Ex-Pat Gaffney comfortable with Broncos’ system
DENVER, Colorado – Jabar Gaffney sprinted off the line of scrimmage and cut to the corner of the end zone. As he headed to the sidelines the Denver Broncos receiver looked over his left shoulder and gathered in a pass as he kept his feet in play.
It was only one play among many during Monday’s minicamp, but it was a familiar sight for new head coach Josh McDaniels. For the past three seasons McDaniels, then the offensive coordinator in New England, saw Gaffney catch 85 passes, eight for touchdowns.
With a new team and plenty of new faces, having Gaffney in the fold is an asset to the new head coach.
“Jabar can play really anywhere. It’s a tribute to him because, one, he’s worked his butt off to get to that point where he knows everything,” McDaniels said.
McDaniels and Gaffney had plenty of success with the Patriots, including an undefeated regular season in 2007 and a trip to the Super Bowl. They’re trying to build that kind of successful program in Denver, but first they have to get familiar with new personnel and a different system. Gaffney is confident McDaniels will get everyone on the same page.
“It’s a whole new look, whole new team,” Gaffney said. “He’s constantly changing things up. He’s a great mind and we have some of the stuff we did last year but people know that so he has to add to the offense. That’s keeping us all on our toes.”
Having played for McDaniels is a plus for Gaffney as he gets comfortable in Denver.
“It helps a lot,” he said. “I’ve been with him for the past three seasons so I know what’s expected from the receivers and all the players in general.”
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, rehabbing his surgically repaired hip, was not at practice Monday. But McDaniels expects Marshall, who is at his home in Orlando, Fla., to be in attendance in for a mandatory minicamp that begins Friday.
“We would expect Brandon to be here. We would expect all of them to be here and we’re looking forward to having our full team here, full participation, in whatever capacity that may be,” McDaniels said. “We have some injured players that obviously can’t do that right now, Brandon being one of them, but we look forward to him being here.
“It’s a mandatory camp so you never want to have to deal with players that aren’t there for something the league says we can make mandatory. We’re looking forward to having them all here.”
Running back Ryan Torain, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Cleveland on Nov. 6, was out of the field after Monday’s practice. McDaniels said the second-year player from Arizona State, who missed almost all of his rookie season after suffering an elbow injury in training camp, isn’t ready to start practicing yet.
“Ryan’s got an injury that we’re not ready to go yet,” he said. “As soon as he’s healthy and ready to roll he’ll be out there with the rest of them. He’s doing a few exercises, it’s still part of his rehab, but it’s coming along.”
Although it was a voluntary minicamp, only a few non-injured players didn’t participate, including safety Brian Dawkins and linebacker Wesley Woodyard.
“There were a few players that had some things that had to be taken care of,” McDaniels said.”