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Popps
05-03-2009, 09:36 PM
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A Learning Process

Knowshon Moreno said the key to success on the field for rookies is to listen to veteran teammates and coaches. PHOTO: GRAY CALDWELL / DENVERBRONCOS.COM



By Gray Caldwell
DenverBroncos.com

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On one of the nicest days at Dove Valley in months, the Broncos wrapped up their second mini-camp under Head Coach Josh McDaniels.

After practicing indoors to give the players a break from the cold yesterday, it was nice to be back outdoors, and McDaniels said he's happy with where the team stands at the conclusion of Sunday's session.

"We got better in a lot of ways," he said at the end of the three-day camp. "Still got a long way to go, a lot of improvement to make and a lot of evaluating to do, but it was a good start. I think our team knows how we want to practice and how we want to work. We've got the rookies in there, so we're at 88 (players) now. Eighty-eight competitive guys."

Twenty-seven of those 88 guys are rookies, as McDaniels alluded, so this camp was as much about acclimating them to the NFL as anything.

McDaniels has said in the past that he expects mistakes out of his rookies in the early goings, but the key is to only make each mistake once. Plenty of time throughout Sunday's practice, the head coach would blow the play dead and shout, 'Run it again!'

"That's what these practices are for, to get these kinks out and hopefully get to training camp and not have to iron them all out in August," he said.

The team's two first-round picks, Knowshon Moreno and Robert Ayers, both said they made their fair share of mistakes, but as the weekend progressed they began feeling more and more comfortable.

The key, Moreno said, is to stay in your playbook at home after practice, and essentially take this opportunity and run with it.

"You're playing with vets, you're playing with grown men out there and everyone knows what they're doing," Moreno said. "You've just kind of got to sit back and learn, then get in there and make your play."

Ayers has his own set of challenges -- he has been practicing standing up a little more than he did in college, but also playing some snaps with his hand in the dirt.

"Right now they're just trying to get me used to learning linebacker, trying to teach me the schemes and stuff," Ayers said. "But I'm working with (Defensive Line) Coach (Wayne) Nunnely, too, trying to learn defensive line stuff. So it's kind of getting a double dose."

Essentially learning two positions makes it even tougher for the rookie.

"Yeah, but that's what I'm here for -- I'm here to do tough things and be a good player," Ayers said. "That's part of being in the NFL."

It's clearly a learning process for every player learning the new system, and Moreno said there have been times where it's obvious he's a rookie.

"I'm basically just running around with my head cut off, so to speak," he laughed. "But I'm having fun with it."

The goal between now and training camp, McDaniels said, is to get the rookies ready to compete for starting jobs when July rolls around. It's a long process, but one that the players and coaches all look forward to.

"From the system, the playbook, how we practice, how we meet, how they carry themselves around the veteran players -- everything's new to them, which is to be expected," McDaniels said. "That's how it is. Some of them did some good things out here, most of them did some bad things out here that we have an opportunity for the next two months to fix, and that's what we're going to try to do."

NUMBERS GAME

All of the team's rookies received their numbers before Friday's practice, and the team's first-round picks have two of the more talked-about digits on their jerseys.

Ayers will don No. 56, familiar to many Broncos fans because of fellow former Tennessee Volunteer Al Wilson.

The defensive rookie admitted there weren't many other numbers to choose from, but he is excited about the prospect of wearing the number of one of the most sucessful UT football players in school history.

"To Al's credit he was a great player here, and for the coaches to even let me have this number means a lot to me," Ayers said.

Moreno's No. 27 jersey was most recently worn by slain Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, and the rookie running back certainly understands the significance of the number and the player.

"I talked to the Williams family, actually I got the opportunity to meet his mom in Dallas when I was training, and that was a great experience," he explained. "We have a close relationship so I got her blessing and her OK with everything. I'm just honored to do this. I understand that Darrent did a bunch of things in the community, so I definitely want to do that."

"It's a privilege to wear it and honor it both on and off the field."

SoCalBronco
05-03-2009, 09:37 PM
They both sound like they're working hard and they are decent kids. Good.

Florida_Bronco
05-03-2009, 10:04 PM
I'm more excited for Broncos football than I have been in a long time.

Wes Mantooth
05-03-2009, 10:16 PM
this is good stuff. Glad that we have a bunch of people who sound like they want to be there.

BroncoDoug
05-03-2009, 10:32 PM
I think this defense is going to surprise some people, much like our whole season.

baja
05-03-2009, 10:43 PM
I am having fun watching the posters here that initially freaked out with all the changes slowly coming around and becoming, little by little, excited about Bronco football again. As if there was any choice in the matter. ;D

Kaylore
05-03-2009, 10:56 PM
Reggie Rivers said he was surprised by how humble the rookies all seemed. He said many times they'll come in with a sense of entitlement and these ones weren't that way.

I really like how intelligent they all sound.

Hulamau
05-03-2009, 11:10 PM
I think this defense is going to surprise some people, much like our whole season.

Its gonna be fun watching all the 'experts' in the press and even a few here who have written us off as this thing starts to gel, by mid-season I expect McD and company will be turning more than a few heads.

I like the discipline and precision he demands from the start. And all these guys seem like they have their heads screwed on straight.

Doubt many are nursing hangovers like pouty boy in Chicago.

