By Romi Bean

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– “I think the offseason has been really good and really productive from every angle,” Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said at the end of mandatory minicamp.

It’s been so far, so good for Vic Fangio in his first offseason as a head coach, but he’s barely scratched the surface with OTAs and minicamp. The real grind starts now! When Broncos training camp opens on Thursday, the focus will not be on whose starting at quarterback.

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Joe Flacco is the guy – just don’t ask him to be your mentor: “I don’t look at that as my job. My job is to go win football games for this football team.”

Flacco’s top two receivers will be Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton. After playing four games as the team’s number one receiver last season, Sutton is itching to be Flacco’s main man.

“I’m taking all of those lessons that I learned from those last four games and taking them into this season and taking those expectations and going to run with them,” Sutton said.

DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 25: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos catches a pass for 38 yard gain and first down in the third quarter of a game at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Sanders is on his way back from a torn Achilles and thinks he’ll be ready by the time Denver opens the season in Oakland.

“My role is, I’m going to be the playmaker. When the game is on the line, I want the ball coming my way. When a play needs to be made, I want the ball coming my way,” Sanders said.

In the backfield, Phillip Lindsay will be a full participant in practice for the first time since his rookie season was cut short by a wrist fracture. The undrafted sensation is eager to once again, prove his worth.

“It’s about getting back on the field and showcasing that I’m ready to win football games. That’s it. You have to get trust back into it. Flacco has never been with me. He’s seen me, heard about me, but he has to trust me,” Lindsay said.

Phillip Lindsay (credit: CBS)

Lindsay and fellow second year Royce Freeman combined for over 1,500 yards in 2018. Freeman accounted for roughly one-third of thos yards, but he doesn’t mind working in Lindsay’s shadow.

“Last year was a great 1-2 punch. I think we complement each other really well,” Freeman said.

The biggest competition will be at tight end, and health will be a major factor. If Jake Butt can finally get healthy after his third ACL tear – and if Jeff Heuermann can stay healthy, the Broncos will have a surplus of talent, including first round pick Noah Fant.

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“He’s got tools, but you know, I can go into Home Depot and walk out with a bunch of nice tools and I’m not a carpenter. We have to teach him how to be a tight end in the NFL, and he’s working great at it,” Fangio said.

On the other side of the ball, Fangio is expecting improvements from everyone – even the team’s best player.

“What did Coach Fangio say? Whatever Coach Fangio said, I’m right there with him,” Von Miller said.

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“The little things are going to make the difference for him. It’s not just on the field, it’s off the field. Preparation, rest, all those things, being attentive to the details and technique. If he does that, yes, the sky is the limit.” Fangio said.

Rounding out the defense is a bulked up secondary. With the additions of Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan, the backfield is chock full of players able to line up anywhere.

“We can keep people guessing and it gives us a lot of flexibility to give somebody a rest or if somebody goes down,” defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said.

And finally, after sitting out most of the offseason negotiating a pay raise, Chris Harris Junior is back in orange and blue for at least one more year.

“It’s all about the team right now. I put everything from the offseason behind, and I’m focused on the team and winning games this year,” Harris said.

Romi Bean


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