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3 questions with USA Today's Lindsay Jones

Q: How do you expect the competition at offensive line to play out? What did you see during the offseason?

A: I think it's going to be the most interesting position group to watch throughout training camp. As long as I've been covering this team, I cant remember heading into a training camp with this many spots up for grabs.

I mean, really it's every spot except for Louis Vasquez's job is really open. Obviously they're going to give Ty Sambrailo every opportunity to win that left tackle job, but it's just going to be so interesting to watch how all of that plays out. And I think at center it's going to be really interesting.

And then I think with Ben Garland at that other guard spot, where I guess it's Ben Garland and maybe Shelley Smith, I think that's going to be really interesting, especially for people who have been watching Ben Garland's career. You know, there's probably people who remember him playing in high school in Colorado in Grand Junction back seven or 10 years ago. Or even watching him at Air Force, just his progression. I think a lot of people around this area and that area that are really rooting for him. But I just don't know if ultimately he'll be able to hold off Shelley Smith, a guy who has just a lot more game experience than he does.

So I just think it's going to be really fun to watch and really exciting. I know they would like to get that settled as soon as possible. But I just think that with so many jobs up for grabs right now I just think it's going to be something that might take, you know, a little bit into the preseason. And those preseason games are just going to be so important for all of those guys.

Q: How do you think a seasoned Peyton Manning will do in this new offensive scheme?

A: I'm actually writing a story about that as we speak. Because it's just so much… It's so different from anything that he's ever really been asked to do before. I mean, when he came here in 2012, you know, they kept a lot of the elements of kind of the old Josh McDaniels/Patriots kind of offense. But they did bring so much of what Peyton had done in Indianapolis for so many years. So much of that kind of really precision timing-based passing game, more of the receivers with route trees that were so complicated where he was out of the shotgun almost all of the time. Probably three quarters of the time he was taking snaps from the shotgun.

So the fact that they're going to this, you know, zone blocking run-scheme where he's going to be under center a lot more, very play-action based [system] it's just going to be so different. I think he's approached it with the right mindset though. He hasn't been stubborn about learning new things and he's been willing to do these things. And you know, hopefully he and John Elway have had some good private conversations about it because look he's 39. Peyton is 39, and the way that they were playing over the last couple of years—he just can't sustain that anymore.

They need to do more things in order to take the pressure off of him. And that's just not in his nature to kind of give those things up, to relinquish control. But you know maybe that was the lesson from, not just last year, but the last two years. For that to get where they need to go, he needs to relinquish some of that control and he needs to let other teammates help him more. And it worked for John Elway and then maybe now it will work for Peyton.

Q: What do you think the Wade Phillips' defensive changes will bring to this team?

A: I think it's going to make them more aggressive. I think if you look back kind of at his history both with—maybe his more recent history, when he was in Dallas and also when he was in Houston. Gary [Kubiak] definitely has more of an attacking style and that was the thing that at times, I guess, maybe was frustrating to watch about the Broncos defense late last year was that they had all of these pass rushers—you know you had Von Miller and you had DeMarcus Ware and later in the year they kind of just disappeared and you felt like Where are these guys? Like maybe they weren't being used to the best of their abilities.

I think that Wade Phillips knows how to get the most out of those pass rushers. DeMarcus Ware had some of the best years of his career, and granted he was younger, but some of the best years of his career were playing as an outside linebacker for Wade Phillips at Dallas. And I think that change can really benefit DeMarcus and Von Miller and I'm really interested to see what sort of things Wade Phillips and the rest of that defensive staff come up with to try to get Von, DeMarcus and Shane Ray on the field together, if there are some packages that they could do or if it's just a matter of now that they have a little more depth there at that position they can, you know, use Shane Ray to kind of keep DeMarcus a little bit more fresh and healthy throughout the year. I think those things are going to be interesting.

I also am very curious about what it's going to mean for the guys in the secondary, especially the cornerbacks. I know Chris Harris Jr. is really excited about the idea of getting to play a lot more single coverage; put those cornerbacks out there on an island. And I think that the Broncos are one of the rare teams that have kind of the bodies to be able to play that style. Chris Harris Jr. plays well like that, Aqib Talib can do it, Bradley Roby had a really good year last year and I think he's going to continue to develop more as kind of a nickel corner.
So, you know, I think they've got some really aggressive guys that will benefit in this style of play and its going to be fun to watch. I think that they all are better now in this defense than they were a few months ago and they're going to need to be. // //

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