Reed embraces competition, improving Meinerz and Okwuegbunam
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – They charged Malik.
The Broncos’ best free agent acquisition? Randy Gregory. An edge rusher. The Broncos’ first draft pick? Nik Bonito. Edge precipitator. Best undrafted rookie? Christopher Allen. Outside linebacker / edge carrier.
And to boot, Baron Browning, a nine-game starter at inside linebacker as a rookie last year, moved to edge rusher this year.
Malik Red? He’s a cutting edge rusher.
“I feel like that’s a position they favor to really be a force on the pitch,” reed said. “That’s what you want. You can’t have enough guys who can rush the passer and enough guys who can give the advantage. It’s good to have a lot of guys who are out there, and competition brings out the best in everyone. I’m excited for that.”
Yes, of course, steel sharpens steel and all that. But my God. Reed, who has started more games at Edge rusher in the previous three seasons (34) than Bradley Chubb (25) or Von Miller (22), will need a strong training camp and preseason to start his fourth season as the Broncos’ No. 3. edge rusher behind Chubb and Gregory.
Albert Okwuegbunam became the Broncos’ No. 1 tight end after Noah Fant was included in the trade package that brought quarterback Russell Wilson to the Seattle Broncos. And then on Day 2 of the NFL Draft three weeks ago, the Broncos used their second pick, No. 80 overall, against Greg Dulcich.
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Albert O will be the No. 1 tight end when the Broncos begin OTAs (organized team activities) on Monday and most likely when training camp opens in late July. But he’ll be in serious competition with Dulcich to remain the start of the season opener Sept. 12 in Seattle.
“No, honestly, I haven’t thought about it too much,” Okwuegbunam said when asked about his reaction to Dulcich’s selection. “I’m still focused and approaching it as ready to step into that No. 1 spot and do my best and approach every day the same.”
Just two years ago, Okwuegbunam was also drafted. He went one lap and 38 places later than Dulcich. The key being that Albert O is two years ahead of his main competitor in terms of NFL experience.
There may be no rival for Quinn Meinerz. He is the one and only. Yes, veteran Graham Glasgow will soon be back healthy and he was the Broncos’ starting right guard until he broke his ankle last year. But even if Glasgow starts, Meinerz is in the Broncos’ top five. Especially now that The Belly has been flattened 10 pounds, from 330 to 320 out of respect for new trainer Nathaniel Hackett’s zone-moving blocking system.
“The way I approach it, I’m not going to practice every day saying, ‘Okay, I’m competing against Graham today,'” Meinerz said. “No, I compete against myself every day. I try to become my best version.
“We’re all in competition. There are tons of great inside offensive linemen all over our O-line room. And so every day is a fight. Every day is a challenge. But this what motivates me is to fight, every day.”
There are always guys ready to take your job. Usually there are younger guys vying for your job. Sometimes there are a lot of guys.
It’s the NFL. The Broncos with Wilson leading the offense will have 10 OTA practices over the next three weeks, followed by a mandatory three-day minicamp. Then it’s a five-week break before the start of training camp. There will be competition for jobs.
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