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Takeaways from Broncos OTAs: 'Chaos' now helps QBs later

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Organized team activities end this week, and with the summer break fast approaching, Head Coach Gary Kubiak wanted to continue drilling his team in specific situations to complete preparations for next month's training camp.

After red-zone work last week, Kubiak focused on the hurry-up offense, giving each quarterback the chance to lead his unit in the two-minute drill -- and without a pre-set plan.

"We were kind of off-script instead of running a set number of plays that you can study the night before," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "We wanted to see how well we do in a game-like atmosphere, and I thought we did well."

That's where the takeaways from Tuesday's work begin.


  1. "CHAOS" THEORY.**

It was one thing to run plenty of no-huddle periods, as the Broncos did. But by going away from the script, the practice provided further opportunity to gauge the quarterbacks' ability to think on their feet.

"I tried to create a little chaos in practice today," Kubiak said. "I wanted to see how some of our young guys react to a little craziness on the field."

"It wasn't perfect, but there were some good things, too," said quarterback Trevor Siemian. "Something to build off of."

The second- and third-team offenses went against the No. 2 and 3 defenses, respectively, at the end of practice and responded. Given a 23-21 deficit, two timeouts and two minutes on the clock, both Siemian and Paxton Lynch drove their units in to field-goal range.

"It was a roller-coaster ride," Kubiak said. "Some good, some bad.

"I told [the players] after practice, I said, 'I think you guys know who the guys are that reacted the right way to the chaos.' You can see guys that have it under control and then you see some guys that say, 'What the heck happened there?' We'll give them a chance to come back tomorrow. We'll probably do the same thing."



Kubiak kept Sanchez with the No. 1 offense Tuesday after he worked with it throughout last week's minicamp.

Sanchez did a good job overcoming his rough spots, including one patch of practice where he misfired on consecutive attempts to Garrett Graham. After a Ronnie Hillman run that saw the fifth-year back follow Ty Sambrailo on a pulling block, Sanchez led Demaryius Thomas on a short crossing route past Darian Stewart in what turned out to be his final full-speed pass of the day before situational work later.

Sanchez has a better grasp of the offense now, and it has showed in recent practices.

"The most important thing was mastering this playbook, and I think I'm real close," he said. "I think I'm speaking the language and I'm understanding more and more every day ...

"I'm really enjoying this new spot that I landed in. It's perfect."

Before the team breaks for summer before reconvening at training camp, the Broncos got in their penultimate OTA at UCHealth Training Center. (Photos by Eric Bakke)


Siemian had one instance where he could have tried to throw downfield for Bennie Fowler but settled for a scramble to the left side, but for the most part made good decisions throughout his work.

The second-year quarterback has not thrown an interception in the last four practices, and his decision-making has improved throughout OTAs. That has helped him reach a point where he is on level terms with Sanchez.

"I think they're looking each other right in the eye throughout the whole course of the offseason as far who is ahead and who is one or two," Kubiak said. "I think those two guys are right there with each other. I think it's a very competitive situation. They're obviously ahead of our young guy just from a mental standpoint right now."



With the football at the offense's 30-yard-line, Lynch looked smooth in completing six consecutive passes to guide the offense into field-goal range. His timing with his receivers was good, and former college teammate Mose Frazier gave him a hand with a leaping catch near the left sideline that saw him get his back foot down just before he went out of bounds.

After practice, Kubiak said that he felt Lynch was starting to develop the consistency he wanted to see after struggling earlier in practice.

"You watch in practice today and when I got [Quarterbacks Coach Greg Knapp] 'Knapper' and [Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison] Rico away from him, we did some things," Kubiak said. "We went to two-minute [offense], and he just went out there and reacted, played football and took his team right down the field.

"All the ability is there. It's just trying to get all the consistency in place for what you do."


With Derek Wolfe in Ohio to receive an award, Vance Walker and Jared Crick both saw plenty of first-team repetitions during Tuesday's work. Walker was particularly disruptive; he flushed Sanchez out of the pocket at one point and did a good job getting inside penetration and forcing running backs outside.



OLB DeMarcus Ware remained sidelined with a back problem; he did not practice during any of the OTA sessions open to the media. Ware, like other injured players, will remain in Denver to continue rehabilitation work.

ILB Brandon Marshall continues to recover from surgery to repair a dislocated finger. He didn't see any team-period repetitions throughout OTAs, but is close to returning and will be full-go for training camp.

"If we were going another week or two, you'd see him and [TE] Virgil [Green] practice. That's how close they are," Kubiak said. "They'll be ready to go."

CB Aqib Talib continues to recover from a gunshot wound and is "just weaning off the crutches right now," Kubiak noted.

"I would put him in the category of we're doing everything we can to have him ready for training camp," Kubiak said. "I think it's still a day-to-day process."



The second-round pick has been a constant off to the side from the practice field, working on agility and flexibility drills as he continues to work back from his torn ACL toward an expected debut during training camp.

"I think he's very close and ready to go," Kubiak said. "He's probably one of those guys that when we go back to work it will be a pattern to how we work him. He should be ready to go."

Last year, the Broncos eased inside linebackers Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan back into work as they recovered from their injuries, gradually increasing their practice repetitions. A similar strategy should be in play for Gotsis, who will be nine months removed from the injury early in training camp.

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