Broncos Update Insider - 1/5

The Broncos cleaned out their lockers Monday, and many of the players probably did so for the last time.

Changes are expected again in Denver going into the second year of Josh McDaniels' tenure. Last offseason, the incoming head coach overhauled a lot of the roster, getting rid of players that were brought in under Mike Shanahan.

Tight end Tony Scheffler and receiver Brandon Marshall are among the players who seem headed somewhere else. Both are free agents -- and will be restricted with no new collective-bargaining agreement -- and both had a rocky final week of the season. Scheffler was a healthy scratch from Sunday's game. McDaniels questioned the severity of Marshall's hamstring injury, and he announced two days before the game that Marshall wouldn't play.

"Any locker room is going to have its issues with a new coach and 60 percent new guys and 40 percent holdovers from the old regime, the old system -- there's obviously going to be issues," Scheffler said. "I think coach is working on taking those issues away."

McDaniels seems determined to get his program going, instilling a new culture in Denver. When he announced Marshall's deactivation, he spoke about accountability and said things would change.

"It's never going to be acceptable while I'm here and while this staff is here and while we're trying to build our team with this philosophy," McDaniels said. "I don't know if it was acceptable before, but it isn't going to be now, and it never will be."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney's performance in the final game of the season, when he piled up 213 receiving yards in Brandon Marshall's absence, could mean good things for him going forward. He already has the trust of coach Josh McDaniels, and now he has shown he can be a top option when called upon.

"It doesn't surprise me how he played," McDaniels said. "We moved him around a lot and did a lot of things with him. He's a pro, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to coach him. I look forward to working with him for a long time."

--Quarterback Kyle Orton is a free agent but seems destined to return to Denver. He played pretty well, and Broncos coach Josh McDaniels spoke highly of him at his season-ending press conference.

"I think something is going to get worked out," Orton said. "I certainly want to be back with these guys. I want to be back with these coaches."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--OT Ryan Harris will have to undergo extensive rehabilitation for a toe injury that ended his season. A timetable hasn't been placed on when he can return for offseason activities.

--WR Brandon Marshall said he doesn't know what will happen in the offseason. Coach Josh McDaniels did say he thought Marshall could come back to the Broncos after a season that was rocky at times. Most likely, the team will try to move Marshall, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason if there is no new collective-bargaining agreement.

--CB Champ Bailey is entering the final year of his contract, but coach Josh McDaniels praised him after the season. McDaniels said he hopes Bailey is with the Broncos as long as he is coaching the team.

--WR Eddie Royal was inactive for the final two games and finished with a disappointing 345 yards, but coach Josh McDaniels said he hopes Royal becomes a much bigger part of the offense next season.

--G Russ Hochstein still hasn't undergone surgery for a knee injury suffered in the second-to-last game of the season. His availability for the start of training camp isn't certain.



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