ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —No pads does not mean no progress for the Broncos in these early days. The instruction amid a heavy workload is invaluable, especially for young players who are trying to prove their mettle.
That integrity is what Louis Vasquez is also trying to instill in the young linemen, from the first whistle to the last.
The Broncos continued training camp work on Saturday and got closer to their first day in pads. (All photos by Eric Lars Bakke)
"My job is to get myself and the rest of the line ready to play," Louis Vasquez said. "My mentality is by the end of the fourth quarter, we want to feel your soul wilt in our hands. So I'm trying to instill that in the offensive line because it's dirty work. You might as well get nasty with it."
The experience now is necessary and though some young players are faster learners than others, Vasquez said, they're all extremely receptive to any teaching they receive from Offensive Line Coach Clancy Barone or veteran players.
"They're all just big eyed and bushy tailed, trying to take in any information they can," Vasquez added. "Whatever I'm saying, Coach Clancy's putting out there or even Ryan Harris -- he's been around the league a number of years -- anytime any one of has something to say, they're a sponge just trying to soak it in and apply it to themselves."
Obviously this is still early, but Vasquez said he's seen the line making good adjustments and though there's room to grow, he's confident that they'll find their cohesion.
Also in the first few days, Kubiak said they've experimented up front to get Chris Clark experience on both sides and to get Michael Schofield work on the right side.
As far as the rookies go, Kubiak praised Ty Sambrailo for his intelligence and quick learning.
"He's very bright. I think football scheme, all of those things," Kubiak said, "he'll be a quick study as a pro and he is. He's going to be fine there. I think it's going to be about technique. Playing with an anchor, doing those type of things, he's got to get better at. But he'll go against two of the best every day in practice, so that gives him a chance to get there real fast."
Vasquez took a shine to Max Garcia because he sees a lot of potential in the young center/guard, to the point that "if he continues to grow and develop as a player, he's going to be an elite guard in this league," Vasquez said.
"He's quick off the ball. He's powerful, strong and heavy-handed," Vasquez said. "I've talked to Coach Clancy, and I kind of told him that I'm going to take him under my wing because I like what he has. He just needs to be coached and molded."