So week one of training camp is in the books and here are a few things that I took away from it.
Team Scrimmage: The Denver Broncos had its annual team scrimmage at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (or as I prefer to call it, Mile High) and our fan base proved once again why we are one of, if not the best fan base(s) in the NFL. Over 44,000 fans showed up in the pouring rain to watch our boys further hone their skills in advance of the 2013 season. According to sources, Manny Ramirez, Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, and the combination of Peyton Manning and Wes Welker have all been impressive to this point in camp. Obviously the Manning to Welker connection is a major key to the Broncos success in 2013. However, I will argue that with the injuries to centers J.D. Walton and C.J. Davis the development of Ramirez at center is just as critical. Per reports there are no apparent issues of the snap exchange and that is extremely important for Manning to feel comfortable with his center. Overall the scrimmage was described as productive and sharp per various media outlets.
Depth Chart: The Broncos first depth chart of the pre-season has been released on its website and there are a few position battles of interest that are up for grabs. At running back, Ronnie Hillman is getting the nod over Montee Ball. The tight end position is intriguing because Joel Dreessen, listed first on the depth chart is on the shelf for the remainder of camp and Jacob Tamme is also dinged up. That should give the coaching staff and us fans an opportunity to see if former football, basketball, and track standout at Nevada, Virgil Green can take that next step to becoming a go-to guy in the future plans of the Broncos. The offensive line is pretty much what we figured with the aforementioned Manny Ramirez listed as the #1 center. On defense, Nate Irving is first in line to take the mantle at inside linebacker while obviously being flanked by Von Miller and Wesley Woodyard. Raheem Moore is number one at free safety and I like that. Moore has handled the disappointment of the divisional playoff game with professionalism and a sense of ownership that seems to have motivated him. I expect big things from him in 2013. Lastly, this guy named Peyton Manning is first at the QB position. I think the Broncos feel that this guy has a future with the club.
Montee Ball: In addition to having a good week on the field, Ball had an exciting week off of it as he got to meet his idol, Terrell Davis. He stated after being drafted in the 2nd round in April’s draft that he was excited to play in Denver because of his idol; citing the posters of Davis on his bedroom walls growing up in Wentzville, MO. However this was not a photo op or autograph session, rather an opportunity for Ball to pick Davis’ brain.
“Honestly, what I told him is just how much pride he took in pass protection, and he told me, ‘That’s the quickest way to get on the field,’” Ball said. “Like he said, ‘That’s a lot of money right there, No. 18,’ so you’ve got to protect the pot of gold.”
School was in session as Davis imparted the wisdom that made him a 2000 yd rusher, league MVP and Super Bowl MVP (and in my humble estimation, a should-be Hall-of-Famer).
“That was really the reason why I started to play, or got in,” Davis said. “Most running backs can run, most running backs can catch, but blocking is the key. If you can block, you will be in the game. You will be that guy who becomes that complete back.”
ICYMI: Future Broncos QB, Brock Osweiler got an opportunity to change his number back to 17, which he wore at Arizona State. This also allowed him to shake the bad vibes of the number 6 which was last worn by a certain sulking, petulant QB who once called Mile High home.
Now that camp is underway, I am getting a bit excited about the prospects that the 2013 season holds. I just hope it doesn’t break my heart like the 2012 did.