ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** Following the second day of minicamp practice, Head Coach Gary Kubiak said the offensive line that was shaken up by an injury and turnover is starting to clear up — though nothing is certain at this point.
"I think right now if we went to camp, we have a pretty good idea of how we're going to line up and go," Kubiak said. "...I think we know how we're going to line up: ones and twos and threes, right now. But how it's going to end up, I don't know. We'll see, but it'll be a very competitive environment throughout."
Uncertainty has bubbled up after Ryan Clady's knee injury dealt the line a blow, but because it came so early, the Broncos have been able to adjust and give the competition behind him plenty of looks still at a fairly early point in the offseason.
The Broncos' offseason minicamp continued on Wednesday as the team had its second minicamp practice.
Both tackle positions are free for competition and Louis Vasquez is the only starter remaining from the previous season so this early evaluation has been valuable as Kubiak and his staff try to get a feel for their depth along the line.
"The tackle situation, you know, I think we know who our three guys are right now that are battling and trying to get the other ones going," Kubiak added. "I should say four; now Ryan's involved and y'all can see Ryan's been working a little bit. I think from a competitive standpoint, I think we're very competitive right now between [Matt] Paradis and Gino [Gradkowski]. That's a very competitive situation and I think Shelley [Smith] is pushing [Ben] Garland and Max [Garcia] is a young man who's come in and played really really well."
However, Kubiak gave a caveat because, after all, the team still is far from training camp and further from the regular season kickoff.
"Everybody's moving pretty good this time of year," Kubiak said. "Everybody's physical this time of year. When you put the pads on and get beat down a little bit and the wear and tear takes over, you continue to play and how consistent are you? I think we've got to find that out for everybody."
The Broncos moved on to a new step in their offseason program on Tuesday, beginning their minicamp.
But progress is being made daily by the offensive line and by others who are trying to transition to a new system, and they're clearly making impressions on the coaching staff.
"I think everybody is doing really well," Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison said. "Obviously this time here is great for them and the tackles get a great look; we've got two real good pass rushers on defense. The entire front gives us a look every day. They're progressing. Communication is a lot better and now they're understanding what we're trying to get done. I think everybody is progressing, not just the line. Everyone's getting a lot of good reps and we're making strides."
Dennison emphasized the progress being made on the line, but he noted the line is not set quite yet. "...it'll be a battle but we'll find the right five and we'll find the right 11 playing offense," Dennison concluded. "But we're still just starting off. It's June and we've got until September to figure this thing out."