ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—For most of the last week of Denver Broncos training camp, we’ve heard nothing but praise, nothing but good things on rookie guard Max Garcia. The fourth round pick out of Florida (by way of Maryland) even had that ‘E’ word thrown in his direction from an All-Pro.
"If he continues to grow and develop as a player, he's going to be an elite guard in this league,” right guard Louis Vasquez said last weekend.
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The praise hasn’t just been something we’ve heard. Garcia has steadily worked his way up the depth chart and has been taking away reps at left guard from Ben Garland with the first-team offense. The rookie has built up some great momentum, but perhaps we should pump the brakes on our expectations on Garcia.
Following practice on Saturday, head coach Gary Kubiak talked about Garcia and shared his evaluation of the rookie’s early camp performance.
“Max is up and down,” Kubiak said. “Max is very strong, heavy-handed, so he has a lot of plays on film that are highlights. You go, 'Woah, look at that,' but he has a lot of plays on the film that need to be better. He's the same way, a little bit like Ty. [He is a] good kid, played in a lot of big games. This stage isn't too big for him, but he has to learn to play against great players down-in and down-out.”
In other words, Kubiak and the coaches want to see better consistency from Max Garcia. As time marches on, we should see Garcia improve in that department. It’s important to keep in mind, even with an open, affable coach like Kubiak, we must focus on what they do, not what they say.
What they’re doing is giving Garcia reps with the first-team offense. The Broncos aren’t afraid of being young on the offensive line. But they want to be able to count on each guy “down-in and down-out”. We shall see if Max Garcia heeds his coach’s call.
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