'Win the first second': RT Ja'Wuan James, Broncos adopting granular philosophy to gain edge

With help from UnitedHealthcare, right tackle Ja'Wuan James surprised fifth graders at Godsman Elementary by handing out 70 new bikes and helmets. “I’m excited to see these kids smiling,” James said. “There happened to be 70 bikes — we didn’t even know. I’m No. 70, so it all was cool. It was a good day.”

DENVER — One Mississippi.

Forget taking the season week by week or day by day.

The Broncos have an even more granular focus: one single second.

That, as right tackle Ja’Wuan James pointed out Monday, is enough to tip the scales in the Broncos’ favor. And it’s been a main point of emphasis for Head Coach Vic Fangio as the Broncos have moved forward in their offseason program.

“Coach Vic, he’s big on winning the first second of the play,” said James on Monday after distributing 70 bikes to elementary schoolers at Godsman Elementary. “If you win the first second of the play, you’ve got a great chance to win the rest of the play.”

Win enough plays, and you start to build a reputation.

And though James has been in Denver for only a few weeks after signing as a free agent in March, he’s already thought a lot about how he wants people to view Denver’s new-look offensive line.

“I just talked about that with [guard] Ron [Leary],” James said. “I want people to be able to turn on film and say, ‘OK, we’ve got to play the Broncos’ O-line this week. All right. We’ve seen them on film playing hard, finishing downfield, dumping people.’ I really want people to look at [us] and have respect. That’s the big thing in this league is respect.

“A guy [can’t] turn on the film like, ‘Oh, we’ve got the Broncos’ O-line this week. OK. I’m going to do this.’ Nah, we want people to turn on the film and be like, ‘All right, I’ve got to bring my A-game.’”

James and Co. won’t put on pads until training camp, but the sixth-year veteran said there’s plenty for the group to work on before July rolls around.

“Technique and communication [are important],” James said. “We’ve got a lot of new pieces on the offensive line. We’ve got a whole new playbook, so this time is learning that. Learning the guy you’re playing next to, learning the little code words you’re going to say with him, learning how to communicate amongst five guys that are new together. That’s the big thing right now, because we’re not [in] pads.”

Pads or not, James isn’t willing to waste one of those now precious seconds.

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