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Denver Broncos 2016 Training Camp Notebook: Day 20

The Broncos took it slow on day 20 as they await the arrival of the San Francisco 49ers.

The pads came off on day 20 of Denver Broncos training camp and helmets were scrapped in favor of hats. After the intensity of yesterday's session, Denver will save all of its aggression for the San Francisco 49ers, who will join them on the practice field tomorrow.

“We had a good practice yesterday in pads," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "It was pretty light and quick today because we are going to be in pads a couple days against San Francisco. It was good.” Kubiak will welcome Chip Kelly and the 49ers for practice Wednesday and Thursday as they prepare for their game on Saturday. He was the quarterbacks coach in San Francisco when the team won their fifth Super Bowl in 1994.

“When you go against each other all the time, you know each other and you know each other’s tendencies," Kubiak added. "You kind of get, I don’t want to say bored of each other, but it’s nice to see something different. We’ll see a different defense, different coverages. Offensively we’ll see speed-type tempo and those types of things. It’s just really good for our players. You want to see your guys against other people."

However, before they can start seeing red and gold, the Broncos had one more day with their own familiar orange and blue. Let's see how it all went down.

Next Man Up

Yesterday, the Broncos suffered a significant loss when starting defensive end Vance Walker tore his ACL. Today, they're tasked with figuring out a contingency plan. The head coach addressed the void.

"Expect a lot of [Adam] Gotsis and [Darius] Kilgo; [Kyle] Peko has come a long way," Kubiak said. "It’s an opportunity for guys to step up—[Jared] Crick. It’s part of football and we have to make it work.”

The last player Kubiak mentioned, Jared Crick, understands the NFL's philosophy of "next man up," and he just might be the one to assume that role.

“It’s tough," Crick said. "Not just to see a d-lineman go down, but to see anyone go down on a team. We have guys capable of filling roles and everybody has to take the mindset of that. At any single time of the day, you have to be ready to go in and play ball. It’s tough, but you have to be patient.”

Gary Kubiak likes what he see from the former Houston Texan. After watching him manhandle the Bears offensive line last Thursday, it's hard to argue with him.

“He’s doing great," Kubiak said. "He understands our defense. He understands Bill [Kollar]. He’s fit right in very quickly. Obviously he is going to move up the ladder right now, but he’s had a good camp. That’s why we brought him here.”

It's Crick's job right now, but expect other contributors to pitch in and do their part. Rookie Adam Gotsis still faces a bit of a learning curve, but his incredible motor and dominant physicality will earn him significant reps on the defensive line.

On the Way Back

The Broncos suffered a rash of minor injuries at the start of camp, along with a few key players that just weren't up to speed for one reason or another. But as the 49ers game draws closer, some of those players may get to dip their toes back in the water.

Kubiak was asked whether or not Von Miller and starting left tackle Russell Okung would make their 2016 debut on Saturday night.

“My first reaction to that would be yes. They need to step on the field," Kubiak said. "Obviously they would not play as much as anybody else because it will be their first time. We’ll probably work through that tomorrow night.”

While every NFL coach is faced with the preseason dilemma of being caught between bubble-wrapping his proven players and getting them ready for the season opener, it appears Kubiak has found somewhat of a middle ground. One Bronco defender won't get the call on Saturday, however.

“Aqib is doing great," Kubiak said. "Moving forward here, you see he’s full at practice. He’ll be full against the 49ers and my expectations are for him to get his first game action next week.”

The absence of Talib is a disappointment, but younger player might be able to benefit from the snaps that will be up for grabs. Namely, second-year corner Lorenzo Doss, whose improvement has been on display recently.

“That's the thing about the NFL," Doss said, "you have to be consistent on all phases, defense and special teams. That's what I'm working on.”

One of the things he's been doing consistently is making big plays. Doss corralled an overthrown Brian Hoyer pass in Chicago and picked off Trevor Siemian today in practice. Things are looking up for the Tulane product, and he's looking forward to going up against the visiting 49ers tomorrow.

“It helps," Doss said. "They'll come out here to show their plays and we'll be ready for them. It's great to go one-on-one against new guys, get a feel for them and compete with those guys.”

Hopefully, Doss can keep it going against the QB cocktail of Blaine GabbertJeff Driskel, and the newly acquired Christian Ponder

Until then...

RELATED: Broncos 2016 Training Camp: Day 19

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Will Keys is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

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