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Five takeaways from Joe Ellis, John Elway and Vance Joseph


PHOENIX -- **On April 10, Broncos players will return for team-organized workouts as the first phase of the offseason program begins.

When they return, they'll meet the new coaches -- and the offensive players will get accustomed to a new scheme. But it will not represent a complete departure from the past, as Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy sought to incorporate nomenclature and some concepts from last year's offense into the new scheme to help the players' transition.

"The players show up April 10, and the first install[ation] is April 11," Head Coach Vance Joseph said Monday during a break at the NFL Annual Meeting. "Mike and his staff have done a great job of combining systems, keeping some stuff from last year as far as terminology, but putting Mike's system in play."

Joseph's plan is to have 10 installation sessions repeated three times -- once during Phase 1 of the offseason work, again during Phase 2 and finally during organized team activities, when offense-vs.-defense work is permitted. Then the team will polish its work during 10 days of training camp.

"The players should hear it four times before we play our first game. That's the goal," Joseph said.

Here's what else stood out from when Joseph, Executive Vice President and General Manager John Elway and President and CEO Joe Ellis met with media Monday afternoon.



The Raiders are the third team to have relocation approved in the last 15 months, joining the Rams and Chargers, who departed St. Louis and San Diego, respectively, for Los Angeles.

Monday's ratification of the Raiders' Las Vegas proposal brings an apparent end to the league's most pressing stadium issue -- and the potential for stability and an end to the dizzying recent cycle of moves.

"I hope so," Ellis said. "And I think the league has a great future ahead of it. There'll be an expansion of games and some other things on the international front, and we'll see some things differ from the past, but for the most part, we'll have stable franchises here, obviously.

"In the long run, we'll see how it works out. But I think there's great optimism for Mark Davis and his group that they were able to come to a resolution that will put them in a stadium that they deserve moving forward."



If the Broncos lined up tomorrow, that solution would still be Donald Stephenson or recent free-agent pickup Menelik Watson, Joseph said.

"We don't play tomorrow," Joseph quickly added. "So that's a nice problem to have."

Neither Joseph nor Elway seemed in any way uncomfortable with the lack of a firm answer at left tackle.

"We'll have a solution. It's not fixed yet. It doesn't have to be fixed yet," Elway said. "We're aware of that problem, and we'll continue to work on it, so we'll do the best thing big-picture-wise for the Broncos.

"There's always options," Elway added, "and I think that some are better than others, obviously. It's kind of funny how as soon as one option becomes available, [people believe] that's the fix. We still have many months in front of us to do the best we can to fill that, and that's what we'll do."



"I think it's still nip-and-tuck," Elway replied when asked about whether quarterback Trevor Siemian will take part in offseason work after he completes rehabilitation following left shoulder surgery.

"We'll have to see where he is, but I have not had an update from [Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos] for a couple of weeks."

Joseph and Elway also continued to express confidence in the development of Siemian and Paxton Lynch.

"We really feel good about the two young ones that we have," Elway said. "Trevor did a good job for us last year. Paxton was young. So the plan is to stay the course there and see what's available in the draft, so we'll go from there. We like both, and Paxton was a first-rounder for a reason, and then Trevor came in and played very well. So it'll be a great competition between them this spring."

As for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Elway said there were no discussions regarding him.

"Nope," Elway replied when the subject arose. "He's still under contract with the Cowboys."



As a former first-round pick and a quarterback for 16 NFL seasons, Elway understands what does and does not work to aid a high draft choice's development at that position. That's why he tries to limit the advice he gives to Lynch. "It's always dangerous when you have a quarterback hearing too many different things from too many different directions," Elway said. "So it's always important that he hears it from one voice — or two voices. That's usually the quarterback coach or the coordinator, or depending on where the head coach is, the head coach.

"I do a lot of talking with McCoy and [Quarterbacks Coach Bill] Musgrave and those guys and communicate with Paxton through them. The last thing you do, in my belief, is have too many voices in his ear."



Joseph believes that the best draft plan involves a melding of those two schools of thought.

"You have to draft the best player for that slot -- along with need. No one drafts need only. No one drafts best-player only. It's a combination of both, in my opinion," he said. "If it's a guy there that fits that value, that fits a need, why not? You don't want to reach for a need in a draft, because that player never gets his value -- and it won't be the player's fault. It's your fault for drafting him that high."

At the same time, there is plenty that a team and its coaches can do to coach up a player and aid his development.

"That's so important, because no one's drafting perfect players," Joseph said. "But when you draft a player to your system -- and that's important -- you have to make sure every year he's getting better and better in your system.

"No one's drafting perfect players. But you have to draft to your system offensively and defensively. If you do that, you don't waste picks."

From Phoenix, Joe Ellis, John Elway and Vance Joseph participate in the the NFL's annual league meeting to discuss league-wide topics. (photos by Andrew Mason)

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