Sunday, August 4, 2013
Dive into Broncos depth chart
By Jeff Legwold
Over the last decade or so the Broncos' first "official'' depth chart of the preseason has always been met with plenty of interest in the Rocky Mountain region and has also contained varying amounts of fiction, depending on the mood of the coaching staff on that particular summer day.
Former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, for example, may have set an unofficial league record for the use of the word "or,'' thus negating the actual depth portion of the chart.
The most notable use of "or'' was before Tim Tebow's name when the first depth chart emerged from 2010's training camp.
But Sunday's 2013 model contained no double-take surprises and was representative, save for a couple instances, of how the team has practiced leading up to Saturday night's scrimmage.
But a few things of note were:
- Ryan Lilja, just signed this week, was listed as the fourth-team center. That won't last long. (Quarterback Peyton Manning said as much following Saturday night's scrimmage.)
- Quentin Saulsberry is listed as the second-team left guard. Saulsberry played in that role in Saturday night's scrimmage as well, but he is facing one game remaining on a four-game suspension in 2012 for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. So if the Broncos intend to keep him on the 53-man roster, they will have to move him to reserve/suspended for a week when the final cuts come and then make a move in Week 2 to add him to the roster. Saulsberry also had a DUI arrest this offseason the league may address as well.
- Rookie wide receiver Tavarres King has caught the coaches' attention with his play-making and his approach to the game. But that's what you get from a draft prospect who played 56 games in the SEC. Also, rookie tackle Vinston Painter, a player who will be a contributor if his technique catches up to his athleticism, is listed as a second-team right tackle.
- Shaun Phillips, who signed a one-year deal with the Broncos during the draft weekend, is listed as the backup at both strong-side linebacker and weak-side defensive end. The Broncos have played him far more at end to this point, but will need him to be an option at linebacker, especially if Von Miller doesn't win his appeal for a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
- Duke Ihenacho has practiced of late as the starting strong safety in early-down situations for the base defense, but was listed at No. 2 Sunday. behind Mike Adams, The Broncos have treated him like the No. 1 on the practice field, but obviously want to see him keep pushing to keep the job.
- Quentin Jammer, who was a late signee in the offseason, is going to need to rally when the preseason games begin. He has practiced later in rotations over the past week as the Broncos put him at third-team free safety. It's going to to be difficult for the Broncos to keep both Adams and Jammer, if neither is a starter or mainstay in any of the specialty packages.
- Undrafted rookie Quincy McDuffie continues to be a special-teamer to watch, having checked in as the No. 2 kickoff returner. He's going to need to show he can contribute elsewhere to stick on the 53-man roster, but he's shown himself to be a quality find by the Broncos scouting department.