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Mason's Mailbag: Quarterback reps, O-line chatter, and more

As always, you can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase, use the submission form or scroll to the bottom of this page.

First of all, Gary Kubiak never said that. There is a perception that he did. But when he was asked March 24 about whether Peyton Manning's schedule and repetitions would be modified because of his age -- be it in practice or games -- this was his reply:

"It's interesting. He and I talked about that and I know his mindset is totally the other way but I have to get a feel for that. I think that as a coach you have to make those suggestions to players. You have to say, 'Hey, maybe you take a Wednesday [off] here or there.' I don't know what that's going to be until I get involved with him on a day-to-day basis.

"The great ones -- the reason they're great is you have to battle them on things like that because they are used to being a part of every day. They are used to having that under-control every day situation. So we'll see how it works out. We want to do what's best for him. I went through the same process with John [Elway] late in his career. It was a battle for me and [former Head Coach] Mike [Shanahan] to do some things with him. I can remember some of the adjustments we made with John -- from a meeting standpoints, from a practice standpoint, from training camp, things like that. But he battled us too and that's why they are who they are."

Now, we have already seen a modification of Manning's practice schedule, with regular days off during OTAs and minicamp. But that doesn't necessarily mean time off in games, and certainly does not mean sitting down the number of games that you mentioned.

Many have made comparisons to the situation in 1998, when Bubby Brister started four games in place of John Elway. But that was unplanned. All of Brister's 1998 starts happened because of injuries to Elway. So giving Elway games off in 1998 wasn't the plan, but it worked out well.

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What are the chances that Broncos add Evan Mathis to bolster the offensive line?**
-- Marc Axelrod

Don't count on that happening anytime soon.

Any snaps for a veteran brought in at this point would take away from the repetitions that the Broncos want to give to younger offensive linemen to help in their development -- both individually and as a collective. The team wants to cultivate and build an offensive-line combination for the future, not just for this year. As Kubiak said June 15:

"If you are young and you make it work, then you've got a chance to be good for a long time. So, I feel like we've got some good, young players and it's our job to get them going and if we can hit it right, this can be a group that can play together and stay together for a long time."

As good as Mathis has been the last three seasons, a 33-year-old offensive lineman who missed seven games to a knee injury last year isn't going to help that long-range developmental process to find the starting quintet for not just 2015, but 2016 and beyond. If Mathis is still on the market at some point during the preseason -- and if the Broncos decide they need some more experience -- he could be on their radar. For now, look for the status quo.

If injuries strike, then I expect you'd see an addition, but if the offensive line remains healthy, it would be a massive surprise if one of the Week 1 starters is not on the current roster.

After viewing the recently-announced 2015 Broncos' training camp schedule, there is a bit of confusion regarding the camera policy that I need clarification for. It says that any detachable lenses longer than the length of a credit card are prohibited on camp premises. I have a Canon SLR digital camera with a detachable 18-55mm lens that extends toEXACTLY the length of a credit card* about 3 3/8 inches). Would I be allowed to bring that into the camp premises?*
-- David Herrera

I own that lens, and have taken it to Major League Baseball venues where the "credit-card rule" applies. You should be good to go with it for training camp.

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When's the best time in training camp to see the most first-team action and when does the scrimmage usually occur? I live 2 hours away, so I want to make the trip count! Thanks.**

-- Justin Steimer

I'd love to be able to answer both questions specifically, but at this point, I can't. What we know is that full pads typically do not go on until the third day of practice, so if you want to see full-speed, full-contact work, you must wait until Aug. 2.

As for the scrimmage, that has usually been on the second Saturday of training camp over the years, and typically coincided with the stadium practice. But there will be no sessions at Sports Authority Field at Mile High this year, and OTAs have revealed that Head Coach Gary Kubiak will run his practices in a different manner than the Broncos have ever experienced. That will include giving some veteran first-teamers days off.

The other key note on the "scrimmage" work is that it usually happens before a day off. The Broncos' off-days in the first two weeks of training camp are Aug. 5 and 10. For more dates, check out the full training-camp schedule.


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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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