July 28, 2009
ENGLEWOOD – Only 11 teams have rookies report to training camp a few days before the veterans, according to the NFL’s Web site. One of them is the Denver Broncos, which is another change from Mike Shanahan’s approach.
Longtime team spokesman Jim Saccomano said he thinks the last time the Broncos’ rookies reported before the veterans was under Dan Reeves, whose last season in Denver was 1992. New coach Josh McDaniels explained why he wanted the rookies to report Monday. Veterans are due to camp Thursday.
“To get ahead,” McDaniels said. “They’re still behind still in terms of understanding what it takes to be a professional football player, their playbook, their responsibilities.”
The practices have been short and light, with no hitting and mostly mental work. All of the practices have included only 23 players — first-round picks Knowshon Moreno and Robert Ayers are unsigned, but quarterbacks and veterans coming off injuries joined the rookies.
Linebackers D.J. Williams and Wesley Woodyard were cleared to return Tuesday after missing Monday, while receivers Brandon Marshall and Lucas Taylor were held out Tuesday with what McDaniels called soreness.
Marshall’s absence was alarming after he appeared unhappy Monday, but McDaniels said Marshall reported to the facility Tuesday, being held out was a “coach’s decision,” and there were no issues with Marshall.
For those practicing, the extra learning time is beneficial.
“The rookies need to catch up to the vets, because if we’re behind we’re not going to get any snaps,” rookie quarterback Tom Brandstater said. “It’s important for us to run full speed when they get here on Thursday.”