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Takeaways from Vance Joseph and John Elway: Shaquil Barrett is ahead of schedule

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Shaquil Barrett will not take part in training camp. But with a better-than-expected pace in his recovery from a hip injury, the Broncos expect Barrett to return and provide much-needed depth at outside linebacker sooner rather than later.

"We're hoping sometime in September," President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said.

Barrett could still miss the start of the season, Head Coach Vance Joseph added, but "he's getting better, really, really fast," as he continues his rehabilitation work.

"I've been shocked how fast he's getting better," Joseph said at his press conference Wednesday following the annual media barbecue lunch that kicked off training camp.

"The prognosis of his return is a lot better than when we first heard of the injury -- he could have been out the whole year," Elway added.



Center Matt Paradis will be limited to individual drills and walk-through work during the first week of camp as he works his way back to full strength following two offseason hip surgeries.

Defensive end Adam Gotsis will be on a similar regimen as he completes his recovery from knee surgery in June that kept him out during minicamp.

Tight end Jake Butt, who will begin training camp on the non-football injury list, could begin practicing in "four to six weeks," Elway said.

"Physically, he's getting a lot closer, but when you have that ACL, the mental side of it is a big part of it, too," Elway said.



But the former Chiefs running back won't be handling a full workload right away, Joseph said.

"We're not going to push him out there too quickly and burn Jamaal out," Joseph said. "We want to continue to go slow with Jamaal and continue to rehab him and get him strong so we can have Jamaal for the season. That's my goal for him: to have him ready in September."

Charles will rotate among the first, second and third units, Joseph said. C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker will split first-team work.

"It's tough to say how the reps are going to be split, but we've got five or six guys that need reps there, so we've got to figure that out," Joseph said.

Joseph added that Anderson is probably "in the best shape he's been in in three or four years."



While the focus is understandably on quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, Joseph and Elway reminded onlookers that their duel is only the beginning of the camp competitions that dot the Broncos roster.

"For us, the attention is not so much on that position as it is in the fan base or what you all [in the media] have been talking about," Elway said. "We've got to get better on the offensive line. Defensively we've got to get better. We've got to stop the run. We've got to do a better job against the run. I think we've got a chance to do that."

Joseph cited "serious battles" at wide receiver, running back, left tackle and No. 5 cornerback as ones to which he would pay close attention.

"So [quarterback] is one component that we're concerned about, but there's battles all over this football team, and it should be that way every camp," he said.

You'll be able to track the various competitions around the roster on Broncos TV's daily training-camp updates as we break down a different roster battle each day.



Garett Bolles and Ty Sambrailo will continue splitting first-team repetitions as they did during minicamp, Joseph said.

Since drafting Bolles, Joseph has mentioned that the Utah product was selected in the first round for a reason. But he has also mentioned repeatedly that he wants Bolles to earn the job outright and not have the Week 1 starting assignment handed to him.

"I want the best player to play at that point in time," Elway said. "So we'll find out. I root for the guy who's playing the best to be the starter. I know that we've got young guys, and Garett is one of those young guys that you hope he grows fast, but you never know how they'll grow."

For Bolles to earn the job, he has to handle his task -- which on the surface sounds simple, but can be difficult to execute given the quality of players he will face every day.

"He has to know what to do on every play and block his guy. Simple as that," Joseph said.

"It's not [hard to know what to do]," Joseph continued a moment later. "We do football for a living. He's been here now for four or five months. He's a first-round pick. We have good coaches. He will know what to do, and obviously he's a first-round pick for a reason, so he should block his guy."

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