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Mile High Monday: Is a new tackle headed to the Broncos roster?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Training camps are underway around the NFL! Now, it’s just a warmup portion of camp and not the usual fun/activity we’re used to. Teams are focused on the health and safety of their players, so there is a ton of COVID-19 testing, cleaning precautions and social-distancing protocols that players and the media are following. Training camp ramps up at the end of the week and that’s when things will be open to the media – although on a severely limited basis.

I like going to training camp – always have and always will. I started covering training camp in the media way back in 2004, the first year I was credentialed for camp. But even before then, I have some great memories of going to training camp. Making the drive up to Greeley was fun, and it was great to see the Broncos on the field in person. This year will be different, but I will still be over-the-moon excited to see training camp once again.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Dotson Incoming?

By the time you read this, the Broncos may have already signed veteran offensive tackle Demar Dotson. They are bringing him in for a visit and according to Mike Klis from 9 News, a deal is not yet in place. The Broncos are in need at the tackle position since starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James opted out of the 2020 season last Monday.

The Buccaneers are one of the teams I’m closest to, so finding out information about Dotson was as easy as firing off a couple of text messages. I reached out to some Buccaneers sources who told me some positive things about the veteran tackle.

Elijah Wilkinson was supposed to compete for the starting left tackle position with Garett Bolles. After James opted out, many assumed that Wilkinson would just go back to starting at right tackle. If the team adds Dotson, that might not be the case.

Dotson is slowing down, but he might be an upgrade for the Broncos at right tackle if he signs. Last year in 15 games starting, Dotson committed 10 penalties and allowed just 3.5 sacks. By comparison, Wilkinson (in 12 games) was penalized six times and allowed 8.0 sacks in 2020.

I really wanted to see Wilkinson get a chance to win the starting left tackle position, and that competition may still happen if Dotson signs with the Broncos.

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Callahan on the Outside?

If the Broncos get one game out of cornerback Bryce Callahan, it will be more than they got last year. In 2019, Callahan’s first season with the Broncos, he missed the entire year because a foot injury that had been surgically repaired but needed another surgery to fix. Now healthy, Callahan is ready to prove why the Broncos were so excited to sign him a year ago.

With Vic Fangio in Chicago, Callahan played like one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league. If healthy, that’s what I expected his role would be with the Broncos as their No. 3 (slot) corner. Last week in his press conference, Fangio revealed that Callahan could actually get some work on the outside.

“Bryce’s health is good. His foot right now is fine, no problems. We’re going to work him at both spots, playing corner and inside at nickel along with obviously a bunch of other people at both positions. We’ll see how it unfolds by the time we line up against Tennessee, but he’s going to work both spots,” Fangio said.

Callahan is unlikely to play a full 16-game schedule. He never has in his pro career, and I don’t expect that to change now. Callahan is a fine slot corner if healthy, but I have my doubts that he can make the transition to play outside corner.

He lacks the size of an outside corner and opposing quarterbacks could pick on Callahan if a larger receiver is matched up with him. Callahan does have good recovery speed, but it’s not enough to make up for a lack of wingspan. I hope that someone emerges opposite of A.J. Bouye to start on the outside so Callahan can man his more natural position in the slot. We’ll see if rookie Michael Ojemudia can impress enough in camp to earn the No. 2 corner job from day one.

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Super Optimist or Super Realist?

The Broncos were not able to get a deal done with safety Justin Simmons before the mid-July deadline for franchise-tagged players. It’s a move they might regret not making, especially if Simmons continues to play at a high level.

His price tag is only going to go up, and the Broncos have a bunch of key decisions to make on contracts of big-name players like Von Miller and Bradley Chubb and Courtland Sutton in the near future. Delaying the payment of Simmons could just end up costing them more, or it could lead to them not being able to afford another one of their draft picks that has hit like Simmons has.

Last week in his press conference, Simmons felt optimistic about his contract situation.

“Moving forward, I think I’ve always been a guy my whole career that’s just been confident in myself and what I can do. I’m just excited for what’s moving forward. Everything’s always going to work itself out. Not to be a super optimistic guy, but everything will always work itself out. I’m just excited to see where this things heads,” Simmons said.

Is he optimistic or just a realist? Simmons is entering the second year in Fangio’s defense and could go to the Pro Bowl in 2020. Add in another All-Pro season, and you can see the dollar signs on Simmons contract just keep going up.

I hope the team can find a way to work out a long-term deal with Simmons next offseason. You want a player to work out like Simmons has for the Broncos.

On the field, he is a leader and exceptional at what he does. Off the field, Simmons is a blessing in the community and a good-hearted player you want other players to emulate.

Here’s to hoping that Simmons is correct and things do work out for the best (in Denver).

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My Beatles

I grew up as a comic book fan for as long as I can remember. I was fortunate enough to do most of my collecting in the 1990s when some of my favorite artists were at the top of the market. Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Jim Valentino and Whilce Portacio were some of my favorites when they were drawing titles like The Amazing Spider-man, The X-Men, X-Factor and Guardians of the Galaxy during this time.

When those seven men left Marvel to create Image comics, it sent ripples across the comics world. Instead of creating hit characters like Venom or Deadpool and getting no credit for their efforts, their new company Image Comics would let creators own the rights to their creations. This was revolutionary in the comics industry and it put the power in the hands of the creatives within this company.

These artists were my version of The Beatles. I look up to them, enjoy their work and admire them to this day. As someone who has a self-published comic book and is trying to get his ideas sold in Hollywood, it’s been such an inspiration to me when watching my idols forge the industry in a new direction. Thanks to their efforts, we get to enjoy books/shows like “The Walking Dead” and many others in the pop culture world.

The documentary “The Image Revolution” is a movie I watch at least once a month – usually while I’m writing or drawing. I’ll always draw inspiration from these comic book legends who took pop culture by storm in the ’90s and changed the industry for the better.

Who inspires you? Hit me up on social media and let me know!