NFL Wire News

Young Broncos players get reps; veterans watch

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — You had to look to the sideline Monday to see most of the Denver Broncos’ key players.

Quarterback Peyton Manning, linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and guard Louis Vasquez were just the headliners of a slew of Broncos’ first-teamers who sat out the day’s work.

In the case of linebackers Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan, the rest was a result of their continued rehabilitation from injuries. But for the others, it was all about getting the younger players some additional repetitions.

“Last week, that day that we did it, it wasn’t very good. Today it was actually pretty good,” head coach Gary Kubiak said after Monday’s practice. “I like the tempo of practice. There’s always mistakes, but we practiced a lot better with our young players today than we did last week.”

Kubiak said he had days like this when he coached the Houston Texans, but planned to emphasize it more after seeing how the Baltimore Ravens worked their young players into offseason and training-camp work. Given the Ravens’ success at cultivating young talent, the philosophy seems to work, and could pay dividends in Denver.

“We’ll continue this process. I want to practice at least one day with those other guys sitting,” Kubiak said. “I just think it’s important. Probably you’re going to see it some in training camp.”

No one could benefit more from the veteran rest days than backup quarterback Brock Osweiler. Getting him and 2013 seventh-round pick Zac Dysert as many snaps as possible is a priority. On Monday Osweiler worked with an offense that was a meld of first- and second-teamers. He appeared to make progress in learning how to operate under center, although he did throw an interception and fumble a snap.

“I’m asking him to read some things a little bit different. I teach guys to read with their feet, and how they hitch and how they do things. So that’s different for him,” Kubiak said.

Some backups, like offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo, were thrust into the spotlight regardless. Sambrailo, the Broncos’ second-round pick this year, moved to left tackle in place of Ryan Clady after the four-time Pro Bowler tore his left anterior cruciate ligament at the first OTA on May 27.

Sambrailo is working alongside left guard Ben Garland, a veteran who has never started in the NFL and who was a defensive tackle until 2013. That leads to some hiccups.

“The first day we were kind of stepping on each other a little bit and we didn’t really know each other’s steps on certain blocks and plays,” Sambrailo said. “Now you kind of get in a groove as you take more reps.”

Sambrailo’s move gave more snaps to Michael Schofield, who is attempting to learn both tackle spots in case the Broncos need him for a swing role.

“I think you throw everything at them and you see what’s sticking and where their strengths are,” Kubiak said. “It’s our job as coaches, by the time we get to the fall, to do what they do best.

“But right now, we need to see how much they can handle. When they’re in mental overload, how well do they practice? So we’re trying to find out a lot about them as people, and they’re getting reps that they never knew that they were going to get. So we’ll see.”


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