On Friday, Laurence Maroney spoke to the Denver media for the first time — three days after the Broncos acquired him in a trade with the New England Patriots.
The former first-round pick said he was pleased to reunite with Head Coach Josh McDaniels, who served as Maroney’s offensive coordinator on the Patriots.
“(I) know a lot about him and know a lot about the system, so it’s not like I’m coming into a brand new system and have to learn a lot,” Maroney said.
The tailback said the verbiage of the Broncos’ system is similar to New England’s. His familiarity with the offense could help buffer the shock from leaving the only NFL team of his five-year career.
“It was something that just came out of thin air — it just happened,” he said. “I’ve just got to take it and run with it.”
The prospect of creating a new role awaits Maroney whenever he recovers from a thigh injury and hits the practice field.
Although he admitted it wasn’t always easy to get into the flow of the game when he split carries with a committee of backs in New England, Maroney has no qualms when it comes to working in relief duty for Knowshon Moreno or Correll Buckhalter.
“It’s one of those things where I’m not trying to come in and take anybody’s plays away, anybody’s shine,” Maroney said. “I just want to come in, fit in and help the team win.”
He hopes to integrate a self-described “downhill” running style into the backfield, and while he said there are always some things he wishes he could have done differently in the past, Maroney is looking forward.
“I’m just focusing on my future here with Denver and being the best player I can be for them,” he said.
An injury bug in Seattle complicated more than just the Seahawks’ game plan.
They lost starting guard Max Unger for the season last week against San Francisco and already declared rookie left tackle Russell Okung out for Sunday’s game in Denver.
“I think for us on defense, it’s hard to tell exactly who it is we’re going to see,” McDaniels said on Friday.
For now, the Seahawks have former Bronco Tyler Polumbus penciled in to start in place of Okung and Stacy Andrews — whom they acquired in a trade from Philadelphia last week — slated to start at right guard.
But if the newly-minted starters don’t perform up to expectations, or if the Seahawks simply change their minds, Denver might face linemen with completely different skill sets.
“The preparation for how you’re going to play against a specific player is the hard part,” McDaniels said. “We’ve really tried to get our defensive line and our defensive unit ready to go against different people.”
At least no mystery surrounds Polumbus.
“We played against him, I practiced against him and we pretty much know what type of player he is,” Marcus Thomas said. “He’s a good player, quick, so we’re just going to have to do what we can and play with technique.”
Andrews presents a different challenge.
At 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds, the former tackle isn’t your typical zone-blocking guard in the mold of Seattle’s Ben Hamilton or Mike Gibson.
“Really, what they’re trying to do is put a bigger body in there because we’ve got a lot of 3-4 guys and big bodies inside,” Kevin Vickerson said. “They’re trying to match up a little bit better.”
Vickerson has his own place in the Seattle shuffle. The Broncos signed the defensive lineman one day after Seattle released him last week.
He said providing information on an old team “comes with the territory,” but there wasn’t much to say.
“It’s on a tape,” he said. “They’re a zone team, stretch zone and a lot of gadget plays. It’s nothing that they really can do that we haven’t seen.”
Vickerson greets the challenge of whichever lineman might put his hand down in front of him.
“I’m going to do my job and just be dominant,” he said. “That’s what I try to do every time I touch the field anyway, just try to be a force.”
The club waived running back Andre Brown from the active roster on Wednesday to make room for Maroney, but Brown was back on Friday. The team waived Bruce Hall from the practice squad and signed Brown in his place.
Safety Darcel McBath (forearm), offensive lineman Ryan Harris (ankle) and Maroney (thigh) did not practice on Friday are out for Sunday. Offensive lineman Chris Kuper (knee/ankle), who did not practice on Friday, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (hamstring), who was limited in Friday practice, are questionable for Sunday. Wide receivers Eddie Royal (groin) and Demaryius Thomas (foot) fully participated in Friday practice and are probable for Sunday.
For Seattle, tackle Russell Okung (ankle) has been declared out since Wednesday, and guard Chester Pitts (knee) was limited in Friday practice and declared out for Sunday as well. Linebacker Matt McCoy (quadricep) is doubtful after missing practice all week, and defensive end Chris Clemons(ankle), guard Mike Gibson (back) and wide receiver Mike Williams (thigh) are all probable after fully participating in Friday practice.
- Gabe Hiatt, DenverBroncos.com
Below are photos from practice on Friday: