ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --For Denver's safeties, the 2015 offseason brings a new scheme in which "activate" could have any number of meanings, the potential for big plays through well-timed aggression, and a few potential tweaks on the depth chart.
The Broncos' safety corps has not endured as much change as some other units -- most notably the offensive line. But with the addition of former Ravens starter Darian Stewart, the potential for Bradley Roby to get some safety work and a streamlined workload for T.J. Ward after a late season spent as a sub-package linebacker, the landscape is different.
The changes begin with Stewart, signed in the wake of Rahim Moore's free-agent departure.
"The transition's been (going) well. I'm loving it out here," Stewart said. "I'm getting acclimated very well, and I'm just having fun."
One of the first tasks for the safety duo is to get their pre-snap communication up to speed.
"All of that is going to take time," Ward said. "We're going to come in and get on the field. All that meshing, cohesion and chemistry is going to come.
"It's not all going to come in the workouts. It starts now in the meeting room and workouts. Everyone knows it doesn't mean anything until you get out there on the field."
And once the Broncos take the field, the competition for playing time begins in earnest -- and will include Roby and veteran David Bruton.
"[Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips] says he's going to put the six best DBs on the field," Ward said. "Whoever it is, is going to be more than capable of filling that job. Bradley, with his ability, his smarts and his competitiveness, he's definitely one of those players that is definitely capable of doing that."
The same could be said for Bruton, who saw more playing time late last season because of injuries. He found a niche diagnosing screen passes as they developed and attacking the receiver, limiting yardage.
"When I was out, he had a good game against Oakland and then in the sub-packages he came in and tackled well, was physical and aggressive," Ward said.
And his play is one reason why not even the two-time Pro Bowler Ward assumes his spot is secure.
"I know the coaches haven't and I haven't penciled in anyone next to me," Ward said. " know guys are coming for my spot and I'm working as hard as I can to be the best player I can.
"We've got a bunch of guys that can fill that spot, and that's a great thing about it. We have two, three, four guys -- Omar [Bolden] as well -- that are all going to be fighting for that spot. It's going to be a good competitive offseason."