The third preseason game is typically the last dress rehearsal, if you will, for the first-unit offense before the regular season.
While some positions are becoming clearer, others are still up in the air.
One of the spots dubbed “a competitive situation” by Head Coach Josh McDaniels is at left guard.
For the majority of training camp and the preseason, Zane Beadles has spent time as the first-unit left guard. But McDaniels said “there are a lot of guys still competing for that job,” including Stanley Daniels, who filled in for Chris Kuper at right guard when the veteran sat out practices.
The head coach anticipated both players seeing extensive time at the position against the Steelers.
“We’re just finalizing how we’re going to rotate those guys around and last for four quarters doing it,” McDaniels said. “So you’ll definitely see a combination of Daniels at left guard with Beadles at left tackle. You’ll see Beadles at left guard with a different set of tackles in there.”
“That’s how we’ve practiced this week,” he continued. “We’ve rotated them, we haven’t given the job to anybody and we think both players are really competing hard for it.”
McDaniels ventured that neither player is satisfied with his consistency and level of play, but that’s to be expected with young linemen in the first year in a system.
Regardless of who earns the starting role, the head coach is hopeful both players will help the team in the long run.
“Hopefully the winner of that job will play well, and the player who may not have that job at the beginning of the season, hopefully he continues to push and compete to try to continue to take that job away,” McDaniels said. “I think that will only make both players better.”
BEADLES NAMED MWC SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Speaking of Beadles, the rookie on Thursday was named the 2009-10 Mountain West Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The annual award — established in 1999 — is given to the student-athlete who achieves excellence in academics, athletics and the community.
Beadles had to maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average, demonstrate leadership and exhibit good character and conduct on and off the playing field to take home the award. In the process, he received a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship.
The lineman graduated from utah in December, 2009, with a bachleor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In the meantime, he was busy starting 50 of 51 career games played for the Utes, garnering All-American recognition as a senior.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
Below are more photos from Friday’s practice: