Under threatening skies, the Broncos returned to the practice fields for the third day of training camp. (photos by Ben Swanson)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Offensive linemen don't usually dance at practice.
Come to think of it, offensive linemen don't usually do much of anything but scowl when they're not grappling with one another.
But there Garett Bolles was during a break in Saturday's drills, feeling himself and feeling the beat of DMX's "X Gon' Give It To Ya." The dance wasn't anywhere near Von Miller's level, but it's certainly a deviation from what you normally see at the offensive line's end of the field — so much so that it left some members of the media thinking, "Who is this guy?"
"Man, I'm still trying to figure that out, myself," a chuckling Ron Leary said. "But he's a good kid, though. Man, he loves the game. He's always happy. You need that little juice sometimes, especially when you get into the dog days of camp. He's still learning. We've got to sometimes reel him in a little bit, but man, I love him. He brings energy to the group and I'm glad he's here."
That process of feeling out each other's personalities and getting comfortable playing next to one another has been a large part of the offseason for the Broncos' offensive line. Bolles, Leary and Menelik Watson all have the potential of being new starters along the line after being added in the offseason, and trade acquisition Allen Barbre just got to town in time for the first day of camp.
"We've got a lot of new faces on the O-line, so getting everybody the continuity and [getting] everybody together on the same page learning the playbook together, it's all very new," Leary said. "We've got a new O-line coach [Jeff Davidson]. So the more we do together, the better we'll do as an O-line."
Leary knows a thing or two about forming a cohesive bond with the rest of an offensive line from his days in Dallas as part of the Cowboys' dominant group. His advice: Simply spend more time off the field together.
"I just try to do everything as a group," Leary said. "We were a real tight group in Dallas and that's what we're going to be here. The more you do off the field, the better you play on the field together. We're getting together a lot, doing a lot of stuff together, just talking ball, just talking about life in general. I think all that's going to translate."
To hear it from Bolles, it's already starting to translate.
"All of us love each other, like I've said before, but it's starting to become real now," Bolles said. "We've just got to pick up every single day. There's going to be one day that we've got to fix some things, but the other day we're going to come out and get those things done, and that's what happened today. Yesterday we had some things we needed to fix and we came out here and fixed them, and it felt real good today."
As the line is growing together off the field, so is it growing together on it, even if the linemen aren't all the kind of linemen who dance to DMX.
"[We're] more serious and we don't smile all the time," Leary said, "but I guess this is the new-age O-line now, man."