ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --I'm writing this edition of Gray Matter from Maine, where my wife and I are visiting her parents. So it finally feels like there's a little bit of an offseason -- just in time for training camp to kick off in less than two weeks.
As always, you can send me your questions for each week's mailbag via Twitter. Let's get to this week's edition.
Each player is pretty much on his own until the players report back to Dove Valley on Wednesday, July 24. There's nothing organized by the team until that time, so it will be quiet on that front. But we have heard from Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas as recently as this week, when the two hosted a football camp for kids. Camps like that are being hosted across the country by Broncos players, including the Manning Passing Academy with Peyton Manning and his family going on in Louisiana this week. But players are getting back into the training camp mindset as the event is creeping up. Von Miller is in Denver working out, as is Decker.
"Right now, I'm back in Colorado and doing a workout regimen just getting myself back in shape, back in football shape," Decker said at his camp. "And I'm just enjoying the last couple weeks of freedom."
It's not too much of a "vacation" for the players, since they need to report back to camp in good shape so the team can get off and running from day one. Miller said back in June he would take about 10 days to relax before he'd be going hard in the gym again. Mitch Unrein decided to stay in Denver to train, while a lot of players elected to go home for a little while. Montee Ball said he would go to Madison, Wisc. for two weeks and Jeremy Beal said he was headed to Dallas. Steven Johnson was going all over the place, from a trip to Philadelphia with his brothers to Kansas and then Disney World and finally Dallas to train.
Wes Welker said at the end of minicam that he had a similar strategy to Miller.
"I'm going to take about a week and kind of relax and get some things done that I need to get done," he said in June. "And then it's going to be full-bore back at it. Making sure that I'm in tip-top shape for training camp."
Of those three, it seemed like Hillman got the most carries throughout OTAs and minicamp, but Ball and Moreno got more and more reps as the end of the offseason program approached. So it's anybody's guess during training camp. I'd say right off the bat expect more of the same with Hillman getting a lot of the early reps, but now that the pads will be on, the competition will start getting a little more clarification. It'll be up to each of those three backs to prove who's worthy of getting those carries.
Spelling my name correctly always helps your cause. However, Brandon Stokley isn't on the roster. Still, the topic was addressed in a previous mailbag, as Manning said he hoped the Wes Welker signing didn't "close the door" on bringing back Stokley. But if the veteran were to end up back in Denver, it would likely be a signing late in training camp or early in the season, like the Broncos did with players like Keith Brooking and Dan Koppen last season.