ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In May, the Broncos have held a rookie minicamp and one set of OTAs. Still to come are seven days of OTAs and a three-day minicamp.
With the offense and defense finally able to practice against each other, wide receiver Eric Decker said so far, so good.
"I think with the additions we made and the guys we got back from last year, we came into OTAs bigger, faster and stronger," he said. "With our strength program, we've done a good job. It's hard to simulate football shape, but we're in good shape. I think we all have good strength. There have been no injuries as of now and the excitement level is at an all-time high. I think the competitive level is there too. The defense, they're doing some new stuff with Coach Del Rio and offensively, we're doing some new stuff, so it's been some good competition."
Quarterback Peyton Manning stressed that this time of the season is important for every position, working together and building toward the season.
Especially in football, defensive end Elvis Dumervil said, these practices are crucial -- particular for his position group's skill-set.
"In basketball, you can go pick a hoop or go to a backyard and shoot, but the pass rush is such an art, you have to go through in practice and you have to get those reps," he said. "So, getting this now, fine-tuning your skills, sharpening your arsenal is vital coming towards the season."
But players this week said the main benefit of OTAs is camaraderie and communication. Teammates get acquainted and learn the ins and outs of playing alongside each other.
"We get to build that chemistry," safety Mike Adams said. "I get to look at (cornerback) Tracy (Porter) now and give him a nod and he knows he can jump a route and I can play over top. I won't have to make a hand signal. That's what the offseason's for, just to get that cohesiveness down, get that camaraderie down. Even with the front seven, it's with everybody. It's communication all around the board."
To that point, linebacker Von Miller agreed.
"I communicate on every play, even if I do know it," the second-year player said. "I just want to check and make sure I'm doing it right. And in turn, we're doing it through OTAs through all these months getting to the season. That communication will shorten down during the game. You can just look at the (defensive) tackle and he'll know, he'll do a little nod or look at you and you'll know that you're supposed to be running that stunt over here. Now we're talking, but when the season gets started, all that talking will be watered down a little bit."
The Broncos have had three days of practice together so far, not to mention weeks of the club's offseason conditioning program, where offense and defense worked separately to begin installing their respective systems.
Already, Porter can see the benefits -- and he's anxious for team chemistry to continue to grow.
"The more time you spend around a guy, the more time you spend playing with a guy on the field, you get a feel for what he does, what technique he plays, where he's going to be on the field," he said. "The more and more you play with a guy, the more familiar you get with a guy and that makes it that much easier to play on the field. Because in the heat of the battle, you're not thinking about where this guy is. If you continue to play with him more and more, you're just going to know where he is. You know where you can fit or if you need to adjust because he's not going to be there.
"It's just about more time playing together."