From Club Med to Club Dread: Broncos face changes
AP Sports Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado – Club Med under Mike Shanahan has given way to Club Dread under Josh McDaniels.
The 33-year-old rookie coach of the Denver Broncos is going old school, bringing not only Bill Belichick’s offensive philosophies with him from New England but also his mentor’s approach to training camp.
And that means putting his players through full-pads practices most of the time.
“Hopefully very physical,” McDaniels said of the type of camp he wants to see when things get going Friday morning. “We want to establish that as our style of play. We’re gong to do everything we can at a great tempo because that’s the way games are played.
“So, we want to simulate what happens on game day as much as we can at every practice and get our players into that mindset day in and day out.”
In recent years, Shanahan favored less and less hitting at camp, both for safety reasons and because he figured with the load of offseason workouts, he pretty much knew who was roster-worthy from Day One. Some of his practices last summer were basically walk-throughs in shorts at half-speed.
McDaniels, who replaced Shanahan in January after the Broncos missed the playoffs for the third straight season, needs to see what he has, especially the defensive front seven. He’s also trying to instill a wicked attitude in a defense that ranked at or near the bottom in every statistical category last year.
“If that’s what you want your identity to be … then you’ve got to go out and do it,” McDaniels said. “It’s not just going to show up in September if you haven’t done it. We’re going to practice the way we feel we need to practice in order to establish the style of play that we want to win with this year. That’s going to be a physical style on both sides of the ball. It’s hard to practice that way when you’re not in pads.”
He’ll pepper his schedule with a few non-padded practices here and there.
“We’ll gauge the health of our football team and what we need. But right off the bat, we’re going to try to get after it,” McDaniels said. “We haven’t been able to evaluate the offensive line or defensive line in terms of how physical they play all spring. We’re looking forward to some of those evaluations starting to become clear.”
McDaniels also is departing from his predecessor’s style of designating certain key veterans as once-a-day guys who don’t have to participate in the afternoon or evening workouts on two-a-days.
“Everybody runs things differently, that’s football,” wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. “The coaching staff is going to do whatever is best for us to get us ready to win games. It doesn’t bother me either way. I probably won’t get banged up too much, I’m on the outside. It’s more for those interior guys. I’ll try to avoid that as much as possible.”
It wasn’t known if everyone passed their physicals and their conditioning tests Thursday because McDaniels canceled practice – and with it, his media availability on reporting day. An assistant said McDaniels wouldn’t address those issues until after the first full-squad workout Friday.
The only two players left to report are first-round draft picks Knowshon Moreno and Robert Ayers, who remained unsigned while the Broncos wait for other signings around the league.
“We’re just kind of waiting for the dominos to fall in place,” McDaniels said.
Moreno, a running back from Georgia, was the 12th overall pick in the draft, and Ayers, a pass-rusher from Tennessee, was the 18th selection.
Three veterans practiced sporadically during the rookie camp this week: linebackers D.J. Williams (knee) and Wesley Woodyard (knee) and recalcitrant receiver Brandon Marshall, coming off hip surgery this spring.
Marshall reported to camp Monday as ordered – he was told to report early along with other veterans rehabbing from injuries – but after participating in one workout he sat out Tuesday and Wednesday with what McDaniels described as soreness.
It’s unclear when he’ll return to the field.
Marshall, who has asked for a trade, said Monday that he only reported to avoid $15,888 daily fines for going AWOL.