NFL

Camp began July 28, but for Broncos coach Vic Fangio, it really starts Friday

The bulk of the Broncos’ roster reported for training camp July 28, but for coach Vic Fangio, “actual” training camp won’t start until Friday.

“The time we’re going through right now is basically our normal Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the offseason, but with some training camp hours,” Fangio said. “It’s different. We’re really not in training camp yet. Training camp practice No. 1 for me is Aug. 14 and everything prior to that is more offseason-type stuff with more hours than they’re used to in the offseason.”

The Acclimation Period (continuing this week) is Phase 1. Teams are allowed 60 minutes apiece of weight-room and on-field conditioning work in groups of no more than 15 players. Quarterbacks can throw to receivers but no offense vs. defense. Walk-throughs of no longer than 60 minutes were permitted for the first four days and 75 minutes for the final four days.

The Gradual Ramp-Up Period (starting Friday) is Phase 2. Practices of helmets-only (90 minutes on Day 1 and a 15-minute daily increase not to exceed 120 minutes) followed by helmets-and-shells practices.

The Contact Integration Period can begin Aug. 18 and run until Sept. 6. Teams are allowed 14 padded practices.

Add it up and it’s a race to get to the Sept. 5 cut from 80 to 53 players and the Sept. 14 opener against Tennessee. The Broncos’ rookies have already been tested to transfer the knowledge they picked up during virtual meetings to the field.

“It’s a step to go from the classroom virtually — which is different and not as good as a real classroom — to now, taking it to a slow-pace walkthrough,” Fangio said. “It’s been good. … (When) we take it to the full-speed practices, that will tell us more at that time. It’s a work in progress. I don’t expect them to be perfect by any means early on. But we want them to be close to perfect by the time we line up against Tennessee.”

Polis on NFL fans. In an interview with The Post’s Andy Yamashita, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said there are “just no plans yet,” for allowing fans into Broncos home games this year. The NFL has left it to each team to decide, based on state and local guidelines, how many (if any) fans can attend.

“(The Broncos) would have to approach Denver with a plan about how they would plan to do (it) in a safe way,” Polis said. “I think everybody in Colorado wants to be able to have in-person fans back as soon as we can as long as it doesn’t mean setbacks for our economy and our jobs and as long as it doesn’t cost lives. So we’re happy to have that discussion with everybody about how to bring folks back sooner rather than later.”

Last month, Broncos president/CEO Joe Ellis said the team has been in regular contact with representatives from the offices of Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Most opt-outs: There were 66 players who chose to opt-out this season due to concerns about COVID-19. The most were New England (eight); Cleveland and Detroit (five); Dallas, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, San Francisco and the New York Giants and Jets with three apiece.

No opt-outs: Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

AFC West opt-outs: Denver (two) –  defensive lineman Kyle Peko, offensive tackle Ju’Wuan James;  Kansas City (three) — guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, running back Damien Williams and offensive tackle Lucas Niang. Las Vegas (three) — linebacker Ukeme Eligwe, defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga and cornerback D.J. Killings.

Biggest names: Duvernay-Tardif and Williams from the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, Chicago defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, Buffalo defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, Philadelphia receiver Marquise Goodwin, Giants left tackle Nate Solder, Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley and New England safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Don’ta Hightower.

McCaffrey’s outlook. Carolina running back/Denver area native Christian McCaffrey has a new contract (four-year, $64 million extension), new quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater from New Orleans), new coach (Matt Rhule from Baylor) and new offensive coordinator (Joe Brady from LSU).

Brady, in his first NFL play-calling post, gets to use a figurative nuclear weapon in McCaffrey, who had 1,387 rushing and 1,005 receiving yards, respectively, and 19 combined touchdowns last year. He became only the third player in league history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing and receiving.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” McCaffrey told reporters. “We have so many weapons on offense, from the receiving position to the tight end position to a very talented offensive line and obviously Teddy.”

Footnotes. As a part of the “NFL Votes” initiative, the Broncos launched their “Broncos Country Votes” program Thursday. An official Colorado voter registration drive, the program’s goal is to educate players, alumni, staff and fans about registering to vote and casting a ballot. Eligible fans can start the process by visiting denverbroncos.com/fans/vote. According to the  NFL, 100 million voter-eligible Americans did not vote in 2016. … Following James’ opt-out decision, the Broncos weren’t linked to any free-agent offensive tackles during the week, which is fine. Guys like Jared Veldheer, Demar Dotson and Cordy Glenn should be still available in a few weeks if Fangio and offensive line coach Mike Munchak feel the in-house depth isn’t good enough. … It’s been amusing to see players whining on Twitter about getting left off the NFL’s Top 100 list or how their teammates were snubbed. They should know the list is more about past performance and name recognition than actually being good. … We’re five weeks from the first Sunday of games and Chicago (Mitchell Trubisky/Nick Foles), Washington (Dwayne Haskins/Kyle Allen/Alex Smith), New England (Cam Newton/Jarrett Stidham) and Miami (Tua Tagovailoa/Ryan Fitzpatrick) have quarterback decisions to make without the benefit of preseason games. … What happens first: A verdict in the trial of the Pat Bowlen Trustees vs. Amie Klemmer/Beth Bowlen Wallace (pushed ahead to 2021 on Thursday) or solving Altitude’s dispute against Comcast?

Source: Read Full Article