ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos opened training camp June 17 at the UCHealth Training Center as they prepare to play in the Aug. 1 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
Is Joe Flacco, finally, the answer at quarterback?
The Broncos need — as in really, really, really need — the 34-year-old Flacco to have a lot of football left in the tank. Since the start of the 2017 season, Flacco will be the fifth player to start at quarterback for the Broncos. While the early returns were good during the offseason workouts, the Broncos need Flacco to play at the top of his game. They also need to get things settled on the offensive line so he isn’t wading through pass-rushers in the middle of the field and do better putting their quarterback in a position to run an offense that fits their personnel.
What’s the magic number for carries for Phillip Lindsay?
The Broncos know both sides of the argument. Lindsay, a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie last season, is simply one of the team’s most explosive offensive players with the ball in his hands, and when they had to lean on him as their primary ball carrier last season because of injuries, he, too, suffered an injury and finished the season on injured reserve. Lindsay spent the offseason recovering from wrist surgery. Lindsay and Royce Freeman will likely divide much of the work in the run game and Lindsay figures to get his additional touches in the passing game.
Will Chris Harris Jr.’s bumpy offseason affect his play?
Harris, a stalwart in the team’s secondary since he arrived as an undrafted rookie in 2011, had a year remaining on his deal and sat out the offseason program until June when he got more money added on in 2019. The 30-year-old, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has always put in the work in the offseason, but he carries at least some additional pressure to perform with a new coaching staff that’s still getting to know him and signed two cornerbacks — Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson — in the offseason.
How big a role can rookie tight end Noah Fant have in the offense?
If the offseason workouts are any indication, it won’t take long for the Broncos to find plenty of things for a guy with 4.5 speed to do in the regular season. Fant’s athleticism was quickly on display in OTAs and minicamp, making him a matchup advantage for the Broncos in the middle of the field, filling a role that has been sorely missed. Fant also showed a maturity in his game, especially in his route-running, in the offseason, so he projects to be on the field plenty right from the season opener.
Can coach Vic Fangio unlock even better play from Von Miller?
Fangio thinks so, and perhaps more importantly, so does Miller. Miller’s 14.5 sacks last season constituted the second-highest single-season total of his career and his four forced fumbles were also tied for the second-highest single-season total of his career. But it still didn’t feel right to Miller — “I didn’t make enough game-changing plays, not at all,” he said. Fangio has accomplished credentials over three decades with pass-rushers and if he can get Miller in position to make more of those game-altering plays, the Broncos could push themselves back into playoff contention sooner than most expect.