For the first offseason since Peyton Manning retired, Broncos’ wide receivers do not have to wonder who will be throwing them the ball all season.
And that makes Emmanuel Sanders particularly happy.
“I appreciate it, for sure. This is the first time in two or three years that I’m not standing up here talking about a quarterback debate,” Sanders said after OTAs on Wednesday.
The biggest bonus in Sanders’ mind is the ability to develop chemistry during the offseason and continue it through regular season - and not wonder week to week who might be the starting QB.
“You can sit back and say we’re all professional football players and you’ve got to deal with that situation, but at the same time, obviously you can’t gain the same chemistry. You don’t have the same mindset,” he said. “When you’re going into individual routes, you have to go to one guy and then go with the next guy. You don’t really gain that chemistry. You’re not maximizing the opportunity.”
But Sanders, who continues rehabbing his ankle from a mid-season sprain last year, is happy to report that now the Broncos’ offense is maximizing its opportunity.
“Case is our guy. We can go from there,” he added. “We can work our butts off, try to gain chemistry and try to put up points.”
Sanders also likes the performance he’s seen so far from his new quarterback, calling Keenum confident and a leader.
“Every single pass that he’s thrown so far - I wouldn’t say every single - but a majority of the passes, 95 percent or 98 percent, have been there,” Sanders said. “He’s one of those guys that when he steps into the huddle, he’s that leader. You don’t have to second guess what his thought process is. We’re going to complete this ball. We’re going to keep the ball moving. I’m liking what I’m seeing from him so far.”
Sanders is also liking the playbook changes that began happening mid-season when Mike McCoy was fired and Bill Musgrave took over as offensive coordinator. Sanders pointed out that while McCoy’s playbook - which he called “Peyton Manning’s playbook” - was more complex, Sanders “loved it.”
In fact, he truly believes the biggest issue was not the playbook but the quarterback carousel last season.
“I think the biggest thing of it all is not even the playbook. It’s about us having a guy that is going to be consistent at quarterback play,” he said. “When I say consistent, we won’t have to worry about a quarterback battle. I think offensively we’re going to be better regardless.”
The No. 2 wide receiver also likes his new wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who Sanders says reminds him of himself.
“He definitely coaches us hard,” Sanders added. “When he gets up in front of a room, you see veins popping out of his head because he’s so passionate about what he’s talking about.”
#Broncos' @ESanders_10 says he likes what he's seeing from @casekeenum7 so far and is really happy to have a starting quarterback going into offseason workouts, training.— Doctor of Words (and tights) (@docllv) May 2, 2018
"We're maximizing our opportunity and working our butts off." pic.twitter.com/2e97nYJocm