Welcome to this week’s installment of the Mile High Mailbag. In this column, we answer your questions via social media on pressing matters that concern the Denver Broncos. You can read last week’s edition by clicking here.
@CJ_Broncos What are your thoughts on John Boyett? Does he have a shot at the 53?
— Mile High Mane-iac (@MileHighManeiac) July 29, 2014
I talked about Boyett’s impact, before the Broncos donned pads over the weekend. Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t participated in practice since Friday because of a non-serious lower back injury.
However, in his short time with the team, he has certainly made his presence known. Boyett has sparked the 2nd team defense with his fiery attitude and has even mixed it up a little bit with tight end, Gerrell Robinson.
But like the old saying goes, “you can’t make the club from the tub”. It’s still very early, but if Boyett can’t get healthy, and show the coaches what he’s made of, he won’t stand a chance at making the final 53.
As it stands, he’s been intense in practice, but has also been prone to some mental errors. The coaches have made it clear to him that he needs to get that side of his game up to par with his physical style.
The Broncos have quite the safety competition going. Rahim Moore and T.J. Ward are locks for the final roster. You could also justifiably include David Bruton in that group, too, because of his elite abilities in special teams.
The true competition for the final 2 safety spots available will come down to Quinton Carter, Duke Ihenacho and Boyett. The Broncos are high on Carter and Ihenacho was the team’s starting strong safety in 2013.
Again, it’s still way early, but more than anything, Boyett needs to get back on the grass and compete with his teammates in pads. And I love his style of play, but if he can’t get up to snuff on the mental side, then he doesn’t belong with the team. If he can get healthy soon, I like his chances, though.
— Tarrell Woods (@BroncoFanatic26) July 30, 2014
I wouldn’t say that reports on Nate Irving in this year’s training camp have been glowing, but he’s been quietly receiving solid marks. He’s shown great play awareness and is executing his assignments.
From a Mike linebacker just stepping into a starting role for the first time, I’m not sure you could ask for any more than that. We all know how huge 2014 is for Irving.
The Broncos are giving him every opportunity to succeed. I think he will. Although there was some momentum for Lamin Barrow to win the Mike job, following OTAs, he has quietly faded into the background, which is typical for a rookie campaign and the traditional ups and downs therein.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Broncos deploy the linebackers in the Nickel and Dime packages. Based on his history, it’s likely that we’ll see a lot of T.J. Ward as a Nickel LB, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nate Irving on the field quite a bit in such situations, too.
I believe that Irving will go on to solidify his role as the starting Mike in this defense. Whether or not that materializes into satiating our expectations in him as the Broncos’ “Mike LB of the future”, remains to be seen. But I think 2014 will be a very successful campaign for @JusSayNate.
@CJ_Broncos DEN's amassing elite personnel.Still, we presently only have 87 out of a 90man roster. Where do u think personnel will be addad?
— armando cuesta (@armandocuesta1) July 30, 2014
Great question. The Broncos answered it today, in part, by signing two defensive linemen. Cody Larsen and Will Pericak . Larsen is a defensive tackle out of Southern Utah and Pericak a defensive end, out of Colorado.
It’s an interesting move, because the Broncos have had an embarrassment of riches, heretofore, on the defensive line, so I’m not quite sure what the exact motivations were in signing these two young D-linemen.
Marvin Austin has been dominating training camp so far, relegating Mitch Unrein to the potential roster bubble. But in the NFL, you can never have too many defensive linemen.
Picking up Pericak could partially be motivated by the minor injury to DeMarcus Ware. Although it’s nothing serious, it has held him out of camp over the last couple of days and the Broncos need bodies at the position. Quanterus Smith and Kenny Anunike have stepped up in Ware’s absence, fully taking advantage of the opportunity of more reps.
This new signing brings the Broncos’ roster to 89 guys. If the team chooses to roster one more player, I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes in the form of an offensive lineman. But it also wouldn’t shock me if they stand pat at 89 for the short term.