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Emmanuel Sanders: ‘I’m back, baby!’

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The 10-year wide receiver participated in his first team drills since tearing his Achilles last December - and he looked good.

Good morning, Broncos Country!

A lot of good news out of Broncos training camp Wednesday afternoon, not the least of which was that Emmanuel Sanders participated in 7-on-7 drills and came down with his first catch since last December.

It was a diving catch no less.

No. 10 was all smiles after practice, laughing with reporters about whether that dive was really all that necessary.

“That’s what I kept telling the guys, ‘Did I have to dive?’ I don’t know if I had to dive. But you know what? When I got it, I said, ‘I’m back, baby!’ It felt good,” Sanders said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow and keeping on getting better.”

But Sanders knows to keep his enthusiasm dialed down a bit just to ease his recovering Achilles back into full tilt.

Even if it means holding back on the smack talk a few more weeks.

“There’s really no rush,” he said. “I do want to get back out there. I do want to go 1-on-1s and talk smack to Chris Harris Jr., and be myself, but at the same time, it’s a process and I have to respect that process.”

But Sanders wasn’t the only guy on offense making some good plays.

While the offense still struggled with some drops, a couple passes from Joe Flacco batted down by Derek Wolfe, and an interception by Justin Simmons on an overthrow of Noah Fant, a lot of receivers were getting some great snags.

“Tim [Patrick] is doing really well,” Sanders told the media, mentioning that wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni had spotlighted Patrick during film breakdown to highlight how well he was playing. “He was just talking about how he releases off the line, how well he’s playing, and how well he is doing. He was kind of using him as an example for the young guys to show them exactly how it is supposed to be done.”

Rookie Trinity Benson has impressed a lot of onlookers in his first six days of camp, including his 32-year-old mentor who sees quite a bit of himself in the young speedster.

“‘T.B.’ is doing well. He’s explosive. He’s fast. I told him the other day he reminds me of myself when I was a rookie,” said Sanders, noting Benson’s long speed and good hands. “He’s got a lot of upsides to him, so for ‘T.B.’ it’s more about honing that craft. I tell him, ‘You’re a white belt right now, but you are trying to be a black belt. You’re trying to master the art of route running, you’re trying to master the art of being a receiver.’ That’s what he has to do.”

Sanders highlighted the youth in the wide receivers room, pointing out that the next oldest wide receiver after him is 25. In fact, the combined years of NFL experience among all the wide receivers not named Emmanuel Sanders barely adds up to Sanders’ 10.

“I’m trying to take it easy on the young guys,” Sanders said, adding that the young guys are learning a lot and nothing out on the field is easy when you’re a rookie. “I know sitting on the sideline it looks easy. [You may think], ‘Oh my grandma could have made that catch,’ but it’s a lot harder than you think. They are just trying to get acclimated with that, but I’m pushing for those young guys. We still have 30 more days of camp, so hopefully we can turn that around and stop putting balls on the ground.”

Despite his support of the young wideouts, Sanders has no intention to baby them either. They drop a ball, they’re likely to hear about it from No. 10.

“No. I’m not that kind of guy. I am more like, ‘Get your shit together, let’s go,’” he said. “At the end of the day, we are all blessed to be able to play this game. It’s all about putting everything together and going out and being a baller. I tell them all the time: ‘You’re here for a reason. Be who you were in college because what you did in college got you here. Just let all the nerves go and understand that if it’s meant for you, it’s meant for you.’”

Second-year receiver Courtland Sutton said the problem with the drops is mainly just a lack of focus.

“I think honestly it’s just a focus,” he said, adding that players can’t let fatigue get in the way of doing their jobs. “It’s like, the O-Line is blocking their butt off so that Joe [Flacco] can get the ball off. And the running backs are picking up linebackers, or getting out, checking wide, or whatever. So, we can’t be selfish on those plays, even if you’re tired. It could be the seventh or eighth play in a row and when the ball comes our way we have to make those plays. It’s just a focus thing.”

One thing Sutton has been working on this offseason is expanding his route tree - something Sanders impressed upon him to improve.

The big man explained that while he knew all the routes last year, he realizes now that he had a lot of “tells” to defenders that prevented him from running a good route and getting separation.

“I really worked on being able to run all the intermediate routes, that I wouldn’t just be a guy that’s known for going deep on the outside,” he said. “That’s still something I have in my arsenal, but I want to be able to run all those routes so that it can set up those big-shot plays. So, I do appreciate Coach Rich [Scangarello] giving me those opportunities to go out there and fine-tune my craft and be able to show that I can run all those intermediate routes and get those first downs, keep the chains moving.”

Horse Tracks - docllv’s pick of the day

John Elway talks about a ‘different vibe’ with Vic Fangio, faith in Joe Flacco and his own future – The Athletic
The Broncos GM spoke to The Athletic about the season ahead and his own goals with three years left on his contract.

