Broncos Update - Monday, July 19

Today's edition of Broncos Update Inside Slant features a unit by unit analysis of the Broncos' personnel as well as a closer look at the running back situation.

Bobby Turner, to say the least, was a little insulted when it was suggested anyone could step in as Denver's running back.

"To say, 'Just toss a guy the ball and anybody can just play there for the Denver Broncos,' I definitely take offense to that," the running backs coach said this spring. "It's like, 'OK, what did I put all these years for?' And to me it's a total disrespect for the position and the guy that's coaching the position. I definitely don't buy that stuff."

But whether it's the system, or Turner's tutelage, there's no question the Broncos have found success in the backfield. Their 20,150 rushing yards is the highest figure in the league since 1995, as is Denver's 4.51 yards-per-carry average.

The Broncos are the only franchise since Mike Shanahan's first season as coach in 1995 to have four running backs post at least one 1,100-yard season. Not one of those players - Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson or Clinton Portis - was plucked in the first round.

This year, the odds are that trend will continue with either Quentin Griffin, last year's fourth-round draft pick from Oklahoma, or Tatum Bell, this year's a second-round pick from Oklahoma State.

Two years ago the Broncos saw the electricity Portis brought to the field, but he had to earn coach's trust that he could protect not only the football, but his quarterback in blitzing situations. Though Griffin has been running with the first team, that may only be by default early in camp if Bell progresses as expected.

As for dark horses, don't be surprised to see Anderson in the mix. He is hungry after last year's substance-abuse suspension to prove that he can contribute in a big way.

The long shot is Garrison Hearst. He is immersed in a crash course after missing considerable time this offseason because of clean-up knee surgery.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES

The conversation took place on the golf course, not the football field, but Bradlee Van Pelt couldn't pass up the chance to chat up Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.

"When you get an opportunity to speak to someone like that, you have to take the opportunity," said Van Pelt, selected by the Broncos in the seventh round of the NFL draft in April.

"I just asked him a little bit about what it's like being a rookie and what he went through. He gave me a little insight, and that's nice. His words are precious. John Elway isn't around you every day."

While Elway was always considered the man in Denver, Van Pelt knows he has an uphill battle to even make Denver's roster. There's no question his offseason has been no offseason, with a crash course in Denver's playbook.

-- Terrell Davis and Ed McCaffrey are going to the Hall of Fame, to see Elway inducted. That wasn't much news. But so is Dan Reeves. Elway, letting bygones be bygones, sent his former coach one of the first invitations.

QUOTE TO NOTE

"They say I'm a so-called celebrity. ... I'm really just a chump young kid. I'm just fortunate to be here. It's a good benefit of staying in Colorado and being a Bronco." -- Bradlee Van Pelt on playing in the John Elway Celebrity Classic.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS

QUARTERBACK
Starter -- Jake Plummer. Backups -- Danny Kanell, Mike Quinn, Bradlee Van Pelt, Matt Mauck.

RUNNING BACK
Starter -- RB Quentin Griffin, FB Mike Anderson. Backups -- RB Tatum Bell, RB Garrison Hearst, RB Ahmaad Galloway, FB/RB Reuben Droughns, FB Kyle Johnson, RB Santonio Beard, RB Cecil Sapp, RB Brandon Miree.

TIGHT END/H-BACK
Starter -- Byron Chamberlain. Backups -- Jed Weaver, Jeb Putzier, O.J. Santiago, Mike Leach, Patrick Hape.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Starters -- Rod Smith, Ashley Lelie. Backups -- Adrian Madise, Charlie Adams, Nate Jackson, Willie Jackson, Atnaf Harris, Darius Watts, MarTay Jenkins, Triandos Luke, Romar Crenshaw, B.J. Johnson.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Starters -- LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Dan Neil, RT George Foster. Backups -- G/T Cooper Carlisle, T Dwayne Carswell, C/G Chris Watton, T P.J. Alexander, T Cornell Green, G Calvin Collins, G Tyson Clabo, G Shannon Snell.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Starters -- LDE Trevor Pryce, DT Mario Fatafehi, DT Luther Elliss, DE Reggie Hayward. Backups -- D. Bryant McNeal, DT Darius Holland, DE Clint Mitchell, DT Dorsett Davis, DT Nick Eason, DE Raylee Johnson, DT Thomas Pittman, DT Brandon Kennedy, DT Monsanto Pope, DT Luis Almanzar.

LINEBACKER
Starters -- WLB D.J. Williams, MLB Al Wilson, SLB Jashon Sykes. Backups -- Donnie Spragan, Terry Pierce, John Mobley, Louis Green, Patrick Chukwurah.

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Starters -- LCB Champ Bailey, SS John Lynch, FS Kenoy Kennedy, RCB Lenny Walls. Backups -- S Nick Ferguson, CB Jeremy LeSueure, S Sam Brandon, CB Kelly Herndon, CB Jeff Shoate, CB Willie Middlebrooks, CB Reggie Stephens, CB Scott Turner, S Chris Young, S Ron Israel, S Jarious Jackson, CB Jimmy Spencer.

SPECIAL TEAMS
K Jason Elam, P Micah Knorr, LS Mike Leach, KOR Reuben Droughns, PR Jeremy LeSeur.

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