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Rookies Embark on 'Trial Run'

Posted May 10, 2013

Head Coach John Fox said this weekend's rookie minicamp is all about seizing an opportunity.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In the past two days, 31 rookies and first-year players took a tour of the Broncos' Dove Valley headquarters, underwent physicals, got fitted for equipment, sat in meetings about the dos and don'ts of everything from practice to social media, tried to soak in a new playbook, took part in their first practice as Broncos and lifted with Strength and Conditioning Coach Luke Richesson and his staff.

Welcome to the NFL.

"We bombard them pretty hard in each meeting as far as install," Head Coach John Fox said. "Just getting them ready. Kind of a trial run before our veterans report. All of our attention is on them."

Fox and the rest of the coaches encourage the players to approach this weekend's rookie minicamp as if it was the first time they stepped on their college campuses as freshmen.

The idea is to help the rookies soak in as much as they can, so when they come back for OTAs -- and eventually training camp -- alongside veterans, it will be the second and third time they go through plays.

Fox wants the rookies playing fast -- not stopping to think all the time.

"This is a great opportunity for the rookies, whether they're draft picks or college free agents, to come in and get a little bit of the head start on the veterans," Fox said.

As helpful as the weekend minicamp is for the rookies, it's also a bit of a reward for the coaches and personnel staff for all their hard work during the draft. It's the club's first chance to see the new acquisitions in orange and blue, showing off their athleticism.

"It’s always an exciting time," Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said Tuesday. "It’s kind of the beginning of the new season."

Fox echoed that sentiment after the first minicamp practice.

"There's no doubt there's an excitement level, even though it's just the rookies at this point," he said. "To be on the field with them is great."

Seeing how excited the rookies are to take the field -- something "they've waited their whole lives for" -- adds to the fun of the weekend.

The key for the players, Fox said, is to seize the opportunity in front of them.

The club's track record speaks for itself -- at least one college free agent has made the team's Week 1 roster for nine consecutive seasons. That marks the third-longest active streak in the league.

"It doesn't matter where you start the race, it's where you finish, whether you're a first-round pick or a college free agent. Our coaches sell that and there's a lot of ways to catch coaches' eyes," Fox said. "They're out there competing and we're not prejudiced to where guys were drafted. We're going to play the best guys and pick the best guys."

Friday was the first day for those players to prove they fit that description.