Broncos Update Insider - 6/14

The tailback competition for the Denver Broncos will be one of the more interesting in training camp. Read about the battle and all the latest personnel updates in today's Broncos Update Insider.

Selvin Young could make it a moot point if he has a great training camp. He became the starter when Travis Henry was released, and took every snap as the top tailback during the team's final offseason camp. He is the clear favorite.

But there are some questions about Young, especially about his lack of prototype size. He said he has bulked up to 211 pounds. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has questioned if Young could be a 20-25 carry per game back, wondering if he could stay healthy at his size, but was also impressed with how hard Young has worked this offseason to be in prime shape.

The coaching staff has confidence in Young, who showed flashes of his talent as a rookie last season.

"He's a football player, that's the bottom line," running backs coach Bobby Turner said. "He's not the fastest guy, he's not the biggest guy, but you can play football or you can't. And he can play football, period."

If Young falters, a trio of players could challenge for the starting spot. Michael Pittman has the experience, with 10 years in the NFL. He is in great shape, and the Broncos know what he can do.

Two other candidates are intriguing but unknown. Andre Hall doesn't get much attention, but the Broncos like his speed and quickness. He did have 98 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving in his first NFL start against the Bears last year, a game he played after severely injuring his ankle on his first carry.

Fifth-round pick Ryan Torain also will have a shot at playing time. He has the size of a workhorse back, and has picked up the offense quickly. He could also get some time as a short-yardage back as a rookie, if he doesn't have a bigger role.

The players themselves expect a fair competition for the starting job during camp.

"They don't play favorites here, you've seen that in the past," Pittman said. "We're going to push each other. We're going to make each other better, and then the competition's going to heat up even more."

--With six weeks to go before training camp, Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall is feeling good about his progress.

In March, Marshall suffered a severe right arm injury, suffering lacerations to an artery, vein, nerve, two tendons and three muscles. He made a small breakthrough during the Broncos' last minicamp, catching a few softly tossed passes with both hands. He is supposed to start catching passes on June 22 and then he'll have a month to get ready for training camp.

"I still have nerve damage, but I'm still going to catch a hundred balls this year," Marshall said.

Marshall's hand and arm aren't fully healthy. He is capable of almost all normal daily activities.

"I can do everything with my right hand that I was doing before the accident but I'm still wiping my butt with my left hand," Marshall said. "It's not as strong. My right hand is not as strong."

He was still happy with how he felt, calling his healing a blessing. He has been working out to stay in shape, and felt the time before training camp would help strengthen his hand.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he thought with a month between his first test catching live passes and training camp that Marshall should be ready.

"There should be no setback by the time we go to camp," Shanahan said.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Broncos center Tom Nalen had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on June 6 to repair some cartilage. The Broncos weren't worried about Nalen missing the start of training camp in July.

"Anybody having a scope should be able to play within two weeks," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "Where we're at right now and the shape Tom is in, he should be full speed by the time we go to camp."

--The Broncos canceled their mandatory July minicamp. Shanahan said he was given a commitment by the players that they would finish the offseason conditioning program strong, and with the way the team has performed during the other offseason camps, he didn't think the extra practice days were necessary.

--Niko Koutouvides and Nate Webster continued to rotate as the first-team middle linebacker though the end of offseason camps. The coaches expect the competition to resume again in training camp. Although Koutouvides was signed to a three-year, $7.5 million deal this offseason, he doesn't have as much experience playing middle linebacker as Webster. Koutouvides backed up Lofa Tatupu in Seattle.

--Tight end Tony Scheffler returned to limited practice by the end of offseason camps. He has lingering soreness from a foot injury he suffered last year, but is expected to be fully ready by training camp.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I thought we got a lot done." -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on the team's progress during offseason practices. STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--TE Stephen Alexander will probably retire. RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None. EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None. PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--LB Boss Bailey: UFA Lions; $17.5M/5 yrs, $4.35M SB.
--WR Keary Colbert: UFA Panthers: $7.3M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--OG Dylan Gandy: FA Colts; terms unknown.
--WR Darrell Jackson: FA 49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Niko Koutouvides: UFA Seahawks; $7.5M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
--S Marquand Manuel: UFA Panthers; $4.5M/3 yrs, $500,000 guaranteed.
--S Marlon McCree: FA Chargers; terms unknown. --WR Samie Parker: UFA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--RB Michael Pittman: UFA Buccaneers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DT Dewayne Robertson (trade Jets).
--C Casey Wiegmann: UFA Chiefs; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--S Hamza Abdullah: RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--DE Ebenezer Ekuban: UFA; 1 YR, terms unknown.
--DE John Engelberger: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--CB Domonique Foxworth: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--TE Nate Jackson: UFA; $2M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--CB Karl Paymah: Potential RFA; $972,000/1 yr.
--OT Erik Pears: Potential ERFA; terms unknown.
--FB Cecil Sapp: UFA; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2008 cap: $485,000.

PLAYERS LOST
--K Jason Elam: UFA Falcons; $9M/4 yrs, $3.3M SB.
--S Nick Ferguson: UFA Texans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Ian Gold (released).
--LB Warrick Holdman (released).
--OT Matt Lepsis (retired).
--C Chris Myers: RFA; traded Texans.
--FB Paul Smith (released).
--OG Isaac Snell (released).
--S Marviel Underwood (released).
--WR Javon Walker (released).



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