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Mason's Mailbag: Paxton Lynch's arm strength, Shane Ray's progress, and how Denver's defense rates

As always, you can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

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How would you rate Paxton Lynch's arm strength? Do you believe he can make every throw on the field?**

-- Cody Claar

His arm is clearly NFL-caliber. His downfield throws are exactly as they were on film at Memphis: strong, quick, decisive. He can make the throws you need him to make on the outside 20 yards upfield, and there's a lot of pop to his throws.

"It's an easy thing to see how gifted he is throwing the ball and stuff," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said.

The biggest leap for him won't be physical, but mental, as Kubiak noted on Thursday.

"Sometimes he'll get real slow because that's when you're thinking too much," Kubiak said. "It's up to us as coaches to lock in to what he really understands and what he's doing and cut him loose."

A big one.

He's in better shape -- leaner and with more muscle, as he mentioned during offseason workouts. He has a full complement of OTAs to work in the defense, as opposed to last year, when a toe injury prevented him from taking any more than mental repetitions until the final days before the team took its summer break. With Von Miller not at OTAs and DeMarcus Ware held out because of a back issue, he's been able to work with the No. 1 defense the last three weeks.

What I see so far is a player who is more complete than as a rookie; he reads run plays better and works multiple pass-rush moves. The sprint around the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle remains his most effective means of getting to the quarterback; he can use his speed to his advantage. But he is also getting penetration working on the inside, and uses misdirection to keep the opposing offensive tackle off-balance.

I expect his spurts to become more extensive this year -- and for his production to reflect this.

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The Broncos drafted two safeties in the previous draft: Will Parks and Justin Simmons. Which of these two do you see stepping into David Bruton's role on special teams and in nickel and dime packages?**

-- Ryan Patrick

Both Parks and Simmons have made plays, but at this point in OTAs, Simmons appears a bit ahead and has made more plays on the football the last three weeks. Shiloh Keo is also in the mix, and he could end up being the No. 3 safety if the Broncos opt for experience.

On special teams, it's not as clear-cut. I would expect both safeties to play a part, perhaps right away. But the leadership on that unit will also come from veterans like Kayvon Webster and Cody Latimer, both of whom emerged last season as core special-teamers. Corey Nelson could also factor in there.

They did not, but the rookies were busy.

On the day the 2015 Broncos visited the White House, the 2016 rookies took part in the team's inaugural Rookie Community Service Day. Rookies visited the Bonfils Blood Center, Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado Hospital, the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club, Food Bank of the Rockies and the Denver Rescue Mission's The Crossing Facility.

Broncos rookies spent Monday visiting the Bonfils Blood Center, two hospitals, the Denver Broncos Boy & Girls Club, the Food Bank of the Rockies and the Denver Rescue Mission. (Photos by Caroline Deisley and Aric DiLalla)

Not that they didn't enjoy the day, but being so close -- yet so far -- from the spoils of a world championship gives the newest Broncos something for which they can strive.

"No doubt. That's definitely on my mind," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "The best way to do that is to assert yourself as a leader and be the starter for this team, then play well during the season, let things take their course and then hopefully that happens.

"But obviously [in the] big picture, that's the ultimate goal: to be doing that next year."

Do you think the NFL should consider eliminating four preseason games into only two preseason games?

-- Phil Cremer

Only if there was a way to a) recoup the lost revenue from the games, and b) create other avenues, such as scrimmages between teams, to get a legitimate look at prospects whose best chance to make an impression before the cut to 53 comes during those preseason games.

A proper developmental league, as mentioned last week, would reduce the need for preseason games, but you would have to compensate for the revenue shortfall if the preseason is trimmed, which is where expanding the regular season would have to come into play.

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Do you think the Raiders have a better D than us?

-- Dillon Sharp

No.

Oakland has made some additions; Denver has sustained some free-agent losses. But are those enough to make up this difference in performance?

YARDAGE ALLOWED PER GAME:
Denver 283.1 (1st)
Oakland 363.6 (22nd)

YARDAGE ALLOWED PER PLAY:
Denver 4.39 (1st)
Oakland 5.36 (11th)

FIRST-DOWN RATE ALLOWED:
Denver one every 4.25 plays (1st)
Oakland one every 3.62 plays (13th)

PASSING YARDAGE ALLOWED PER GAME:
Denver 199.6 (1st)
Oakland 258.8 (26th)

YARDAGE ALLOWED PER PASS PLAY:
Denver 5.11 (1st)
Oakland 6.10 (10th)

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FIRST-DOWN RATE ALLOWED PER PASS PLAY:**
Denver one every 3.86 plays (1st)
Oakland one every 3.30 plays (10th)

RUSHING YARDAGE ALLOWED PER GAME:
Denver 83.6 (3rd)
Oakland 104.9 (13th)

YARDAGE ALLOWED PER RUSH:
Denver 3.28 yards (1st)
Oakland 4.13 yards (18th)

FIRST-DOWN RATE ALLOWED PER RUSH:
Denver one every 5.04 plays (7th)
Oakland one every 4.32 plays (24th)

The average difference in league ranking in those nine metrics is 14.4 places.

Nothing is static, of course. Past success is not always a basis of future performance But until it iss proven otherwise in the regular season, the Broncos have a better defense than the Raiders.

Please tell me the team tried to convince Peyton Manning to stay in the White House. Would anyone in the country object to him being our next President?

-- Cody Smart

No one did, at least to my knowledge. There's a lot of other things Manning wants to do.

And I imagine people who disagree with Manning's political leanings would object. There's no better way to torpedo your across-the-board popularity as a public figure in this country than by running for office in this polarized climate.


Submit a question for the next Mailbag!

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

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