row of more than 1,000 receiving yards each?
No, but until Denver figures out its QB situation for the longterm future, the quarterbacks will dominate the narrative.
Sorry, E. Welcome to “wide receiver heaven” where our obsession is in the drama of the guy throwing the ball rather than the Pro-Bowlers catching it.
#Broncos WRs @DemaryiusT & @ESanders_10 in 2016 became just 7th duo in NFL history with 3 consecutive seasons with 1,000 yds. each. pic.twitter.com/TAPnk3GrVB— Erich Schubert (@schube13) January 9, 2017
“It’s crazy because it feels like every year it’s a question about the quarterback, the quarterback, the quarterback,” the wide receiver said, adding that every year it’s the same answer - “the best guy is going to show.”
No Uncle Rico jokes this year. Sanders is all about moving forward with one of the two guys on the roster.
“Obviously we want a guy that can take us all the way to the Super Bowl and get us into the playoffs,” he added. “We’re going to see who that guy is.”
Despite Sanders’ obvious displeasure with some of Trevor Siemian’s decisions last season that too often left a wide-open No. 10 without a look, the veteran receiver says he’s confident the quarterback competition will bring out the best of the two guys currently in play – Siemian and Paxton Lynch.
And he’s not concerned if it takes all of camp to find the right guy.
“Obviously the earlier that we can get clarity, the better. But do we want to rush that process? No. We don’t want to rush that process,” Sanders said Monday. “We want to have the right guy. I know those two guys are excited. … competition brings out the best in you. We’re going to see who it brings out the best in. It’s going to be pretty cool to see.”
Sanders also believes both Siemian and Lynch are highly capable of getting the offense back on track. Both have the confidence and “all the throws.”
“I think we’re sitting here right now in a good position with two guys that are hungry, that want to be starters and that want to be franchise quarterbacks that believe in themselves,” Sanders added. “With that said, all I can do is go out and handle my business.”
Emmanuel Sanders says he can provide more in being on the same page with guys. Also wants offense to play with swagger & confidence.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) April 17, 2017
Sanders has been “handling his business” by adding a home gym to his jugs machine to give him easier access and more motivation to stay in shape during the offseason.
“Honestly, this probably the best I’ve felt in a long time just because having that gym and having that jugs machine out there and being able to train at home whenever I want,” he said. “That is what I did.”
And that’s going to be important since new head coach Vance Joseph said multiple times last week he is expecting some “juice” from his offense this year.
With Mike McCoy leading the charge, Sanders feels good it’s going to match his style – high-flying - and could get him back to that ‘wide receiver heaven’ he enjoyed three years ago.
"I'm excited. I believe it's going to be a pass-happy offense...hopefully put up some points and help our defense." - @ESanders_10 pic.twitter.com/WL6Fma2xvc— L.Lattimore-Volkmann (@docllv) April 17, 2017
“I’m excited. I obviously believe that it will be a pass-happy offense,” Sanders said, noting he looks forward to an offense more similar to his first year with Manning’s Broncos when he caught 101 passes for more than 1,400 yards. “Hopefully we can simulate that some type of way and put up points and score to help our defense. That is our goal.”
A big part of that goal is another buzz phrase from Joseph – playing with “swagger.”
“We understand the mindset is we’re going play with a swag and we’re going to play with a confidence that nobody can shatter and nobody can break no matter if we go out and it’s a three-and-out,” Sanders explained. “We still have to confidence level up. That’s what we’re trying to do right now.”
Sanders said he and the quarterbacks and other receivers will be planning a passing camp much like Manning had done every offseason with his brother Eli and a handful of receivers.
“Paxton actually texted me and we’re going to try and get it done. Actually, we are going to get it done. It’s just about location,” said the Texas native, adding he’d love to host it at his place in Houston. “I know Demaryius is on board and everybody is on board. It’s just about booking the flights and getting it done.”
However it gets done, Sanders mostly wants to insure that he and his offense aren’t watching the playoffs from home again this season. But in a strange way, that experience motivated him even more for this season.
“That’s all it did. It just motivated me to say, ‘Last year we fell short, this year we’ve got to change that. We’ve got to do something different. We’ve got to get into the playoffs,’” he said. “We’ve got to make the playoffs this year and that is the objective.”
The final piece of that puzzle for the offense is likely neither the quarterback nor the receivers.
“I tell people all the time that playing receiver is tough because it has to be a perfect play. The offensive line has to hold up and the quarterback has to make the perfect throw almost nine times out of 10,” Sanders said. “...The offensive line has to protect.”
Offensive line, offensive line, offensive line.