Even with a quick turnaround before Thursday’s preseason finale in Minnesota, Head Coach Josh McDaniels hopes to bring a sense of normalcy to preparations for the last tune-up before the Sept. 12 regular season opener in Jacksonville.
In his final press conference before the game on Tuesday, the head coach compared the short week to getting ready to play a game on Thanksgiving, which the Broncos did in 2009.
According to McDaniels, part of that normalcy means getting the starters some time in Thursday’s contest.
“We don’t put a play limit on them,” McDaniels said. “There are some players that we want to see — if they can play this week then they’re going to play and they’re going to play more than three or four plays.”
McDaniels said the Broncos spent Tuesday morning going through a two-hour “crash course” on the Vikings that included preparing to stop the defending NFC North champs’ first-unit offense led by Brett Favre.
McDaniels said most of the starters played almost a full quarter in last season’s preseason-closing win against Arizona in a similar situation. He said players such as running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter and offensive lineman Ryan Clady could be ready to make their preseason debuts on Thursday, giving the Broncos a potential chance to build some chemistry with the offense closer to full strength than it has been at any point this preseason.
No matter who is able to take the field on Thursday, McDaniels said it’s an important opportunity to continue the progress they’ve built through the preseason. With more than a week between the close of preseason and start of the regular season, the head coach hopes to strike the right balance of resting players, while keeping them sharp going forward.
“If you don’t play them at all, you’re talking about two weeks without playing football, which you don’t really do much of since you start training camp,” McDaniels said. “We’re interested in trying to stay in some type of a rhythm.”
Below are a few pictures from Tuesday’s practice.
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com