And then there was this gem:

Broncos News

Broncos Day 6 Camp report: Temperatures, tempers run hot
Noah Fant delivered some nice work in the passing game, but a scuffle that Head Coach Vic Fangio did not want to see marred the day.

Mason's Mailbag: Shelby Harris fits well up front
He batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage Monday and appears to be a good fit for Head Coach Vic Fangio's scheme.

In Broncos’ chippy afternoon practice, key veteran takes significant step toward return – The Athletic
Emmanuel Sanders, almost eight months into his recovery from Achilles surgery, participated in 7-on-7 drills for the first time this year.

#BroncosCamp, Day 6: Peyton Manning visits a fiery day of practice
Take an inside look at the Broncos' sixth day of training camp, including a visit from the one and only Peyton Manning.

Catching up on Camp: The biggest storylines from the first five days of Broncos training camp
Plus, learn what we'll have our eye on when camp continues Wednesday.

Broncos LB Bradley Chubb voted No. 82 among NFL’s top 100 players – The Denver Post
After a stellar rookie season, Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb was voted in at No. 82 on the NFL Top 100 list.

Does Mike Daniels make sense for the Denver Broncos?
The Denver Broncos have a solid defensive line already. How much better could their defense be with Mike Daniels in the middle of it?

Scangarello: Joe Flacco more athletic than any QB I've coached
Apparently, Flacco's feet aren't buried in figurative cement.

Sanders' progress is encouraging as Butt 'hits pothole' in return | 9news.com
The receiver participated in 7 on 7 for first time since last December and made nice catch. Butt sits out third consecutive practice.

Joe Flacco will feel the heat of the spotlight at Broncos camp - Denver Broncos- ESPN
The Broncos have a new coach and myriad issues, but all eyes will be on the 34-year-old QB.

Broncos longshots see motivation through Phillip Lindsay, Terrell Davis
Life in an NFL camp as a longshot requires faith. It requires believing what is not seen. Buried on the depth chart, Phillip Lindsay and Terrell Davis navigated the waters to become starters. They provide motivation for others attempting to realize their dream.

Broncos' 53-man roster projection includes four TEs, crowded secondary - Denver Broncos- ESPN
The Broncos have a new coach and new QB, but have to make tough choices with a crowded group at tight end and DB.

AFC West News

Roundtable: Chiefs, Chargers have Super Bowl dreams while rest of AFC West resets – The Athletic
Nicki Jhabvala (Broncos), Rich Hammond (Chargers), Nate Taylor (Chiefs) and Vic Tafur (Raiders) preview the AFC West.

Los Angeles Chargers’ RB Melvin Gordon will officially not report to training camp - Bolts From The Blue
Early Wednesday morning, Ian Rapaport and Adam Schefter both reported that Melvin gordon and his camp have informed the team that he will not report to training with the rest of the team on today.

Los Angeles Chargers OT Russell Okung placed on NFI list prior to start of training camp - Bolts From The Blue
Prior to the start of training camp tomorrow, the Chargers made a handful of roster transactions, including the placement of left tackle Russell Okung on the Non-Football Injury list (NFI).

Chiefs training camp 2019: Travis Kelce, Juan Thornhill are 100 percent - Arrowhead Pride
Dammit!

Packers release DL Mike Daniels, and the KC Chiefs might be interested - Arrowhead Pride
The Chiefs showed interest in trading for Mike Daniels before he was released

Raiders FB Keith Smith suffers injury, out to begin training camp - Silver And Black Pride
The first injury news of the season has hit, as Raiders fullback Keith Smith will be out of action for a bit, according to Ian Rapoport.

Raiders 2019 training camp battle: Nicholas Morrow vs Brandon Marshall - Silver And Black Pride
Weak side linebacker is up for grabs for the Raiders and there are two primary competitors for that job in training camp - Nicholas Morrow vs Brandon Marshall.

NFL News

Top 100 Players of 2019, Nos. 71-80: Jason Kelce makes list - NFL.com
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce finally makes an appearance in the Top 100 after eight years in the league. See who else rounds out the next ten counting down from 100.

Stunner! Packers parting ways with Mike Daniels - NFL.com
In a surprising move from Green Bay, it is releasing defensive lineman Mike Daniels, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday per a source informed of the decision.

Redskins QBs will split reps in three-way competition - NFL.com
When Washington begins training camp practices on Thursday, three quarterbacks will have an equal opportunity to win the Week 1 starting job, or so says Redskins coach Jay Gruden.

Jets to limit Le'Veon Bell's workload during camp - NFL.com
The New York Jets plan to keep running back Le'Veon Bell on a pitch count during training camp and in the preseason. Head coach Adam Gase said the team will be "smart" with the RB's workload.