Early Observations from Denver Broncos Training Camp
On Tuesday, the Denver Broncos had their first day off since training camp opened. With just five days of practice in the books, there is already a lot to talk about.
High hopes surround this team as it heads into the 2013 season, and the eyes of many will be on what takes place in the Broncos' camp.
Thus far, the Broncos have experienced a season-ending injury, but they have also seen flashes of a very strong team in some of their practice sessions.
They will resume practice on Wednesday at 10:25 a.m. MT. For a look at the team's entire training camp schedule, go to DenverBroncos.com.
For now, here are some observations from camp so far.
Brock Osweiler Is Coming Along Nicely
Most fans of the Denver Broncos probably don't want to see Brock Osweiler play this season, unless, of course, he is coming in to take a knee in a game in which the decision has been rendered.
However, the hope is that he can be the quarterback of the future. That is far from certain at this point, especially considering his limited college experience that consisted of just 24 games.
But according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Osweiler looks terrific so far in practice. He is more familiar with the team and the offensive system and has come into camp showing a lot of confidence.
This is great news for Broncos fans, and it should be very fun to watch him in preseason games this year.
The Center Position May Be Cause for Concern
The Broncos were already relying on a player they considered a second option at center in the first place when they re-signed Dan Koppen to fill in for J.D. Walton, who is still not fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered last year.
But on the third day of training camp, the Broncos lost Koppen for a year due to a torn ACL. So now what?
The Broncos will rely heavily on Ramirez until Walton returns, but he may miss the entire season. The team also brought in Steve Vallos, a veteran player who has appeared in 44 games for four different teams in his career.
No matter who starts the season at center, it won't be the Broncos' first—or even second—choice.
Duke Ihenacho Emerging at Safety
The Broncos have several players vying for roster spots at the safety position, including Rahim Moore, Quinton Carter, Mike Adams and Quentin Jammer. How many people would have pegged Duke Ihenacho for a roster spot?
Ihenacho has impressed in camp so far. As Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver has been reporting on a daily basis, Ihenacho is catching the eye of the coaching staff with his spirited play.
Ihenacho already has a couple of interceptions in camp and has knocked down several other passes.
An undrafted rookie out of San Jose State a year ago, Ihenacho stuck with the Broncos as a member of the practice squad. He was even activated for two games later in the season.
If he keeps up the type of play he has shown so far in camp this summer, it will be tough to keep him off of the roster.
The Team Is Fine at Running Back
In the middle of June, the Broncos made the decision to part ways with Willis McGahee. Though he finished the 2012 season on injured reserve, he ran for 1,199 yards in 2011.
Some fans may have questioned this decision, but it was a clear signal that they like the players they have in place.
Ronnie Hillman opened camp as the starting running back, and if he shows improvement with his pass-blocking skills, he could very well be the starter on opening day.
Rookie second-round pick Montee Ball has also seen some first-team reps. After a very good college career at Wisconsin, Ball is a player the Broncos are excited about.
As Chris Burke of SI.com reports, the starting position will belong to Ball at some point.
The team also has Knowshon Moreno available. With McGahee out with injury last year, Moreno ran for 510 yards in six starts to close the season. After being inactive nearly every week prior to that, Moreno proved he could contribute at a moment's notice.
With these three players, the Broncos have a good stable of running backs whom they can rely on to give them a solid rushing attack this season.
The Fans Are Excited
Last summer, fans showed up by the thousands to see Peyton Manning in a Broncos uniform. Now, the same fans just seem excited about a team with so many expectations surrounding it.
Broncos fans have reportedly been lining up at 2:30 a.m. to be spectators at training camp, waiting several hours before doors open.
Take a look at this video and you'll see an example of the enthusiasm of the fans of this team.