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This is the first of regular question-and-answer sessions. Some will be through written answers; we expect some will be answered through video. If you want to send a question, you can tweet at @MaseDenver, and use the hashtag #AskMase.
Off we go ...
Everything depends on the health and availability of receivers. Latimer has been impressive to date. He uses his size well near the line of scrimmage, is as good a blocker on run plays as advertised, has the speed to get separation on go and deep post routes and catches the football with his hands. His straight-line speed could even get him a chance on kickoff returns -- which would not be unprecedented for a big, athletic Broncos receiver in his first year (see
But as promising as Latimer has been, the Broncos have a bumper crop at receiver. Demaryius Thomas is elite. Wes Welker's timing with
It gets more real every day, especially since pads were donned July 26.
Austin was a prudent signing. He remains a high-ceiling talent who was added at virtually no risk to the team. He is quick at the snap, much like fellow North Carolina product
John Fox and Jack Del Rio also know what they want at defensive tackle, which gets them effective play from players otherwise discarded. One example was in Carolina in 2009, when the Panthers' defensive tackles were shredded by injuries. Fox and the Panthers plucked 35-year-old veteran Hollis Thomas off the scrap heap (he'd been cut by the Rams), and he started 13 games, plugged gaps, fortified the middle and even notched a safety. Last year's growth from Terrance Knighton and Sylvester Williams, and the continued contributions of Mitch Unrein and Kevin Vickerson showed that defensive tackles get better under the watch of this regime. Because of that, Austin's best chance might be in Denver, and he's practicing like his career depends on it -- which may well be the case.
You didn't mention
The competition is elsewhere.
But you can expect
#askmase How is Clady's comeback? Kuper never fully returned to form after the same injury, but we just assume Clady will always dominate.— Lance Thompson (@Runninlance) July 26, 2014
First of all, Clady and Kuper's injuries weren't the same. Kuper fractured his fibula and tore ankle ligaments on Jan. 1, 2012. He suffered a further sprain in the area 10 months later, and had more surgery the following offseason. Clady had a Lisfranc injury, which is in the middle of the foot.
So far, so good for Clady. He's been under no physical limitations since the start of organized team activities. That's helped him knock the rust off. He looks balanced on his feet. His technique remains as sound as ever. The presence of
For a position in which speed and cutting was more crucial, the Lisfranc injury can be transformative, and not for the better. Oakland's Darren McFadden is an example; he's never matched the production he amassed pre-Lisfranc. But for offensive linemen, it's a recoverable injury. A good example is Carolina center Ryan Kalil, who suffered a Lisfranc injury in 2012 but returned to the Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro selection a year later.
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