Good morning, Broncos Country!
Pop quiz - Which of the following is incorrect about today?
- T-minus 5 days until Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos must figure out their future relationship
- T-minus 21 days until Training Camp
- It is my mom's birthday
- All of the above
Correct answer: B.
"Whaaaat!?" you say. "Training Camp starts July 31, exactly 21 days from today!"
And you'd be correct. But the rookies must report on July 27, making the ever-so-desired beginning to Training Camp actually getting underway a few days earlier.
I know...trick question. But the important thing is that we are actually just 17 days away from meaningful offseason football starting up again soon when the Broncos' draft picks - Shane Ray, Ty Sambrailo, Max Garcia, Lorenzo Doss, Darius Kilgo, Trevor Siemian, Taurean Nixon, Josh Furman - join a dozen other newbies for rookie version of Training Camp before the real thing opens four days later.
And as the new guys get some extra education before the real fun begins, it is going to be interesting to have relevant rookie competition in camp this year.
The top rooks to watch will no doubt include the top two draft picks - Shane Ray and Ty Sambrailo. Sambrailo - who went from "playing for a spot at right tackle" to "starting left tackle" - is going to have a lot of eyes on him as he will be the main hurdle between opponents and the quarterback.
So far this offseason Sambrailo has risen to the challenge mentally. The physical test will be coming in a few weeks.Virgil Green and DeMarcus Ware believe Sambrailo and the rest of the O-line can meet that challenge.
"I think we have a lot of smart guys that are buying in. They're studying," Green said. "Rico [Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison] comes in and asks them questions. Guys are getting the questions right. So that means that they're truly studying, because as long as you're prepared in that aspect, we'll be able to get the job done."
Ware even gave the rookie some props after a little scuffle between the two in practice last month.
"He's waking up. His aggressiveness is coming out. That's what it's about," Ware told Andrew Mason about Sambrailo. "When you're playing that left tackle, you've got to let guys know that you're that cornerstone of the offense. He's doing a great job."
And Ray, the No. 1 draft pick who sat out a good bit of the OTAs and minicamps to nurse a toe injury, is going to be testing his skills at the pro ranks for practically the first time this summer.
Ray anticipates being full-go at Training Camp and is already laying down some bold predictions, such as stating he believes he can earn Defensive Rookie of the Year. After all, setting lofty goals and reaching them is what Ray does, having been named SEC DPOY his senior season.
"I said I wanted to be SEC Defensive Player of the Year. I wrote it down," he said earlier this week while participating in a Play 60 event. "I wanted one sack a game, and I actually did better than that."
Though Ray is taking his toe injury day by day, he does claim to feeling 100 percent.
"My foot feels great. I feel like 100 percent," Ray told Broncos TV earlier this week. "It's not even something that comes to mind when I'm performing or doing anything on the field anymore, so that's really good for me."
And really good for Broncos fans who have been chomping at the bit to see Ray work in with edge rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. The rookie DE is pretty excited about it too.
"DeMarcus is very technically sound because he has that veteran experience. He sees things a little bit different. And Von is more so just a pure athlete: reaction, getting off the ball and being able to do things on the stop of a dime," Ray told Broncos TV, adding that he loves getting input from both.
"And so it's basically you're combining two different guys' kind of pass rush and using the things you learn from both of them, adding it to your game and of course it's just making me better because I have tools that I'm gaining from both of them," Ray added.
Besides these two obvious choices, which rookie players are you most interested in watching during Training Camp?
Tell us in the comments (after you wish my mom a Happy Birthday!) :)
Last call (really this time) for the Hall
MHR Hall of Fame 2015
MHR Hall of Fame 2015
Remember when I said voting ended on July 6 and voting would begin July10? Well, I lied. A little. Due to unforeseen challenges (i.e., being stuck inside a convention hall at a Taekwondo tournament the last four days), the voting will begin next week...so continue with the recs if you haven't yet!!
- MHR "Broncos" Hall of Fame nominations
- MHR "Authors" Hall of Fame nominations
- MHR "Members" Hall of Fame nominations
- MHR Sportsperson of the Year nominations
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