ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos open training camp July 28, with the team's first full practice at the UC Health Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Here's a closer look at Broncos camp, which wraps up with the last open-to-the-public practice on Aug. 17:
Top storyline: Since the Broncos won the franchise's third Super Bowl this past January -- a dominant defensive performance in a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers -- the Broncos' offseason seemingly has been one big-ticket drama after another with Peyton Manning's retirement, Von Miller's sometimes-testy contract negotiations, a draft-day trade to select quarterback Paxton Lynch in the first round, a White House trip and Aqib Talib's injuries suffered in a shooting incident that still might bring league discipline or legal charges.
That's one whopper of a Super Bowl hangover, and it will be intriguing to see how a team that lauded its character and selfless discipline responds.
If the starting QB doesn't show himself early and play with consistency, the Broncos will be in trouble: Denver closed out the offseason program with coach Gary Kubiak announcing the quarterback competition is a dead heat between Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian. One of them simply must step forward and clearly win it. The Broncos don't need Peyton Manning circa 2013 under center, but they do need a guy to smoothly run the offense and stay away from the turnovers and sacks. The job must be won definitively, so the rest of the team can see and understand why the decision was made.
Player who will have fans buzzing: Good or bad, up or down, the player who will have many fans offering an opinion -- the quarterback battle notwithstanding -- will be wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. He clearly was not himself after he missed all of the team's offseason program a year ago before signing a $70 million deal. His season was marked by some inconsistencies, including a career-high 17 dropped passes, and fewer game-changing plays than he has made in the past. Thomas has been the target of criticism from the team's faithful, who want to see more.
Position battle worth watching: The quarterback battle will bear daily tracking, but beyond that there is a crowd at running back that needs to be sorted out, especially with the potential rookie Devontae Booker flashed during the offseason program. Throw in C.J. Anderson -- whom the Broncos kept by matching an $18 million offer sheet from the Miami Dolphins and who looked at his best in spring practices -- Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson, and a productive back could be on the outside looking in when the roster is trimmed to 53.
That rookie should start: It will be tough for the rookie class, even one with this potential, to crack the roster of a team with five consecutive division titles and two Super Bowl trips in the last three seasons. But two players to watch will be Booker, whose pass-catching ability will put him in third-down consideration quickly, and defensive lineman Adam Gotsis. Gotsis, who suffered an ACL tear in his senior season at Georgia Tech, should be ready to go by the start of the regular season, and it won't be long before the Broncos get him in the rotation. Rookie safety Justin Simmons could crack the special teams lineup.
Veteran whose job is in jeopardy: Hillman, who was the team's leading rusher this past season with 863 yards and seven rushing touchdowns, could get caught in the squeeze. That's because Booker already has flashed more consistent hands in the passing game, Thompson plays fullback as well as filling a full slate of special teams duties and Hillman has not been a big part of the special teams units in his time with the Broncos. If Hillman doesn't do more on special teams during camp than he has in the past, he could have a difficult time making the roster.
Business of business: Kubiak will have his work cut out for him. He deftly handled all of the team's quarterback questions last season when Manning left the starting lineup because of a foot injury, then was reinserted into the starting lineup in the regular-season finale. But this time around, Kubiak will have to deal with the aftermath of Miller's contract talks, Talib's shooting incident and a quarterback competition.
Really Miller time: Miller skipped the offseason program as he sought the largest deal for a defensive player in league history. That means he will arrive to training camp with both questions and expectations. Miller said he was doing the work this offseason and would be "ready to go" when the contract situation was cleared up. But he also made as many public appearances as a reigning Super Bowl MVP can make. The Broncos need him to be the player he was during their postseason run, not a player who struggles because of the prolonged contract spat or offseason fun.
What fans will be saying after camp: Fans will most likely be talking about Miller and the quarterback battle. There is a very real chance that the starter will not be named by the last practice on Aug. 17.
For daily updates from camp, check out the Denver Broncos' clubhouse page.