ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos turbulent offseason continued when starting center Dan Koppen tore the ACL in his left knee during practice Sunday, an injury that will challenge the depth of the offensive line.
Unlike the offensive line, the Broncos feel confident in the depth they have at the tight end position.
The tight end spot is shaping up as one of the more interesting position battles in camp. With returning starters Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme competing for snaps, it’s a healthy Julius Thomas that’s causing buzz around Dove Valley.
Thomas, the former Portland State basketball standout, has only one career reception that came back in 2011. Despite his lack of numbers, his teammates told CBS4′s Vic Lombardi they like what they’re seeing this year.
“He worked hard on scout team all year last year he’s a good player, he’s going to help us,” Tamme said about Thomas.
“We have a lot of tight ends that can help.”
“You just do what you can to prepare yourself and each other,” said Tamme about the tight end competition. “We’ve been helping Julius wherever we can.”
One position where there are no questions this year is at quarterback and with the health of quarterback Peyton Manning. Jacob Tamme was peppered with questions about Manning’s questionable return after a year away from the game last year, but this camp has been a little different.
“I got asked one 1,500 times during training camp last year about his health,” Tamme said. “Let me tell you it’s calmed down because I haven’t been asked once.”
The lack of questions is due in large part to Manning’s fabulous play last season. Manning finished second in MVP voting to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. The play of the future hall of fame quarterback has many calling this year a Super Bowl or bust season.
Tight end Joel Dreessen was asked about the pressure that comes with lofty expectations.
“Just like we talked about in our offensive meeting room, it’s time to ‘Don’t tell me show me,’ it’s time to show you know,” Dreessen told Lombardi. “You can’t fast forward time till early February.”
At 37, Manning’s playing window is shrinking. Manning has never been known for elite physical attributes but rather an elite football mind. He has become known for barking out pre-snap words that sound like nonsense, but there is a method to the madness.
“We have code words for code words and signals for signals,” said Dreessen about Manning’s offense. “We got like our own little language out here, everything means something.”
Manning has made the phrase “hurry, hurry” famous around Denver, but after a devastating loss to Baltimore in last season’s playoffs, it’s the Broncos that are trying hurry back to the playoffs.
- Written by Josh Christensen for CBSDenver.com