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Mason's Mailbag: Newest Broncos get crash course in NFL 101

How much can the rookies really learn in one weekend camp?

-- Bill Buford

Quite a bit, actually -- especially when they're on the field getting the first taste of the daily rhythm of NFL work. By practicing Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they were able to go through days that resemble what they'll see in OTAs and the regular season as they went through the gauntlet of meetings, practice, film study to review their on-field work and extra work in the evenings back in the hotel learning the scheme.

The players saw the concepts they drilled expand from one day to the next, noted sixth-round pick Juwann Winfree.

"It was definitely a lot more than [Friday]. We covered a whole second install," he said. "So it's a lot, and you've just got to learn to take your time with everything and let everything [settle] in your head. You can't rush it. You've just got to think things through, and I'm trying my best at that."

You could see the growth in the players based on how they were being coached up from day to day. On Friday, Linebackers Coach Reggie Herring gave his players a verbal trial by fire as they went through their individual drills. His words bounced off the drywall of the strength-and-conditioning building's façade and echoed off the east wall of the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse that faces the northwest practice field at UCHealth Training Center.

"You've got to kind of listen to what he says -- because he knows a lot about football -- but just not how he says it," inside linebacker Joe Dineen said, smiling.

By Sunday morning, Herring's exhortations were peppered with praise.

"The third time is the charm, for sure," Dineen said. "I think now the overall concept of the defense is really starting to set in for us. Once we can understand that, it just makes everything easier.

"He's done a great job of installing [the concepts], and we're finally understanding what we're trying to do."

Mase, love your stuff. Where are all the team players now, who won the Super Bowl in 2015??? Really curious with the fantastic turnover that happens.

-- Robert Musser

Let's start with those who are still on the Broncos. Of the 69 players on the 53-man roster, practice squad and injured reserve at the end of that championship season, just seven remain with the team: ILB Todd Davis, CB Chris Harris Jr., K Brandon McManus, OLB Von Miller, WR Emmanuel Sanders, DE Derek Wolfe and TE Jeff Heuerman.

Twenty-six are still in the NFL, but currently with other teams. One is in the Canadian football League (DE George Uko, with the Ottawa Redblacks). Another played in the ill-fated Alliance of American Football: guard Robert "Quadzilla" Myers, with the Memphis Express. With the AAF now belly-up, Myers is one of 35 members of the Super Bowl 50 team who is out of football at the present time, although that tally includes free agents such as OLB Shane Ray, QB Brock Osweiler and S Darian Stewart, all of whom played last year and could land somewhere else in the coming weeks and months.

As Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Dineen was my favorite undrafted pickup. Why did the Broncos target him?

-- Al Satterwhite

For myriad reasons, but scheme fit is essential. Dineen checks that box, in part because of the emphasis on zone coverage, and in part because the scheme will allow him to attack the line of scrimmage, especially against the run.

"I like how we're not necessarily set on one gap," Dineen said. "What [Herring] does -- he calls it a blue-back drill -- is you get to a stack position over the nose and the tackle, and then you hit the tackle, center or guard and you read the running back. And I like that.

"I think sometimes when you're just in the gap scheme, it kind of handicaps yourself -- and it handicaps my skill set. So being able to flow off the back is something that can really help me."

So, Flacco and Lock are currently locked in as the starter and backup, but who would be third string as far as the other 3 QBs are concerned?

-- Scott Thielemeier

Joe Flacco is the projected starter, but Drew Lock is not locked in as the backup; first he must beat out veteran Kevin Hogan, who was the No. 2 quarterback last year. It will be an "open competition," in the words of Head Coach Vic Fangio after rookie minicamp concluded.

We haven't heard too much about Phillip Lindsay's recovery and progress on his wrist, does it look like it's something that he'll be ready to return from in time for camp/pre-season/regular season?

-- Enrico Maldonado

So far, so good, although Lindsay will not be at full speed during OTAs, which begin Monday. Fangio said Sunday that Lindsay "will be doing other stuff" off to the side, along with guard Ron Leary, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and tight end Jake Butt. Nothing has arisen that will prevent him from being ready for the 2019 season.

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