- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos open training camp July 30 at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre in Englewood, Colorado. Here's a closer look at the Broncos camp, which wraps up Aug. 20:
Top storyline: Most of the talking points about the team's transition to the new coaching staff have revolved around two items -- how quarterback Peyton Manning will fit in coach Gary Kubiak's version of the West Coast offense and which offensive linemen will be protecting him. Kubiak has promised a more efficient and productive run game, and throughout his time as a playcaller his scheme has featured plenty of rollouts, naked bootlegs and play-action passes with the quarterback under center. But Kubiak also promised to fit his system to Manning, who has played the majority of the time in the shotgun. Offseason workouts offered proof Manning believes he can work in the offense. The big positional question at camp will be how things shape up in front of Manning along the offensive line, where the Broncos would like to get younger. Kubiak wants a group, including players such as rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo, that the team can keep together moving forward.
Position battles to watch: Each of the candidates at running back have proved they can produce. C.J. Anderson spent the offseason work as the No. 1 guy but will get pushed by Montee Ball, the No. 1 back last season who said he believes he can make the rotation "1A and 1B." Michael Schofield and veteran Chris Clark should also battle for the starting right tackle spot -- Schofield surged into the mix as offseason workouts drew to a close. The Broncos currently have four kickers on the roster to fill two spots, which means either the placekicker or the punter will have to handle kickoff duties to make that work.
Veterans to watch: Plenty of starters and key contributors on defense will be in contract years in 2015, including linebacker Von Miller, defensive end Malik Jackson, defensive end Derek Wolfe and linebacker Danny Trevathan. All would like to stay, but all are hoping to reap the rewards of free agency as well. The Broncos can’t keep them all, so what happens in the next few months will go a long way toward sorting things out. Also, Trevathan and linebacker Brandon Marshall are expected starters who missed the offseason program as they try to return from injuries. How they progress through the preseason will determine the defense's starting lineup.
Rookies to watch: First-round pick Shane Ray was limited in the Broncos' offseason program because of a toe injury he suffered in his final game at Missouri, but the Broncos saw enough to already want him in the pass-rush mix. They have tinkered with some ideas to get Ray on the field with Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Sambrailo became the starting left tackle after Ryan Clady suffered his season-ending injury during OTAs, and the Broncos believe Sambrailo has the mental makeup and athleticism to keep the job if he can play with enough power. Also, cornerback Lorenzo Doss was consistently around the ball in the offseason work and could find his way into some of the team's specialty packages.
Bubble watch: Running back is crowded. Anderson and Ball were the clear 1-2 as offseason work ended, and Juwan Thompson can play running back and fullback if needed. James Casey also figures to work at fullback as well as being a special teams regular, and Ronnie Hillman, a third-round pick in 2012, needs to pull things together in the preseason. It's also crowded on the defensive line. If the Broncos keep only five or six there could be a surprise veteran among the team's cuts.
Mend the fences: The Broncos have earned a reputation as a hard-line team in negotiations -- in their own locker room. The sometimes-plodding offseason talks with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, a team captain and three-time Pro Bowl selection who is among the elite at his position, only reinforced that the team doesn’t always want to keep its owns players if it means inking the kinds of deals they have given to free agents. Of the team's top 10 multiyear contracts in terms of total value, only three -- Clady, Thomas and Chris Harris Jr. -- are second contracts given to homegrown Broncos. Given the number of free agents the team has let walk in the last two years, it is something the Broncos might have to address with team leaders moving forward.
For daily updates at camp, check out the Denver Broncos clubhouse page.