The Denver Broncos opened up their rookie mini-camp Friday, at their Dove Valley team headquarters. All eight of Denver's draft picks were in attendance, along with 23 other undrafted rookies and first-year players.
Among them was first round quarterback Paxton Lynch. It was his first chance to get out on the field in Bronco colors, with his Bronco teammates. Besides the meetings and orientations that took place, Lynch spent a lot of time under center, throwing mostly short to intermediate routes. Afterwards, he reflected on his first day.
“Obviously it’s a whole new offense," Lynch said. "It’s an NFL offense so there are going to be struggles with everybody. I felt like I knew what was going on; I just don’t think I was picking it up as fast as I should have. That will come in time. I just love the fact that I’m getting every rep I could possibly get right now so I’m taking advantage of that. When I get in camp with those older guys I’ll be splitting more reps, so I’m trying to get as much as I can now."
How'd Lynch feel about his performance spinning the pigskin?
“I thought I threw decent," he said. "It was my first time throwing in a while to real receivers. I came out here and got some work with the other guys. Obviously our timing is going to be off. I’m learning the footwork and they are learning their steps so it’s going to be a little different, but I thought I threw pretty [well].”
In the background, analyzing each and every rep. was head coach Gary Kubiak—a quarterback whisperer of sorts—and a former professional quarterback himself.
“Obviously big, strong, talented young man," Kubiak said. "He throws the ball very well. I was impressed with the fact that—obviously he’s going under center full-time today and doing those types of things. We’ve got a long way to go. It’s exciting to see a kid like that and what he can become.”
Again, the primary focus was working Lynch under center—a requisite for Kubiak's West Coast Offense variant. Over the last two seasons at Memphis, Lynch played out of the shotgun, operating in the spread offense. However, he does have some experience playing under center and huddling up.
“I was pretty confident in myself that I can pick up things pretty quickly and learn what I need to learn," Lynch said. "We did this offense my freshman year at Memphis, so I’ve been in the huddle, I’ve been under center, I’ve done all of that. Then [at] Memphis, we had to learn the spread so now I’m just re-learning what I learned [as a freshman]. Obviously it’s different because it’s the NFL. There is just way more terminology and way more stuff you have to know at the line. I’ve had experience in it but I’ve never had the opportunity to come out here and do it. Now that I get that opportunity, it feels good.”
Kubiak and the entire Broncos coaching staff like what they see in Lynch. He's the prototypical Kubiak gunslinger. But he also knows that Friday was the first step in what will be a long journey leading up to September.
“The great thing now with these young players is through OTAs and stuff, you get training camp before you ever go to training camp," Kubiak said. "And also this will be a big five or six weeks for him. We’ve got to make a lot of progress. Just watching today, he’s swimming. From start to finish, he’s just handling the huddle and those types of things. I think this guy is going to make up a lot ground very quickly. He’s very eager. He’s got some very good characteristics or energy I guess I should say from a leadership standpoint just watching him work out there. A lot to do, but he’s all in, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Lynch will miss Saturday's practices because he's set to graduate from Memphis University. But he's excited to get back and finally step out onto the field with Denver's veteran players on Monday.
“I think it will really hit me when all the vets get back in here and we’re all in the locker room together and we practice together," Lynch said. "Now it’s just all of the young guys. Whenever I get out there with the vets it will feel [like it’s] for real.”
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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