BRON­COS

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Nick Kos­mider: 303-954-1516, nkos­mider@den­ver­post.com or @nick­kos­mider

Oak­land Raiders. Then the Bron­cos se­lected Bolles with the 20th pick in the draft, laud­ing the tenac­ity he showed while play­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Utah.

They com­pleted the re­con­struc­tion with this week’s ad­di­tion of Bar­bre, who will com­pete for a start­ing job, coach Vance Joseph said Thurs­day.

The Bron­cos won’t don pads un­til Sun­day, but Joseph said he al­ready has been in­trigued by the en­ergy some of the new blood on the line has cre­ated.

“It’s a phys­i­cal group, even with­out pads,” Joseph said. “Their pad level is low. They’re fight­ing, push­ing the pile, so I’m im­pressed with those guys.”

“They’re get­ting bet­ter,” said of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike McCoy. “We’re play­ing against a great de­fense, so it’s a great test for us ev­ery day to go out there against our front seven, es­pe­cially our sec­ondary. It’s com­pet­i­tive, and that’s what we want. It’s a great chal­lenge for our of­fense, es­pe­cially our guys up front, go­ing against what we have to go against.”

Den­ver’s of­fen­sive line shoul­dered its share of blame dur­ing a 9-7 sea­son in 2016 that ended with­out a play­off ap­pear­ance for the first time since 2010. The Bron­cos ranked only 27th in the 32-team NFL in rush­ing, av­er­ag­ing just 92.8 yards per game. The 40 sacks they al­lowed ranked ninth-most in the league. At var­i­ous points through­out the sea­son, the line sprung leaks in­side and out, and the unit was a large cul­prit when Den­ver’s of­fense stalled dur­ing a crush­ing three-game los­ing streak near the end of the sea­son.

Bar­bre is only a few days re­moved from land­ing in Den­ver but said he al­ready has a sense that his fel­low line­men en­tered camp de­ter­mined to im­prove.

“I def­i­nitely think they’re all work­ing hard,” Bar­bre said. “You can’t ask for any­thing else but to come out and work hard ev­ery day, put in your work in the film room and then come out here and put it in on the field. That’s all we can ask for as a group.”

Per­haps the most scru­ti­nized po­si­tion on the line is left tackle, a vi­tal spot against the dan­ger­ous pass rush­ers of the AFC West. The Bron­cos want Bolles to have an im­me­di­ate im­pact, and his per­for­mance in camp has yielded mostly pos­i­tive re­views.

But dur­ing a camp de­fined by com­pe­ti­tion across the of­fense — from quar­ter­back to tight end to the No. 3 wide re­ceiver po­si­tion — Joseph sees some of the most in­tense bat­tles tak­ing place on a line ea­ger to make strides. He said Ty Sam­brailo and Don­ald Stephen­son also have put them­selves in the mix for jobs at tackle.

“The best two guys are go­ing to play,” Joseph said of the tack­les. “We’re look­ing to have four guys who can play tackle for us be­cause in our di­vi­sion, ev­ery team has two edge rush­ers, and they can play left and right. We have to have two tack­les who can play.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.