ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --As the Broncos' renovated offensive line goes, so too could the entire offense in the first weeks of the regular season. But with each passing day, they feel better about the outlook for first-time NFL starters Ty Sambrailo and Matt Paradis because of the man in between them: Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis.
"I think that there's a stabilization going on," Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison said. "He has a lot of local knowledge. He's crafty and knows what he's doing. I think that has done wonders for the guys next to him."
And those young players have also helped Mathis.
"Everybody in there has helped me tremendously," Mathis said. "When we're going through something, a question will pop up and I can turn to any of those guys, ask them and they're going to help me."
That symbiotic relationship will pay dividends starting Sunday. Mathis has been impressed by what each has brought.
Of Paradis, Mathis pointed out that the 2014 practice-squad player "earned my trust pretty fast."
"For such a young guy, he's already very savvy and very smart," Mathis said. "He knows this offense very well. He gets us in the right place and makes the right calls."
Of Sambrailo, Mathis sees poise and presence beyond his years.
"Ty's looking really good," Mathis told Nate Kreckman on a phone interview with ESPN Denver on Thursday afternoon. "If I came here, and you didn't tell me he was a rookie, I wouldn't think he was a rookie. That's how he carries himself.
"The game is not overwhelming to him at all. He plays hard. He's smart. He's tough. I definitely expect good things out of him."
There are three days until the Broncos' season opener and to begin Thursday's practice, we focused on the offensive line.
Mathis himself has adapted "very quickly," noted Dennison.
"But that's not uncommon for a guy that has played a long time," Dennison said. "The combinations may be called something, or the play may be called something different, but they figure it out. They get the Rosetta Stone of football, figure out how to call things and communicate with the guy next to them."
Mathis is ready to play mentally, but as he works his way into game shape, his repetitions will be watched closely, Kubiak said.
"Everything I see says he's going to be fine, but we are going to monitor him. He's told me over and over, 'Coach, I'm good.' He knows himself.
"I'm hoping he goes the whole game and we feel good about it. If we don't, Max (Garcia) will come in and get a series or something and we'll go from there. We're prepared both ways."
They're prepared because Garcia started three preseason games at left guard and worked with the first team from the seventh day of training camp until the final week of preseason and showed plenty of promise.
It's not just about the young starters, but the young depth, as well. Garcia and tackle Michael Schofield also have no regular-season snaps between them. But the Broncos appear comfortable counting on either -- or both -- if the need arises.