Good morning, Broncos Country!
Two more days ...
Although a ton of attention will be paid to the quarterbacks and skill players during Thursday night’s preseason game against the Bears, any Broncos fan interested in a more appropriate glimpse of how the offense may fare this season should really follow one thing – the offensive line.
Because if “as the quarterback goes, so goes the offense,” then surely “as the offensive line goes, so goes the quarterback” has some merit. Last year’s offensive woes cannot be fully blamed on the offensive line, but no one can deny it wasn’t a factor.
And from camp reports and coaches’ comments, it’s hard not to get excited that it may finally be better.
It might even be good.
“I think it’s just everybody wants to get better. Everybody knows what has been said about them the last couple years. They’re not satisfied with it. I can see that every day,” said right guard Ron Leary, a free agent pickup from the Cowboys this offseason.
Leary called the line a “work in progress” still but believes each player is improving – and that bodes well for this line and this offense.
“Everybody is just trying to come out and focus on one thing to get better at,” he said. “I think as we continue to do it individually, as a group we’ll get better. That’s kind of where we’re at right now.”
A healthy Matt Paradis plus a solid new veteran in Ron Leary will give this group some great leadership. Menelik Watson brings toughness and energy, according to Von Miller, and rookie left tackle Garett Bolles has played well enough so far to earn a starting gig on Thursday, giving credence to the hype over the Broncos’ first-round draft pick.
Hopefully as Allen Barbre – picked up just over a week ago from the Eagles – gets up to speed on the offensive playbook, this O-line group will be a strong mix of experience, athleticism and grit.
“I definitely see it,” Leary said about the increased physicality of this line. “That’s just something that will come more with the confidence we gain in each other, our game and the playbook. Once we really get the playbook down 100 percent, we can play a lot faster. When you play faster, you’re a better player. We’ve been making progress in that direction. I don’t think anyone is satisfied and we’re just going to keep working.”
As a first-round pick, Bolles set a high standard for himself coming into training camp, but working against the best edge rusher in the game has helped the rookie get up to NFL game speed quicker.
“Von is the best player in the world for a reason. Above all he does, he teaches me every single day. I go and watch film and I learn,” Bolles said, noting that he learns especially when Miller beats him on a play. “It’s a win-win for both of us. But every day, we go in the locker room and we talk about how practice went to the day. We’re good friends for a reason. It just makes me a better player every single day.”
One thing I noticed from #Broncos camp as well -- no player gave more effort than Garett Bolles on a per play basis. He's fun to watch.— Sayre Bedinger (@SayreBedinger) August 4, 2017
When Bolles takes the field on Thursday, it will be the first pro football game he’s ever attended, let alone played in.
He admits he may be a little nervous before it starts. But once the whistle blows, it’ll be like any other game: “I block everything out, and I’m just ready to put people in the dirt.”
That’s what I’ll be watching for on Thursday.
Horse Tracks - docllv’s picks of the day
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Which new member of this Broncos offensive line has you the most excited about improved play?
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