ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – As the Broncos inch closer to their season opener against Carolina, Head Coach Gary Kubiak made one of the more important announcements of the season.
After practice on Sunday, Kubiak announced the Broncos' three team captains for the 2016 season. Demaryius Thomas was named the offensive captain, DeMarcus Ware got the nod on defense and Kayvon Webster earned the honor on special teams.
Kubiak, who had his team alternate captains during the preseason, broke down the strengths of each player.
"D.T.'s had one of the best camps that I've been around," Kubiak said. "He's worked extremely hard and he's in tremendous shape. DeMarcus, that's a big respect factor. You all know what he stands for on this team. Everybody respects how hard that he's worked to get back to opening day. Kayvon, I'm just so proud of him. He's come a long way since I've been here and he's a leader in how he works and how he goes about his business.
"Three good guys. We've got a lot of good leaders on this team, but those are three good guys."
The 2016 campaign will mark Thomas' second season as a captain for the Broncos. He also served in the role in 2014. For quarterback Trevor Siemian, who will make his first career regular-season start on Thursday, Thomas' leadership cannot be understated. He's not the most vocal player on the field, Siemian said, but he knows when to give the offense a boost.
"I think he's just a natural leader," Siemian said. "Guys look up to him and guys follow him. He's done a great job. He works his tail off. It's tough to find another guy that's working harder than he is and guys see that. He's a little different than Emmanuel [Sanders]. He's not going to be the loudest guy out there, but guys know where he's at. When he talks, they certainly listen."
Ware finds himself in a far more familiar role. Between his years in Denver and Dallas, Ware has been a captain for close to a decade. His consistency and dedication to the game are apparent to any player who's been his teammate, and it's no surprise to safety T.J. Ward that Ware continues to earn the honor.
"He has a mentoring presence, like a father figure almost," Ward said. "He's been doing it at such high level for his whole career. If you don't listen to the words that are coming from him, then you're pretty dumb. You want to model your game after a guy like that. He's someone that's been in the league 10-plus years and done things the right way. He's the ultimate leader so that's why he continues to be our captain."
In Webster, Chris Harris Jr. sees a player that has fought adversity throughout his career and has emerged to lead Joe DeCamillis' unit. Harris said he's "so happy" for the fourth-year player out of South Florida who will take over the duties from former Bronco David Bruton Jr.
"It's a great opportunity for him to lead that side, lead that special teams [unit]," Harris said. "That's something he's already kind of been doing."
The honor for all three players should not be understated. As the three jog out to midfield against the Panthers on Thursday, they'll represent a level of dedication and leadership that Kubiak envisions for the entire team.
And as the Broncos look to focus on chasing another championship, that guidance will be paramount.