If you’re a Broncos fan — and I presume the majority of you reading these words would paint yourself with that orange-and-blue brush — the team’s minicamp, which begins today, represents a case of saving the best for last.
Every other team has conducted its minicamp, which represents the only offseason sessions that can be denoted as mandatory. (The organized team activities in May and June were voluntary, just like the offseason workouts that preceded and followed the four weeks of on-field work.)
With training camp less than three weeks away, these days serve as a preview for media observers who will take in the otherwise closed practice. So here’s a few areas upon which I will have my eyes cast over the next couple of days:
Strongside linebacker: Eddie Moore received a majority of the first-team repetitions at team camp, but Warrick Holdman also saw action with the first team. Who will land pole position at the slot heading into training camp?
Recovering receivers: Neither Brandon Stokley nor Rod Smith are projected to be ready for this week’s work, but Brandon Marshall and Glenn Martinez could well be back at full strength after nursing nagging injuries during the May and June OTAs.
Recovering safeties: Nick Ferguson took part in drills with his teammates at OTAs; Sam Brandon went through individual work at team camp while watching the team drills alongside defensive coordinator Bob Slowik. Will Brandon get any work in with his teammates, or will his full-scale return from major knee surgery have to wait until training camp?
Cecil Sapp: He lined up as second-team tailback throughout team camp. Will he see more time there or back at fullback?
Europa Refugees: The Broncos’ allocations to the now-dissolved NFL Europa circuit will go through their first on-field sessions since their return, while the four players signed last week will make their debuts after completing the final season of the Germany-and-Netherlands-based league. It isn’t out of the realm of possiblitity for players signed so late to make the roster; Adam Meadows arrived a week into training camp in 2006 after two years out of football and managed to make the final 53-man roster. Of course, Meadows did have several years more NFL experience than the quartet of NFL-E alumni.
Photos of Marshall working out after practice, June 6
Feature Story on Martinez, June 19
There’s other areas to watch, of course, and we’ll be on top of as many as we can.
Off we go. Minicamp, and then two and a half weeks of waiting until the players report for training camp on July 28.