ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — While rookie cornerback Riley Moss would have preferred to be on the field over the last several weeks, the third-round pick recognizes the value of being able to observe during his first NFL training camp.
"It's a blessing in disguise," Moss said. "Obviously you don't want to get hurt, but you can kind of sit back and watch the guys and watch it from a different perspective and you get a lot of knowledge from that. So I did a good job of doing that — watching film, understanding the defense a little bit more — which is nice, because it's a little bit less pressure. When you're hurt, you're off the field. You're able to actually kind of learn the stuff."
Moss said while he previously had a "good grasp" on the Broncos' defense, the opportunity to watch from the sideline gave him a more holistic understanding of Denver's scheme.
"I had a good grasp of the defense and stuff, but there's so much more you can take out of it when you're not in there and you're able to see, 'Oh, the safety's doing this. That's where the help's actually at,'" Moss said. "When you're in there, you know your responsibility, but it's cool to kind of sit back and see the moving parts really come to play."
After nearly five weeks, the rookie cornerback is back on the grass. He returned to practice Monday, and he said he's taking his return "day by day" ahead of the Broncos' season opener.
"This was kind of my first day back at practice, so it was slow and they're just kind of dipping my feet in and getting me rolling," Moss said.
And as Moss returns to practice, he'll aim to implement the valuable lessons he learned from the sideline.
As the Broncos look to snap their skid against the Raiders, a big focus will be on slowing running back Josh Jacobs.
Jacobs, who led the NFL in rushing in 2022, has averaged 125.6 scrimmage yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game in his seven appearances against Denver. The two-time Pro Bowler broken the century mark four times on the ground vs. the Broncos, including twice in 2022.
Inside linebacker Alex Singleton, who said he believes Jacobs will be "the freshest one on the field" after missing most of training camp, said Jacobs always poses a challenge.
"He always falls forward, no matter what," Singleton said. "Guys hit him in the backfield, he's falling for two or three yards, and then he breaks a lot of tackles. I think they said today he was number 1 or number 2 in the league last year in yards after contact. That right there kind of makes a good back."
Singleton said it will take all 11 defenders to bring down Jacobs, but he noted he believes the Broncos are up to the challenge.
"This is the opportunity you want to start the season," Singleton said.
Five players on the Broncos' active roster changed their jersey numbers, including rookie Marvin Mims Jr., who went from No. 83 to No. 19.
"Basically just kind of wanted to get out of 83," Mims said. "Wanted to get into something smaller, and basically whatever was open. Nothing special at 19, but just what was open."
While Mims switched, his fellow rookie Jaleel McLaughlin stuck with his previously assigned number. And while McLaughlin didn't choose No. 38 initially, he found a hidden meaning in the number.
"Thirty-eight has a lot of meaning," McLaughlin said. "Thirty-eight, I actually didn't choose that number. One day I was sitting in the house and I was relaxing and I was like, 'Thirty-eight, 38, what about it? Actually, it has some meaning. I was No. 10 in high school. I went to Notre Dame College [in] Ohio, was No. 20. And then transferred to Youngstown State, I was No. 8. Ten plus 20 plus eight — 38. I didn't even ask for the number. That just shows that's life. That's how you know I'm in the right place."