ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After completing six straight days of practice, center Lloyd Cushenberry III couldn't help but smile at the thought of his upcoming off-day. In his post-practice press conference, Cushenberry detailed his plans for a restful Sunday to the media.
"Try to get as much sleep as I can," Cushenberry said. "Me personally, I'llprobably come here in the morning, cold tub, hot tub, steam room, try to get a little sweat in and then just relax the rest of the day. Probably just play PlayStation and just get ready for the next day."
Cushenberry's recovery day is well-deserved after an intensive week of training camp that mixed days with full pads with those with limited or no pads, all under the relentless Denver heat. While the training camp practices were grueling, Cushenberry is certain the Broncos improved over the course of the week.
"I think we can take something from this whole week," Cushenberry said. "It's been a tough week, going six days straight, but I feel like each day we've gotten better. As you can see the last few days with the penalties and the setbacks, that can happen in the game, but the way we finish shows how mentally strong this group can be, and that's what we're going to have to do throughout the season."
In Cushenberry's mind, the tough practices will also serve to benefit the Broncos in the long-term and make them a resilient team in the second half of the regular season.
"I feel like we're building calluses throughout this camp for the regular season," Cushenberry said. "It's tough now so it can be easier Week 8, Week 9 and throughout the rest of the season. This part of the year is supposed to be hard. We've taken a no-complaining, no-nonsense type of approach."
A relaxing Sunday with a PlayStation controller is just one of the reasons Cushenberry is eager for the coming week.
The LSU product is looking forward to Friday's preseason matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. The game will be Cushenberry's first action on an NFL field since Oct. 30, 2022, and he's hoping to return to form immediately.
"I'm looking forward to it a lot," Cushenberry said. "We've been going against our defense for two weeks and me personally, I haven't played in a game since October when I got hurt. It's been a long time. I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing, executing."
ROOKIE INSIDE LINEBACKER DREW SANDERS GETTING UP TO SPEED IN TRAINING CAMP
As the Broncos' top defensive draft pick, rookie inside linebacker Drew Sanders could play a key role in the Broncos' linebacking corps this season. The third-round pick out of Arkansas acknowledged that the NFL learning curve hasn't been easy, from the intricacies of playbooks to the speed on the field.
"Sometimes the speed can get to you," Sanders said. "[I'm] not really learning a new position, but it's my second year doing it — and obviously learning the NFL playbook. You're reading an NFL offense while playing, [so] the speed sometimes gets you a bit."
Sanders' relative lack of experience at the inside linebacker position has also complicated the process of adapting to his role with the Broncos, though he said that some of the skills he exhibited playing as a pass rusher have translated to his current position.
"There's always that physical aspect of it, taking on blocks and stuff like that," Sanders said. "It's a really big difference from playing down there to playing on your feet. There's little things you can take from it, but not everything, obviously."
The Broncos have two experienced inside linebackers returning in veterans Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell, but the Broncos could lean more heavily on Sanders following a season-ending injury to inside linebacker Jonas Griffith.
Sanders is excited for his first chance to play on an NFL field when the Broncos travel to Glendale, Arizona to take on the Cardinals for their first preseason game. After testing his skills against his offensive teammates in training camp, Sanders is ready to foil the Cardinals' offensive plans.
"I'm really excited to get after it and get after some people that are not your own teammates," Sanders said.