For Lamin Barrow, Preseason Games Are Crucial

To Lamin Barrow, training camp is rather straightforward. Preseason games are where the depth chart truly gets settled. And he's ready for battle.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Wednesday, as Denver Broncos training camp ensued with the return of fans to the practice facility at the UCHealth Training Center, the team's first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks this Friday inched ever closer.

In that vein of thought, Broncos inside linebacker Lamin Barrow, a second-year player out of LSU who was taken with the 156th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, is ready to play more of a role in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme in 2015.

Barrow, who has six tackles and one start to his credit thus far in his career, took time to discuss things after practice drew to a close Wednesday.

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Barrow gave thoughts on inside linebacker Brandon Marshall and how the veteran has been assisting him, and talked about how their relationship has also grown.

“He's been helping a lot,” Barrow said. “Brandon's been like a brother to me. Him [ILB] Danny [Trevathan] and a lot of the guys, we help each other. We're a competitive group, as you can see if you watch practice. We all make plays and we all have our mistakes. We try to help each other. We make a big play—we're cheering each other on. It's a great chemistry in our group.”

Barrow further elaborated on how things are going among the inside linebackers and that everyone is beginning to find their place as training camp days begin to go into the double-digits.

“With guys like Danny, Brandon [ILB] Todd [Davis], [ILB] Steve [Steven Johnson] doing a great job, me and [ILB] Corey [Nelson], young [ILB] Zaire [Anderson] and [ILB] Reggie [Walker], I think everybody has a role that they're playing right now,” Barrow said. “I think it'll kind of weed itself out during the preseason. In the games, we'll have more and more exposure, so it's feeling good right now.”

With Barrow switching defensive coordinators and schemes, while his NFL career is still in it’s infancy, he needs all the reps he can get. Experience is what will serve him best.

In speaking of the experiences he gained in OTA's and mini-camps, Barrow gave a report.

“It was good for me, just getting comfortable in the system, getting comfortable at mike [linebacker],” he said. “I think the difference between here and college, when I played in college, I didn't make too many calls. Just coming out here and being in front with these guys. When you're commanding guys like [OLB] Von Miller and [OLB Demarcus] D. Ware, you have to be in the huddle to gain a lot of experience. I did it last year and this year, so just getting more comfortable in my role.”

Finally, Barrow closed his remarks by fielding questions about how he feels he needs to perform in preseason games, including Friday's exhibition opener. Barrow views them of the utmost importance.

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“I think OTAs and training camp is pretty much cut and dry,” he said. “You're out there banging against your brothers, but when you [get] to a preseason game, a game like Seattle, it's a lot of competition out there. It's kind of giving you an opportunity to search yourself on the team, and show us your worth.”

Those who don't fully understand the nuances of training camp and preseason believe the exhibition season to be a colossal waste of time. Many don't realize how significant the reps gained in such games are for understudies such as Barrow.

These are golden opportunities for the Lamin Barrows of the world. With the Broncos likely to rest most of their veteran starters, there is no doubt that guys like Barrow will get plenty of opportunities to shine on Friday.

May we all rejoice friends as football season is upon us!

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Brad James is an analyst for You can find him on Twitter @BroncosItaly.

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