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Mason's Mailbag: Quarterbacks, D-line and more

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.

What do you think the chances are of Emmanuel Sanders and the Broncos getting a deal done before he becomes a free agent?

-- Jonathan Erickson

In the parlance of Larry David, "Pretty, pretty, pretty good." I would expect this will get done, perhaps in the next few weeks. Sanders said July 13 at his football camp that he hoped there would be a deal within "30 days."

As I've discussed regarding Von Miller, tacking Sanders' contract on to Demaryius Thomas, giving the Broncos a massive investment in their top two wide receivers, represents the kind of cap figure you can devote when you don't project having $20-$25 million per year tied up in the quarterback position. Further, retaining Sanders and having Thomas gives the quarterback for now and for the future no excuses; he will have the weapons he needs.

Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway said in the early offseason months he had three priority targets for re-signing: Miller, Sanders and Brandon Marshall. Two of the three are done. The desire is there on both sides; it's just a matter of coming together on the numbers.

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Is there any chance we make a move to grab a disgruntled Geno Smith from the Jets or pick up Nick Foles in free agency?**

-- Donald Grosshans

Unless the Broncos have a significant injury at the quarterback position, no.

The addition of any quarterback would be unwise given that a key priority is to give the three QBs on hand as many repetitions as possible. If you add a quarterback, you're dividing the reps four ways instead of three.

Besides, why would you really want either of the quarterbacks you mentioned unless you were in a desperate situation? Neither is an upgrade. Smith has a career 27-to-35 touchdown-to-interception ratio and his teams have an 11-18 record in games he starts. Foles played in the same scheme as Mark Sanchez with the Eagles in 2014 and had a lower quarterback rating than Sanchez.

I favor Mark Sanchez as the starting QB. Only using the limited knowledge I've gained from what I've seen, which is small ... In the back of my mind I've witnessed him turning the ball over on his team's side of the field in the red zone. The defense should be allowing these touchdowns, not Mark. If this occurs in one game for the Broncos will Kubiak allow the chance for it to happen twice?

-- Thomas Gormally

You have hit on the No. 2 priority for not only Sanchez, but whoever ends up as the Broncos' quarterback. (No. 1, of course, is to win; No. 2 is to avoid game-changing mistakes, and success there goes a long way toward taking care of item No. 1.)

If whoever plays quarterback is responsible for multiple giveaways in a game on a regular basis, I think his job will be in peril. But if it happens just once, I don't see a change being made unless there are other circumstances in play.

Further, I don't think it will make a difference whether the giveaways are in the red zone or elsewhere on the field; they can be equally costly in either the lost opportunity for points from the offense or putting the defense in an unfavorable spot.

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Now that Chicago has released Omar Bolden do you think the Broncos will bring him back?**

-- Paul Jasch

I don't see it happening, in part because Bolden is coming off a knee injury that was his third since 2009 (he tore an MCL in 2009 and an ACL in 2011). Further, the Broncos want to get a proper evaluation on their returners, giving returning punt returner Jordan Norwood some work on kickoff returns and Bralon Addison and Kalif Raymond plenty of repetitions in both disciplines. As with the quarterbacks, the addition of someone else reduces the reps for players you want to evaluate.

I am wondering how Mose Frazier is doing in camp ... does he still have a chance of making the team?

-- Karl Cross

He's having a good camp so far. His diving catch Saturday was the second most acrobatic reception of training camp, trailing only Jordan Taylor's circus catch during one-on-one work Friday.

Realistically, Frazier's best chance is going to be to stick on the practice squad. Unless there is a plague of injuries that remove multiple wide receivers from the equation, the depth of that position makes getting a 53-man roster spot a difficult proposition.

Saw the "No Fly Zone" was wearing blinders at practice. Do you know why that was?

-- Jeff Jackson

Ben Swanson's article from the first day of training camp offers the best answer to your question.

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How do you see the D-Line shaking out? Do you think Sylvester Williams is in line to get pushed out with our other additions in free agency?**

-- Nick Pomroy

Barring injury, I expect the initial starting trio to remain as it was during OTAs: Derek Wolfe and Vance Walker at the ends, with Williams at nose tackle.

Williams is an interesting case for the long term because the Broncos elected to not exercise their fifth-year option on him, making him an unrestricted free agent next spring. It's possible that he could return, but it will have to be at the right price. In 2015, the Broncos let Terrance Knighton hit the market in part because they didn't want to pay a premium price for a defensive lineman who played fewer than 50 percent of the snaps. Williams played 47.2 percent of the snaps last year (including playoffs).

But for this year, Williams is the first-team nose tackle for a reason, and before his shoulder injury was disrupting run plays well.

It's possible that Williams' repetitions could increase if he sees any work in the sub packages, as the Broncos look to replace Malik Jackson. But Walker's performance in pass-rush situations last year makes him an option to help fill that role, along with free-agent pickup Jared Crick.

I think you will also see Adam Gotsis as a key part of the rotation, and working at all three spots. He might not start right away because it will take some time for him to get a full practice workload as he recovers from the torn ACL he suffered nine months ago. But I would expect to see him in a rotational role in Week 1, and perhaps pushing for a starting spot later in the season as he adjusts and improves.

There's room for it but I don't know if it's necessary, especially with "BRONCOS" stitched just below the collar on the front of the jersey. Personally, I like the clean look of the jersey sleeves, and a sleeve without a number or a logo is especially functional given how most players wear their jerseys today -- tight, and with sleeves so short that armpits are exposed.

I am giving some suggestions. I think it would be best if you guys decorate this website with new colors, and some new logos. Thanks.

-- Ahmed Chowdhury

So what you're actually saying is that you want the team to have new colors and new logos.

Don't hold your breath. No logo or color change is imminent, and as I've discussed in this space before, orange is the Broncos' identity and should remain the primary color now and forevermore.

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"...Patriots, Raiders, Saints, Texans and Titans all devoting at least one person in their pro personnel department or coaching staff to watching the broadcast, taking copious notes and studying each practice looking for tendencies, formations and tactics."**

Well......you know the Patriots are going to be doing that anyway! ;-)

-- Steve Horton

Of course, in all seriousness, they can't. Other teams are only allowed to scout practices if a team charges admission. In 2000, Washington made an ill-fated attempt to charge a $10 fee for fans to watch training-camp practices, which were then held at its facility in Ashburn, Va. Other teams, most notably the New York Giants, happily paid the fee and sent scouts to Redskins Park to watch.

"They opened up practices, and we went," then-Giants GM Ernie Accorsi told The New York Times back then. "I don't know how much you get from it, but I know there were a lot of little individual ingredients, and sometimes those individual things all add up."

The scouting work seemed to help opponents, as Washington fell from 10-6 to 8-8 that year and scored more than 21 points just twice. Admission charges were rescinded the following summer.

Are the podcasts a thing of the past or are you waiting for the season to start? I think there would be some interesting material from training camp and the preseason.

-- Bryce Primavera

I expect you'll see the podcasts return this season, but with a different format. Given the production involved on the back end for Swanson and the relatively small audience compared with other pieces of content, it wasn't deemed to be the most efficient use of time.

There have been internal discussions as to how to create a more engaging podcast while also reducing the production burden on the back end. Once we have figured out the right balance, expect the podcasts to return.


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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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