ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The offense isn't where anyone wants it to be just yet. But when it comes to his own comfort level in it, Trevor Siemian feels like he's reached a positive turning point.
"I can't tell exactly when, but probably a week or so [ago] I just kind of felt a little more comfortable and things were clicking for me," he said after practice Tuesday.
"I got a big-picture thought of how we were trying to attack scheme and defenses. I've just felt comfortable probably that last week getting going and also getting a feel for all of the guys. First or second group, it doesn't matter. It's just getting the feel for how guys run and what they do well. I think we're all in a good spot right now."
Comfort is the first step. Figuring out the strengths of the offense is the next -- and that should come with work against other teams.
"I think when you play against other teams you solidify what you think," Siemian said. "It'll be good to play against the Bears and once we get going here, getting these live reps. There's been some really good things.
'We've had a really competitive camp and we're fortunate to go against our defense. Because golly, it's a pain in the butt throwing against Chris [Harris Jr.], [Aqib] Talib and all those guys all of the time. I think we're in a really good place."
- THE PLACE FOR MIKE McCOY: ON THE SIDELINE**
Denver's offensive coordinator will make his game-day play calls from the bench, not from the press box. He's learned via experience that he works better from the sideline, because he prefers to communicate face-to-face with his players.
"One year I was [upstairs] and I didn't like it,"he said. "I prefer to be down on the field just to be involved in everything when the players come in.
"I like to interact with all of the players, you can look in their eyes sometimes if you're struggling as an offense or something, or you have someone like [former guard] Chris Kuper back in the day who's always coming [to me] saying, 'Hey, I flat-out whiffed, call it again' -- things like that. [I can] really kind of let them know first-hand what the start of the series is going to be, possibly what we might do in the red area and really just interact with the players the entire game."
- McCOY: 'I WANT TO HAVE AN EXPLOSIVE OFFENSE'**
It's not about emphasizing the pass over the run, or vice versa. But one way or another, McCoy wants an offense that is far more capable of explosive plays than last year's offense, which averaged one play of 20 or more yards every 23.2 plays, the third-lowest rate in the league.
McCoy's San Diego Chargers offense ranked seventh in the same category, breaking off a gain of 20 or more yards once every 15.5 plays.
"I'll want to have an explosive offense. Explosive plays are going to be big in our system whether it's in the passing game or explosive runs," he said.
Downfield blocking will be crucial to making the explosive runs happen, McCoy said.
"I think the thing that's going to allow us to have explosive runs is the way the line is played -- but not just the line but the way the receivers are blocked. They're been very unselfish," McCoy said. "[Wide Receivers Coach] Tyke's [Tolbert] done a phenomenal job with the receivers and the running game.
"I think as you watch the practice, the commitment they have, the blocking, and they understand that the guys up front are going to block their tails off for the passing game."
- WALKER SEEKS OUT EXTRA COACHING ON COVERAGE:**
If DeMarcus Walker is to succeed as an outside linebacker, he'll have to be able to handle his share of work dropping back in pass coverage -- which is likely to be the most difficult aspect of his at-least-temporary transition from defensive end to outside linebacker.
"I'm getting better every single day," Walker said. "I'm taking down a lot of notes and a doing a lot of film study. These vets are doing a great job of coaching me up. Even Talib, and he's not even an outside linebacker and he was telling me his responsibilities and why I have to take in everything."
Still, you don't see many players of 280 or more pounds dropping into coverage -- even ones as mobile and lithe for their size as Walker.
"He's a big man," Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods said. "When you look at him, he's really developed and he has a lot of lower body power but he's nifty. He has a little bit of quickness. You see him go through drills. You see the power on his lower body. We put him in a situation where he had to go out and cover and he's done a good job."
- COREY NELSON IS SEEN AS A STARTER**
While ILB Todd Davis recovers from a sprained shoulder, Nelson has handled first-team work. It's not a stretch for Nelson, who started five games last year while Brandon Marshall dealt with injuries and has a role in various sub packages.
"Corey is on the lines with [CB Bradley] Roby. He's our third inside linebacker -- our starting dime player in sub," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "In my opinion, Corey is a starter.
"On most teams, Corey would be a starter. If he had to play for us, I would have no problem with Corey being a starter for us. He has a huge role for us on defense. Obviously for [Special Teams Coordinator] Brock [Olivo], he's a full core [special-teams] player for Brock. He's a valuable part of our team."