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Meinerz doesn’t want his belly - or his roster position - to be a distraction

The rookie offensive lineman is focused on learning the playbook and being a contributor.

denverbroncos.com

Quinn Meinerz doesn’t always roll up his jersey to “let the belly breathe” - a phrase he has been known for since the Senior Bowl in January where he earned the nickname, The Gut.

It often just rolls up on its own. I mean, have you seen that belly?

But when he gets hot, that belly needs some air.

And the two-day rookie mini camp this past weekend was proof that both scenarios happen often.

“The altitude, I’ll definitely say a little bit,” Meinerz said in response to a question about feeling the effects. “That’s why the belly was breathing a little too much yesterday (laughs). It’s something I’ll get used to. It comes with time and it comes with training. It’ll definitely be an advantage later. Right now, it’s something I have to manage.”

But one thing he is already managing is the potential distraction his “belly” could be. While he always wants to be himself, he’s cognizant of what his real mission is.

“I don’t want to be a distraction as a rookie,” he said. “There are already a lot of things on you, and I don’t want to be a distraction at all.”

Like learning the playbook.

But working under Hall-of-Fame offensive lineman Mike Munchak has certainly been a highlight for Meinerz.

“He’s a great coach, and he’s been teaching me a lot of great things,” he said, adding Munchak has him working at center righ now. “He’s been really helping me learn this playbook.”

Meinerz also has a lot of perspective on his role right now. Since he’s practicing at a position filled by Lloyd Cushenberry, a top rookie pick for center in 2020, Meinerz is not necessarily worrying about whether he’ll be starting when the season opens.

“It’s kind of selfish right now. I’ve got to get myself up to the level where the vets are and to be able to contribute,” he said. “It’s not, ‘Hey, I want to be a starter.’ It’s, ‘Hey, I really want to help contribute to this team and help them win’.”

As far as this former DIII football player from Wisconsin-Whitewater is concerned, his focus is to make the team.

“When the veterans get here, I want to be a great practice partner for them to constantly help improve their craft,” he added. “Something like [starting] isn’t really on the radar right now. I’m focused on this rookie mini camp and taking it day-by-day. You can’t worry about those kinds of things.”

Another thing he’s not spending one second worrying about is the recent injury-away-from-the-facility-issue that impacted offensive lineman Ju’Wuan James and DaeSean Hamilton - both injured during their own workouts.

Although a stupid question from a reporter tried to ask the rookie his opinion on it, Meinerz already handled the press like a pro:

“I can’t really comment on those situations because that’s not what was happening to me,” he said. “The only thing I can focus on right now is going to practice every single day and trying to keep getting better. Those things aren’t really on my mind right now.”

Poll

Meinerz isn’t thinking about it, but we always are - so which player do you think ends up being starting center for Denver in September?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Lloyd Cushenberry
    (1316 votes)
  • 18%
    Quinn Meinerz
    (323 votes)
  • 3%
    Graham Glasgow
    (56 votes)
  • 0%
    A current backup (Schlottman/Morris)
    (12 votes)
1707 votes total Vote Now