ENGLEWOOD, Colo.** – Game week preparation has started, the depth chart has been released and the Broncos are just days away from their first preseason game of 2015 on Friday in Seattle.
While this is may be a dress rehearsal of sorts, the Broncos are traveling to the home of the Seahawks, who have made the Super Bowl the past two years. This preseason game won't be a walk in the park.
This week Head Coach Gary Kubiak and his staff released the first depth chart of the 2015 season. On the offensive line, the youth stood out on the first team: rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo, rookie left guard Max Garcia and first-year center Matt Paradis, who spent the 2014 season on the practice squad.
"Those three young guys, that's a heck of a place for them to walk into for their first preseason game," Kubiak said. "But no, it's good. You play great people in this league. Obviously, they're a great defensive football team. You're going to play in noise there, whether it's preseason or regular season. They need to be tested. Nothing better than the way they're fixing to get tested with this first night."
Among the young offensive line, other rookie players on the depth chart include full back/tight end Joe Don Duncan, who's listed behind James Casey. The Broncos' first round draft pick, outside linebacker Shane Ray, is listed behind veteran DeMarcus Ware at weakside linebacker.
"I think anytime you're a first-year guy, it is trial by fire no matter where you go," Kubiak said. "Our guys are working. It's a lot to ask. One thing I think those guys know [is] they have a lot of guys with them. Those three guys—well, I know Matt's been in the league for a year—but those three guys have eight other guys going to work with them. That's part of football. It's a team business."
The young players aren't the only ones anxious for the first preseason game of the season. Fifth-year outside linebacker Von Miller is excited to see what the team can put together against the Seahawks after just inter-squad competition for the last few months.
"We have pretty good competition at practice," Miller said. "I'm excited to see how everybody goes against another team. Seattle, they are tough every year. Preseason or regular season, it doesn't matter. It will be a good game to go gauge ourselves against another great championship team, but we have our battles out here. We work hard at this camp and we come out here and grind every single day, but it will be great to go against another team."
With the rain away and the Broncos returned to the practice field at UCHealth Training Center for Day 12 of training camp. (All photos by Eric Lars Bakke)