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Broncos practice quick hits: Evan Mathis gets his first team work at left guard

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Six days after agreeing to terms with the Broncos, left guard Evan Mathis was on the practice field as the first-team left guard as he continued preparing toward a Week 1 debut against the Baltimore Ravens.

"I'm pretty far," Mathis replied when asked how far along he was in learning the offense. "I'll definitely be ready Week 1. I've got all these guys out here who have done a great job of coaching me up, making the calls and the O-line's all about communication, anyway."

That communication extends to the evenings that Mathis spends in his hotel room, studying the scheme through his notebook and his iPad playbook. He says he calls a teammate if he has any questions, but the process of learning an entire offense in 18 days leading up to the season opener makes his life one long cram session as he tries to get up to speed with QB Peyton Manning.

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"Since you're cramming, he's the type of guy that there is so much going on that you're going to have a sense of urgency," Mathis said. "You usually cram really well when you have a sense of urgency. I think it helps."

The biggest adjustment for Mathis might not be the scheme. His former team, the Eagles, utilize zone-blocking principles heavily in running Chip Kelly's offense. The altitude, however, is a different matter.

"Nothing's dragging me down, but the brain will acclimate faster," Mathis said.

"I'm getting my lungs acclimated. I'm getting my brain acclimated. I've been studying a lot; the coaches have been doing a great job, as well as my teammates, in bringing me along."

Head Coach Gary Kubiak was impressed with Mathis' progress.

"He was good," Kubiak said. "I think he could have practiced last week, but he's been running for a couple of days ... He's trending the right way. he's doing fine."

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The Broncos got back on the practice field Monday as they prepare for a final preseason game. (All photos by Ben Swanson, unless otherwise noted)

QUICK HITS:**

... With Mathis working at left guard on the first team (which served as the scout team because the No. 2 units are expected to start Thursday), Max Garcia saw some work at center with the backups, which allows him to make a bid to be the swing interior backup. "He did that at Florida for four years, and we're starting to close to [deciding] how many guys we're going to have [active on game days]," Kubiak said, adding that he wants to have seven offensive linemen on the 46-man active gameday roster.

... The players on the first team had a full workload Monday, and Kubiak plans to "practice the heck out of them" this week. "A lot of them thought they weren't going to get a lot of reps today, but they took every rep," Kubiak said.

... It's unusual to see a future Hall of Famer like Peyton Manning as a scout-team quarterback, but that will be the case this week. "He ripped them up pretty good," Kubiak said.

... OT Michael Schofield saw work at left tackle Monday. The trade of Chris Clark put the 2014 third-round pick on the inside track to be the swing backup at left and right tackle. "We've given Michael every chance to be our swing guy, and he's done a good job," Kubiak said.

... The Broncos have three more roster moves to make before 2 p.m. MDT on Tuesday to get down to 75 players. "We've just got a couple of other decisions that we've got to make," Kubiak said. "We wanted to work today and take a look at a couple of different things. It also has a lot to do with how you play the game on Thursday and how you get to Thursday with your guys."

... Kicker Brandon McManus went 6-of-6 on field-goal attempts during a special-teams period.

... WR Cody Latimer was the target on the offense's biggest gain, catching a pass from Manning on a deep post route.

... QB Brock Osweiler looked comfortable Monday. His practice was highlighted by a strike to TE Owen Daniels that came as he rolled right; Osweiler threw the ball as he was still moving outside, giving the defense no chance to react.

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PARTICIPATION REPORT:**

... WR Emmanuel Sanders took part in individual and team periods and "looked fine," Kubiak said. Sanders has missed most of the last three and a half weeks because of a hamstring injury that sidelined him for all three preseason games to date.

... Safety Omar Bolden watched from the sideline because of soreness in his ribs, but Kubiak expects him to play Thursday. Bolden left Saturday's game after taking a shot from 49ers WR Anquan Boldin that resulted in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. Kubiak said he spoke with NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino about the call on Monday morning.

... OLB Lerentee McCray saw work in individual drills after sitting out the last four weeks because of a groin injury.

... CBs Chris Harris Jr. and Tony Carter watched practice from the sideline as they recover from hamstring issues. Neither played against San Francisco on Saturday.

... DE Kenny Anunike remained absent from practice, but is on track for a return by Week 1, Kubiak said. "He's doing really [well]," Kubiak said, adding that Anunike had the stitches left from his knee scope removed over the weekend.

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