Denver Broncos Kick Off 2016 Organized Team Activities

The Broncos kicked off Organized Team Activities Tuesday.

Tuesday, the Denver Broncos officially got back to work, but this year, the monumental endeavor of kicking off a new season is being done as defending Super Bowl Champions. 

The complexion of the 2016 Broncos is somewhat different than the one that won it all back in February. Gone are Peyton ManningBrock Osweiler, Danny Trevathan, and Malik Jackson

But Denver has compensated by acquiring new players and the influx of that new talent has been no small thing. The personification of that influx is none other than rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch.

The Broncos moved up in the first round to select Lynch out of Memphis. Viewed as the team's future franchise QB, Lynch likely isn't quite ready to step in and start right away. 

Fortunately, GM John Elway orchestrated a trade for the veteran Mark Sanchez back in March. Since arriving in the Mile High City, Sanchez has acquitted himself well. He's stepped into the role as the team's veteran leader on the offensive side of the ball and immediately made an impact—both inside the locker room and in the community. Although Sanchez required surgery on the thumb of his left hand little more than a week ago, he surprised everyone by not only showing up to OTAs Tuesday, but also by taking first-team snaps ahead of Paxton Lynch and the second-year Trevor Siemian. Sanchez was expected to miss the first few days of OTAs. 

Sanchez has been in this position before—as the veteran starter attempting to stave off a younger, sentimental fan favorite. In the NFL, any edge given can lead to the losing of one's job. Taking reps with a black brace on his surgically repaired thumb, Sanchez made it clear to the coaches and to Lynch that if he goes down, he'll go down swinging. 

The Denver Broncos are still the team to beat in the AFC West. The defense is the biggest reason for that. Returning 9-of-11 starters from 2015, the defense is poised to take another leap forward in year-two under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips

For now, however, they'll have to work without their star—Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller. Miller has chosen to absent himself from OTAs, in an effort to secure a long-term deal. 

The Broncos applied the franchise tag to Miller and the deadline for converting that tag into an extension is July 15. Don't expect much movement from either side until the days leading up to the deadline. 

Also absent from OTAs were OLB DeMarcus Ware and rookie second-round DE Adam Gotsis. Gotsis is still recovering from offseason knee surgery. 

Can you smell that, Broncos Country? Football is back. Well, almost. 

Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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