The Denver Broncos have opened up their mandatory minicamp and some interesting storylines are already starting to develop.
The running back situation may be one of the most watched battles prior to the start of the regular season. Willis McGahee made his first appearance at Dove Valley yesterday after skipping voluntary workouts.
According to reports McGahee didn’t see much action with the first team yesterday, and he may be in for an uphill battle to regain his starting position.
“It feels good being around my teammates. Everybody is happy to see me and I’m happy to see them. I can’t complain,” McGahee said. “It is always going to be a heated competition because every year they are going to bring in a running back whether it’s a high draft [pick] or a low draft [pick]. Any given day, anybody can make plays at running back and you always have to stay on your toes.”
On why he skipped OTA’s, McGahee didn’t have much to say.
“I didn’t choose not to. I had a reason: family reasons,” he said.
Maybe so, but it probably put him behind the eight ball. The Broncos didn’t draft Montee Ball to hold a clipboard, and it might be his starting job to lose come training camp. Not to mention Knowshon Moreno is showing significant progress coming off his knee injury from last year.
Another interesting spot to keep an eye on is the secondary. There are a lot of new faces and moving pieces. Ex-Charger Quentin Jammer and special teams ace David Bruton are in the mix at safety. Youngsters Omar Bolden and Kayvon Webster are trying to earn some playing time, and newly acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is trying to get comfortable opposite of Champ Bailey.
When asked about Rodgers-Cromartie, Bailey gave a glowing endorsement.
“Well, we’re both good cover guys. I think we know when it’s all said and done, what we hung our hat on was covering everybody. I love having that on the opposite side of me. He prides himself on not getting beat. I just want to be able to work with him and help him as much as I can. He’s a guy—he knows what to do, but like I said, you don’t want to ever get complacent in this game,” Bailey said.
And of course, there is the progress of Peyton Manning. As hard as it is to believe, Manning could be even better in 2013 than he was during his inaugural season in Denver. He’s shown more strength on his throws and he’s much more comfortable than he was a year ago at this time.
“I feel better. I’ve certainly made strides when you talk about in comparison to this time in 2012. I feel better, I’ve made some improvements. I still have some improvements that I want to make. I think every player would probably tell you that and they have things that they want to improve on. I think this is the time that you certainly try to keep your strengths strong, but you work on your weaknesses as well and then try to improve those. There’s no question, because of the comfort in the offense, the more familiarity with the receivers. I just feel like after a year of the strength training with Luke and the work with [Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos], I certainly do feel better. It’s a better feeling than it was last year,” Manning said.
The holdout of tackle Ryan Clady will definitely be a story to follow. He was a no show yesterday but there were reports that he and the Broncos have begun talking about a long term contract.
Manning has a vested interest in Clady since he is protects his blind side, and he chimed in on the Clady contract situation.
“I think he will be here. We certainly hope that he’ll be here. I know there’s the business side of it. I’ve certainly kept in touch with Ryan [and know] that he wants to be here. I think that he wants to get that business part of it taken care of and there’s a process there that we’ll let occur, but there’s no question that we want Ryan to be here,” Manning said.