PHOENIX —A few tidbits that emerged from Head Coach Vance Joseph's question-and-answer session with media Tuesday morning at the AFC Coaches Breakfast:
HE WANTS DT TO BE 'A DOMINANT PLAYER'
Demaryius Thomas is one of just 13 players in NFL history with at least 500 receptions, 7,000 receiving yards and 50 receiving touchdowns in his first seven seasons. He's in elite company. He's among the best at what he does.
Joseph wants more.
"I want him to be a dominant player all the time," Joseph said. "I don't want him to ease into games. I want him to step out and be a guy.
"It's time — because he's a great player. He can take over a game. But every game we play, I want his mindset to be to walk on the field and take over the game."
The rest of the team can help — particularly on the ground. Joseph reiterated his desire to get the ground game going; if that happens, Thomas will have more one-on-one opportunities.
"I want him to win every one-on-one," Joseph said.
Those could come both outside and inside. Joseph said he plans to move Thomas around, giving him chances in the slot as well as outside.
"He's a great runner of the football with wide-receiver screens — and that's been his trademark for years, to catch the screen and go 60 and 70 yards," Joseph said. "Having more variety in the offense is going to help him."
HE WANTS TO RUN, BUT THE KEY IS UP FRONT**
The head coach sees C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker as "two backs that will run downhill," but believes improvement for the ground game will come from what happens up front, starting with newcomers Ron Leary and Menelik Watson.
"Those two guys are going to bring a different attitude to our offensive line," Joseph said. "It starts there ... we've got to block better up front and we will."
Helping the cause will be the return to health for center Matt Paradis, who underwent two hip surgeries earlier this offseason. Joseph said Tuesday that Paradis is now off crutches and will be ready for training camp.
HE WANTS HIS TACKLES TO HAVE SIMILAR SKILL SETS**
Left tackle remains in flux. Watson and Donald Stephenson are the current possibilities on the roster, and there is the potential to bring in a free agent, a draft pick -— or both. But no matter who ends up manning the position, Joseph wants to see athleticism, which was one reason why the Broncos targeted Watson for the right side.
"Left or right tackle, they both have to pass protect. So if it's left or right, you have to switch your feet and play. So I'm not overly concerned about having a left tackle," Joseph said.
The trend of having elite pass rushers align themselves over right tackle also blurs the distinction between each side.
"Von Miller for the most part is on our defensive left side so he's going against the right tackle all the time," Joseph said. "Defensively, you can align your front anywhere you want. I can get Von Miller on your worst tackle anytime I want. So left or right, who cares?
"We need to acquire tackles who can block speed. In our division, every team has two [rushers] so it's a concern for all of us in the division blocking edge rushers. Left or right? Not concerned. I want two guys who can block speed rushers."
HE HELPS ENSURE ALL PLAYER ACQUISITION POSSIBILITIES ARE INVESTIGATED**
That was a point Vance Joseph made repeatedly throughout the hour-long question-and-answer session — particularly when he was asked a question about former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, and whether the Broncos have looked at him.
"Maybe we have, you don't know," Joseph said with a laugh. "Everyone available is going to be explored and researched by our football team. Every guy out there has been talked about in some manner [to see] if he can help us. Everyone that we think can help us win, they've been talked about."
HE IS HIS OWN MAN**
Joseph emphasized that the defensive scheme he and Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods will run comes from Wade Phillips, who is now the Rams' defensive coordinator. The connection isn't just through Joseph's three years (2011-13) in Houston with Phillips, but also through his time on San Francisco's staff with Mike Nolan, who coached under Phillips, then the Broncos' defensive coordinator, from 1989-92.
"My belief system is Wade's," Joseph said. "So I'm walking into a defense that I'm very familiar with. We're not going to change the structure of the defense. With that being said, we can add some things to make us better in my opinion. But the system is not going to change."
But that doesn't mean Joseph is a Phillips clone.
"I'm not Wade," Joseph said. "Players love playing for Wade. He's an easy-going guy. He's the same every day whether you won or lost. Wade is always the same guy. But in my past, players have also loved playing for me also. I'm a different style than Wade, but I've maximized players also.
"But again, Joe is the coordinator. Joe has coached the secondary which has a lot of personalities back there. Those guys believe in Joe. So I don't see any issues with those guys playing for Joe Woods. It's going to be a good thing."
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)