Ready for throws of the off-season


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Jan 22, 2006
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Ready for throws of the off-season
Tuesday, Broncos begin 7 days of passing camp

By Lee Rasizer, Rocky Mountain News
May 15, 2006

It'll be a camp full of introductions: teammates meeting new teammates; rookies getting their first crack at a pro playbook.

And when the Denver Broncos take the field Tuesday for the first of eight days of on-field workouts in their passing camp, the coaching staff also essentially will get its first look at the roster that will try to build on the team's run to the AFC Championship Game last season.

Passing camp, which runs through Friday and again May 22-25, is part of the 14 organized training sessions allotted each NFL team. A team camp follows May 31-June 8, before the Broncos become the final team in the league to conduct minicamp, July 6-8. The report date for training camp is July 27.

"I think any time you get on the field, you look forward to it," said assistant head coach Mike Heimerdinger, who returned to the Broncos this off-season after six years as a coordinator for two other NFL clubs. "I'm anxious to see what different guys can do. It's different when you watch guys on the field and how they react to different situations than it is just watching guys on film."

The camp will especially be an opportunity for some of the team's wide receivers to make a lasting first impression.

Ashley Lelie is expected to stay away from these sessions in an attempt to force a trade. Newly acquired Javon Walker is rehabilitating his surgically repaired right knee and likely won't be ready for organized training activities until minicamp in July. And rookie Domenik Hixon is nursing a stress fracture in his left foot and will wait until next month to fully test himself.

That means players such as David Kircus, David Terrell and Darius Watts will get extra looks. Brandon Marshall, a fourth-round pick from Central Florida, still could land at tight end or H-back but will line up at receiver to help counteract the shortage at the position.

The tight end group also is short- handed, with Wesley Duke playing for Hamburg in NFL Europe, so there will be plenty of work to spread around for the team's pass catchers who are in uniform. Coach Mike Shanahan is expected to split the players onto two fields to maximize practice snaps.

"It'll be a chance to see what they can do, instead of standing back there and getting one or two repetitions," Heimerdinger said. "It's really a good situation for them."

The majority of rookies will be getting a crash course on the franchise's core concepts. Quarterback Jay Cutler, the Broncos' top draft pick, has been given a scaled-down version of the playbook, as far as formations and cadence goes, so that he can call plays.

But Heimerdinger figures it'll be a learning experience as much for Cutler as any other first-year player in the system who is attending his first camp.

"They're going to make mistakes, and you're never really sure how athletic they are because they'll be swamped so much," Heimerdinger said.

"When you're thinking, you don't play fast."

The veterans will be introduced to new concepts devised by the coaching staff through off-season film preparation, but mainly they will work on their timing.

Linemen generally stay on the same weightlifting and running regimen they have since the start of the off-season conditioning program, with some added film sessions, while the skill-position players, defensive backs and linebackers go through the field work.

Besides Duke, four other players will miss this camp because of overseas playing commitments: center Rob Hunt, defensive lineman Patrice Majondo Mwamba, offensive tackle Erik Pears and cornerback Antwaun Rogers. Undrafted free- agent safety Tyler Everett is prohibited from participating because his Ohio State class has not yet graduated.,2777,DRMN_23918_4699544,00.html
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