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Broncos Notebook: Another jam-packed day at team headquarters

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
September 4, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Game. Week. Is. Upon. Us.


The Denver Broncos were on the field today for their first game-week practice of 2018. It was a brief, light practice—with no pads other than helmets—that lasted a little over an hour, but it was business time at the UC Health Training Center.

After a couple days of talk about the backend of the roster, even guys who missed out on the backend of the roster, Monday was about they guys who are here. Just ask Vance Joseph who said, “Paxton’s gone. That story is gone with him,” when asked about releasing the former first-round pick.

There were plenty of storylines, though, about the 64 guys still in Orange & Blue.

Oh captains my captains

As he opened his press conference on Monday afternoon, Vance Joseph announced six captains for the 2018 season.

Two on offense: Case Keenum and Matt Paradis.

Two on defense: Von Miller and Todd Davis.

Two on special teams: Brandon McManus and Andy Janovich.

“I’m proud of Todd [Davis]. Todd has done things right since I’ve been here for two years,” Joseph said as he praised his leaders. “He’s been a guy that we can count on. I’m really pleased that he became one of our captains. Same with Matt Paradis. He’s been a model teammate. He’s engaged every day in meetings and on the practice field, so he’s also deserving. Obviously, Case being the quarterback—Case won by a longshot. His teammates really believe in him. He’s our quarterback. He’s our leader—not just by quarterback, but in the locker room, the man he is, and his teammates have respect for him. That was fun to see. Obviously, Von being a captain, also.”

“For me, it’s a huge honor for this great group of guys to see me as somebody that’s a leader and somebody that they’ll follow into battle,” Davis said. “That’s huge for me. Now I just have to step up, continue to be that guy that works hard every single day—day in and day out—and do my best for all of my guys in the locker room.”

That’s a solid group of leaders and really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of guys who are worthy of wearing a ‘C’ on their jersey.

Others who would have been understandable choices include: Demaryius Thomas, Jared Veldheer, Chris Harris Jr., Derek Wolfe, Domata Peko, Justin Simmons and more.

Then, you have a group of rookies who have the makeup of future captains: Courtland Sutton, Josey Jewell, Phillip Lindsay, DaeSean Hamilton and more.

From a leadership standpoint, this team is set.

Royce the first to get the nod

On top of a bunch of future captains, the Broncos’ roster also has a bunch of future starters. They also have one present starter. Vance Joseph announced on Monday that Royce Freeman will be the team’s starting running back.

Zac Stevens has more on that story here.

Between naming Royce the starter and axing Paxton Lynch, the Broncos have mitigated a large amount of the outrage around here these days.

If you haven’t read Zac’s story, you at least need to see this amazing excerpt from Courtland Sutton:

“Royce is just a guy that wants to come in and work,” fellow rookie Courtland Sutton firmly stated. “I remember we went to some introduction thing and it was funny, they were asking Royce what his favorite run play was and he like, ‘The power.’”

Freeman was then asked, according to Sutton: “So what do you like to do?”

His response was as straightforward as it comes: “I like to punish people.”

“As soon as I heard him say that I was like, ‘We’re going to be good. We’re going to be fine,’” Sutton said grinning ear to ear. “He’s a guy that works his butt off every single day.

Bring on “The Punisher.”

Jersey numbers

If you’ve been following along, you know I have a weird obsession with uniforms and numbers and all that good stuff, so you can imagine I was excited to talk about numbers today when the Broncos made some changes.

Here’s what changed:

Adam Jones: Went from No. 20 t0 No.24

Royce Freeman: Went from No. 37 to No. 28

Phillip Lindsay: Went from No. 2 to No. 30

David Williams: Went from No. 36 to No. 33

Trey Marshall: Went from No. 3 to No. 36

Josey Jewell: Went from No. 59 to No. 47

Some notes

  • Jones did receive the blessing of Champ Baily before rocking No. 24. He is the first player since Bailey to don the number.
  • Lindsay is not the first Bronco to don No. 30 since the retirement of Terrell Davis, but he is at least very aware of the responsibility he is carrying by wearing the number.
    • “It’s an honor to be able to wear [Terrell Davis’] number. I just want to wear it with pride and do some work with it.”
    • Lindsay told me the first book he ever read start to finish outside of school was Davis’ autobiography “Dreams in Motion.”
  • Jewell was super bummed when he had to switch from 47 to 59, so it’s a happy reunion for him.

On retiring numbers

I totally understand why people feel weird about seeing a guy wear No. 30 or No. 24, those numbers belonged to the greats and hold a special place in the hearts of Broncos fans.

Here’s the deal, you can only retire so many numbers. If you wanted to retire the numbers of all the greats to rock the Orange & Blue, there would be nothing left. You’d have to retire 24, 27, 30, 66, 77, 80, 84 and so on a so forth.

If you ask me, by retiring 7, 18 and 44, the Broncos have already retired too many, which is probably why people are up in arms over some of these other numbers not being retired. If Floyd Little’s 44 is retired, I can totally understand why you would want to see Terrell Davis’ 30 retired.

If you ask me, only 7 should be retired, that would cure a lot of these problems. You could also set a precedent, such as any player that wins a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl MVP and goes into the Hall of Fame get their number retired. Of course, that would take 30 off the table, and one day, 58, too.

Other Notes

  • Vance Joseph shared that the procedure Su’a Cravens will need on his knee is a scope.
    • “Su’a played really well Thursday. He looked explosive, he tackled well, he looked good in space. As a high safety, he looked really good. I was really impressed with Su’a, and I was hoping his knee would respond the right way so he could play for us on Sunday, but it did not. He needs a scope to get it cleaned out. He’ll be back in hopefully two months.”
  • The head coach explained the decision to bring in Kevin Hogan, which actually makes a lot of sense and should help the people who are frazzled by comparing Hogan’s stats to Lynch’s understand the move.
    • “Kevin fits what our quarterbacks look like. He’s an athletic guy, he has a good arm, he’s very, very smart, he’s fast with the ball—so he fits the profile of what Chad [Kelly] and Case look like physically. He was a good fit for us.”
  • When I asked Vance Joseph if the team tried to bring back De’Angelo Henderson, he didn’t give a yes.
    • “We had a lot of discussions about a lot of guys. We settled on the 10 guys that we brought back and I’m very pleased we got them all back, because that’s 10 really good players. [TE Brian] Parker and all those guys—they had great preseasons. To get them all back to us was awesome.”
  • The team released their new depth chart with no surprises. Of note, Freeman as the top back, obviously, Adam Jones as the top punt returner, and Phillip Lindsay as the top kick returner.

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