With camp now over, players can return home (or wherever they like) for six weeks before returning to the team's Dove Valley headquarters on July 24. Training camp practices will begin on July 25.
Mini camp in the books. Headed to the airport, feels good to be going home. See you in a month Denver! ✌— Ryan Katz (@BigKatz5) June 13, 2013
Apart from McGahee's release, Thursday's practice drew few headlines. There were several developments worth noting, however. Let's take a look.
With the release of veteran Willis McGahee on Thursday, the team made one thing clear: young running backs are in style.
McGahee will turn 32 this season and is coming off knee surgery following a season in which he fumbled five times, so it's easy to see why the Broncos would want to move on.
"It’s just a conscious decision for us to get younger," Coach John Fox told DenverBroncos.com.
Getting younger is a very appropriate way to put it. The team's new backfield trio of Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball combine to average 22.6 years of age.
The Broncos went 10 years younger and saved $4.5 million in the process. That's not a bad day for the backfield.
For wide receiver Wes Welker, having a future Hall of Fame quarterback is the norm.
But while that remains the same, his new offense is very different. His former quarterback, Tom Brady, may have liked a route ran one way, but his current quarterback, Peyton Manning, may like it run a completely different way.
That's something he will have to get used to, which is something Welker admitted to the media after practice on Thursday:
It’s always easy to sit there on the chalkboard or talk about things, but until they actually happen in live action, it’s kind of hard to correct. It’s good to go out there and almost kind of screw it up a few times.
As Welker notes, sometimes it takes "screwing up" to find how Peyton wants things done:
Or at least screw it up once and then get it right the next time, to really understand how Peyton wants me to run routes and how the coaches want me to run routes. Really just get on the same page with everyone, Welker said.
It will take some time for Manning and Welker to get on the same page, but they are definitely headed in the right direction.
Talk about competition.
The Broncos have seven players—Mike Adams, Rahim Moore, David Bruton, Quinton Carter, Duke Ihenacho, Ross Rasner and Quentin Jammer—competing for two starting safety gigs, and that's not even factoring in rookie Kayvon Webster, who is a cornerback but is listed as a "defensive back" by the team.
Webster, like Jammer, is a cornerback first but may be moved around in Denver's secondary.
Meanwhile, the Broncos seem to have been experimenting at the safety position during minicamp.
On Wednesday, Jammer and Bruton spent time with the first-team defense, according to 104.3 The Fan's Darren McKee. On Thursday, Jammer and Bruton were in the mix again, as was Ihenacho.
Curiously, Adams and Moore—the two starters from last season—have yet to see time with the first-team defense (or if they have, it hasn't been reported). Moore showed great improvement in 2012 and Denver's coaching staff has only sung his praises, so it's strange to not see him running with the 1's.
Perhaps Denver is trying to motivate him by the competition. Or perhaps they are really that impressed by special teams ace David Bruton.
On a different note, Carter is still recovering from injury. Once he returns, he figures to also be a part of the defensive rotation after a strong performance in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers two years ago.
The Broncos are currently in a contract dispute with left tackle Ryan Clady.
Clady wants a long-term deal, but the Broncos want him to sign the one-year, $9.8 million franchise tag they used on him earlier in the offseason. This created a standoff between the two sides for months.
Both sides have strong arguments. Clady's agent has every right to ask for a long-term commitment because his client is one of the best at his position in the NFL. The Broncos, on the other hand, want to see how Clady recovers from shoulder surgery before locking him up long term.
A positive sign came on Tuesday, when NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the two sides are talking contract again. After practice on Thursday, Coach John Fox had the following to say when asked about Clady's contract negotiations:
That’s the business part; I’m not in that mix. At the end of the day I know we want Ryan and Ryan wants to be here. So I’m convinced that something good will happen.
That seems like a pretty good indication that something will get done before the regular season—if not before training camp.
When asked if he had any advice for quarterback Tim Tebow on joining the Patriots, Welker was less than enthusiastic to offer support for Tebow.
. @dmac1043 asked Wes Welker if he had advice for Tebow in New England. "Nope. Good luck." And with that, minicamp media sessions are over.— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) June 13, 2013
Short and sweet—or maybe not so sweet.
At any rate, Welker is loving playing with Manning, and that's all that matters.