Popps
05-03-2009, 11:15 PM
ENGLEWOOD (CBS4) ―

Click to enlarge
First round draft pick running back Knowshon Moreno #27 of Denver Broncos participates in practice at minicamp at the Broncos training facility on May 3, 2009, in Englewood, Colo.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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The Broncos held their post-draft minicamp this weekend, and it was their first chance to get an up-close look at the new draft picks and the rookie free agents. For the young guys, being on an NFL field was eye-opening.
"Things get on you a lot quicker," said rookie defensive end/linebacker Robert Ayers. "I was trying to cover tight ends and running backs and things are crossing my face faster. It kind of slows you down when you see all that fast stuff crossing your face."

Ayers wasn't the only one feeling the effects of the speed.

"It's a different level," said rookie cornerback Alphonso Smith. "It caught me by surprise. In college you could get away with a lot of things and you can't get away with it out here."

"You're playing with vets," said rookie running back Knowshon Moreno. "You're playing with grown men out there. Everyone knows what they're doing. You have to sit back and learn and get in there and make a play."

The rookies all said that mini-camp was mentally and physically tough, but they also said, that "toughness" was what they loved about it.

"That's what I'm here for, " Ayers said. "I'm here to do tough things and become a good player. That's part of being in the NFL."

Moreno echoed that sentiment. "It's tough, but at the same time that's the challenge that you look for. You're coming out here to compete with everyone else, and it's a fun atmosphere. Everyone is learning and making each other better."

Popps
05-03-2009, 11:15 PM
What's the official training camp date?

SoCalBronco
05-03-2009, 11:20 PM
What's the official training camp date?

We don't know. It will either begin the last week of July or the first week of August. Khan says they will let us know in mid-June or so.

Hulamau
05-03-2009, 11:28 PM
Normally between July 24 and the 28th as I recall.

Denver Crush
05-04-2009, 01:00 AM
I think this defense is going to surprise some people, much like our whole season.

Agreed!

BroncoMan4ever
05-04-2009, 01:02 AM
as happy as i am that Moreno asked DWill's family about wearing the number, it is still going to be a little strange to see it again, and on the offensive side of the ball makes it even more strange.
and Ayers with Wilson's number. i like that he is honored and wanted that number because of Al, i just hope he and Moreno can live up to the numbers they are wearing.


also, i am really liking the types of players we have brought in the last 2 drafts. really humble guys, who are happy to be here, are ready to work hard and are team dudes, as opposed to me 1st dudes.

i am also in agreement that this team is really going to shock a lot of doubters. i think the offense is going to make everyone get over Cutler being gone, and the defense is going to be a surprise seeing actual defense as opposed to an open gate that the opposition just walks through. 10-6 and a playoff berth will not surprise me at all with this team

SouthStndJunkie
05-04-2009, 01:16 AM
Ayers will don No. 56, familiar to many Broncos fans because of fellow former Tennessee Volunteer Al Wilson.

Love that Ayers will wear #56.

BroncoDoug
05-04-2009, 01:17 AM
as happy as i am that Moreno asked DWill's family about wearing the number, it is still going to be a little strange to see it again, and on the offensive side of the ball makes it even more strange.
and Ayers with Wilson's number. i like that he is honored and wanted that number because of Al, i just hope he and Moreno can live up to the numbers they are wearing.


also, i am really liking the types of players we have brought in the last 2 drafts. really humble guys, who are happy to be here, are ready to work hard and are team dudes, as opposed to me 1st dudes.

i am also in agreement that this team is really going to shock a lot of doubters. i think the offense is going to make everyone get over Cutler being gone, and the defense is going to be a surprise seeing actual defense as opposed to an open gate that the opposition just walks through. 10-6 and a playoff berth will not surprise me at all with this team


I agree, even with our schedule this year, I think we can win 10 games. We have a 9 game strech of just pure nastyness....now. But whats to say that any of those teams aren't going to have a key injury by the time we play them, or have an off week. Or, just maybe not be as good as everyone thinks they are. Too bad I'll be gone for most of the season and wont get to see what happens :( But when I get back I hope to see some good results.

Williams
05-04-2009, 02:14 AM
It's nice to see some positive press... and some positive reception from the forum. :thumbs:

Go Broncos!

BroncoDoug
05-04-2009, 02:52 AM
Go Broncos indeed!

OBF1
05-04-2009, 03:22 AM
Good read, I will need to get an Ayers name plate for the Al Wilson jersey :thumbs:

kent156
05-04-2009, 03:47 AM
Its gonna be fun watching all the 'experts' in the press and even a few here who have written us off as this thing starts to gel, by mid-season I expect McD and company will be turning more than a few heads.

I like the discipline and precision he demands from the start. And all these guys seem like they have their heads screwed on straight.

Doubt many are nursing hangovers like pouty boy in Chicago.

yeah just about everyone picked Cleveland last year to be good, look how that turned out

Steve Prefontaine
05-04-2009, 05:32 AM
I'm very excited to see these 2 rookies. Thanks for the read Popps.

baja
05-04-2009, 05:40 AM
I agree, even with our schedule this year, I think we can win 10 games. We have a 9 game strech of just pure nastyness....now. But whats to say that any of those teams aren't going to have a key injury by the time we play them, or have an off week. Or, just maybe not be as good as everyone thinks they are. Too bad I'll be gone for most of the season and wont get to see what happens :( But when I get back I hope to see some good results.

No need to worry about the other team to be diminished in some fashion, we will our fair share of games by beating the opponent straight up. We have better coaching and and inspired players who believe in themselves and buy into McDaniels team concept.. We will win because we believe. You will see.

Beantown Bronco
05-04-2009, 06:43 AM
I'm just glad their bubble didn't collapse.