ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Entering the 2012 season, Jeremy Beal looked poised to showcase the talent that made him a 2011 NFL Draft pick.
During last year's preseason, the defensive end was making his presence felt along the line as he notched five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a pass defensed.
That came after showing flashes throughout training camp just one year after from spending his rookie campaign on the practice squad.
But a knee injury in the club's preseason finale sidelined Beal for the 2012 season. The injury limited him to watching from the sideline and the film room – a process from which he said he gleaned valuable and now applicable knowledge.
"What I learned last year while I was on IR, I watched a lot of film," Beal said during the team's mid-June minicamp. "I couldn't do anything else except for lift and do some rehab, so I watched a lot of film. I learned a lot just by doing that, by learning film, learning the keys, learning different stuff."
He said that his game IQ is higher now than it was a year ago and that he thinks that bodes well for him in the upcoming season.
In the 2013 offseason, Beal is healthy and fighting for the chance to make his regular-season debut.
"Jeremy's a good, young player who had an unfortunate injury last year," Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said after the minicamp. "We're glad to have him back and healthy. He's in the mix at defensive end."
Beal said that his knee was back to full strength shortly after the end of the 2012 season, and now he's ready to prove that.
"I'm ready to go," he said. "I'm ready to start competing for a job."
The team's OTAs and minicamp set the stage for that competition to take place in training camp – when the players finally throw on the pads.
Before the team comes back, though, Beal plans to spend time with his family in Dallas and work out every day to stay in shape for the start of training camp.
Beal said that to play and be successful in Del Rio's system, players have to be intelligent and have the ability to play fast. He also added that every player in the defensive unit has those traits and that will make the competition in training camp that much more intense.
"With our situation in the defensive line, we're trying to make it as competitive as possible, to let guys fight for their position, fight for their playing time, fight for their role, and let it play out in camp," Del Rio said. "That is the one area where I really can't wait to get to fall camp, where we put the pads on and really determine who can help us in the trenches."