The Denver Broncos kicked off mandatory minicamp Tuesday at UCHealth Training Center. They have gone through rookie minicamp and voluntary OTAs, and this is the final step before the team breaks before the start of training camp in late July.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said on Tuesday that there’s a different feel to minicamp from the rest of the activities during the offseason.
“It’s mandatory, so it does feel different. We upped the reps a little bit. The intensity is obviously up, and everyone’s engaged. It’s different, absolutely,” Joseph said.
Here are the three biggest observations from Day 1:
Paxton Lynch wins the day, again
Last week, second-year quarterback Paxton Lynch had what Joseph called “a great day” in practice. On Tuesday, Lynch continued to look better than third-year quarterback Trevor Siemian.
Lynch looked comfortable working out of the shotgun, and he’s got the freedom to change the play at the line of scrimmage if he sees fit. For the last two days open to the media, Lynch looked in command of the offense and progressing through his reads in a timely manner.
Not only does Lynch look comfortable, he said he feels confident about his ability in this Mike McCoy offense.
“I’m very comfortable in where I am now that all the concepts are put in. There are still wrinkles going in every now and again, but where I’m at right now with what we’ve put in, I’m very confident in,” Lynch said Tuesday.
“I feel like the more reps I’m getting, the more I get to go with ‘D.T.’ (Demaryius Thomas) and ‘E’ (Emmanuel Sanders) in that first group. I think the more confident I get, the more comfortable I get.”
This quarterback competition gets officially started in training camp, but it looks like Lynch is certainly going to make things interesting come late July.
Broncos moving offensive linemen around
It was interesting to see a different mix of first-team offensive linemen on Tuesday. The Broncos moved Ron Leary from left guard position, which he constantly manned during OTAs, to right guard. The team also moved Max Garcia from the right side back to left guard, a spot where he started 16 games last year for the Broncos.
“We moved Max back to left guard, and we’re trying Ronald Leary at right guard. Hopefully that’s a better mesh for us,” Joseph said on Tuesday. “Leary played left the entire spring, and Max played the right, but we think Max is more comfortable playing left, and Ronald doesn’t care.”
In addition to swapping guards, we saw 2017 first-round pick Garrett Bolles get some work with the first-team offense for the first time this year. Ty Sambrailo has been the main starter at the position, but he’s going to see competition from Bolles the further we get into camp.
“Bolles is alternating with Ty (Sambrailo) at left tackle every other series,” Joseph said.
Bolles could be the starting left tackle for the Broncos in Week 1 of the regular season, but the rookie will have to earn the job as nothing is going to be handed to him at Dove Valley.
Broncos defense sends a message
The Broncos defense is arguably the best in football — and there’s not much of an argument against that. They are not taking it easy on the Broncos offense, even though it’s just OTAs and minicamp.
The defense wants to get the best of the offense on every play of every practice. That’s something that was clearly evident Tuesday, as there were some post-play skirmishes at practice.
With the scuffles on the field and the swarming play of the defense, a message was certainly sent from one side of the ball to the other.
“That’s been the entire spring. It’s been back and forth,” Joseph said. “The offense, in my opinion, responded with a big stick. They’ve competed all spring, and that’s what we want. We want both sides competing equally.”
If the Broncos offense shows this kind of spirit against this defense, they can hang against any opponent in the league.
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