Broncos Update Insider - 6/4

Even though there are mixed opinions on Josh McDaniels and the drastic moves he has made in his first two offseasons with the Denver Broncos, word of mouth among his players is apparently still good.

Linebacker Akin Ayodele and cornerback Nate Jones both signed with the Broncos after playing for Miami last season. They sought out the opinions of cornerback Andre Goodman and safety Renaldo Hill, former Dolphins who signed with Denver last year, and got good reviews on McDaniels.

"He's young, he's feisty, but the biggest thing is that he's really smart," Jones said when asked what Goodman and Hill told him about McDaniels. "To have a head coach that can tell a defense what the offense is thinking, I've never had that before. It's a tribute to him. He's a young coach, but he knows his stuff."

Ayodele said he was struck by the way McDaniels conducted himself. It reminded him of some of his former coaches like Tom Coughlin, Jack Del Rio, Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano -- all noted disciplinarians.

"Josh is somewhat old school," Ayodele said.

What Ayodele liked about McDaniels' style is how he makes every player, even the veterans, understand that they will have to compete for their jobs every season. Ayodele himself is currently a backup, fighting for a spot in Denver's starting lineup.

Although McDaniels is much younger than most of Ayodele's other coaches have been, he said that doesn't matter.

"He's a younger guy, but trust me: He's well respected," Ayodele said. "From the guys that were here this year and the guys they brought in this year, there's an understanding of what he wants and what he expects out of every single player. How he presents himself when we meet every morning, he has a message that gets across to everybody."


--For all the attention Tim Tebow is getting, the first-round pick still has a long way to go in his development as a NFL quarterback.

Offseason practices have shown that Tebow still has a lot to learn. He has looked tentative at times, checking down rather than make a mistake. His progressions are slow as he grasps a complex offense.

None of that should be surprising. It's the typical learning curve for a rookie quarterback taking his first few repetitions in the NFL.

"That's the hardest part of being a rookie is your thinking," Tebow said. "You're constantly thinking, 'What am I doing here? What if they do this? How do I do this?' It's studying so much where all of that is second nature where you just go and play, and play fast."

Tebow had one play in a May camp practice that showed he is still learning. In a red-zone period, he scanned the field for a long time before trying to fit a pass to his receiver in the corner of the end zone. He was intercepted easily.

That doesn't mean Tebow hasn't shown some good things. Players have said he is physically ready, and has shown off good arm strength that proves he can make all the NFL throws.

And Tebow has worked hard to not just ingratiate himself into the locker room but to learn the playbook. It's a slow process but he will be as ready as possible by training camp.

"I knew it was going to be tough," Tebow said. "I've got to come out here with a great attitude and work hard every day, and do what they tell me, and that's how I'm going about it."

--Outside linebacker Baraka Atkins has gotten a lot of practice repetition with Elvis Dumervil limited as he practices on an injury waiver, and Darrell Reid out with knee surgery.

Atkins has taken advantage, impressing the coaching staff. He is looking more comfortable standing up after beginning his career as a defensive end.

"He's got the size that you're looking for," McDaniels said. "A lot of the outside linebackers -- their best traits are going to show up in August because they're big (and) they're physical. Most of our guys are 255 (pounds) or above and he's one of those guys."

--The Broncos will hold their mandatory minicamp June 11-13 then players will have off until the start of training camp in late July. The Broncos' only contract concern -- aside from signing two first-round picks on time --is Elvis Dumervil, who still has not signed his free agent tender as he seeks a long term deal.

--The Broncos claimed linebacker Bruce Davis off waivers. Davis didn't work out in Pittsburgh after the Steelers made him a third-round pick in 2008. He spent most of last season on New England's practice squad. He could fight for a role as a special teams player in Denver.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know if it's moving faster than I anticipated. I know it's moving fast though." -- Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow.


RG Chris Kuper signed a six-year, $28.012 million deal that includes about $13 million in guaranteed money, according to the Denver Post.



--P Mitch Berger was a midseason signee who had an up-and-down year. With the late-season addition of Britton Colquitt, don't expect Berger back.
--S Vernon Fox added some depth on special teams late in the year. He could return for camp.
--OT Brandon Gorin gave the Broncos some experience at tackle but was not the primary backup at the position. Denver could look elsewhere.
--CB Ty Law played well after being picked up during the season but did deal with some injuries and is near the end of his career. If he is re-signed, it's a sign the Broncos don't have much faith in 2009 second-round pick Alphonso Smith.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)
--*OLB Elvis Dumervil (tendered at $3.168M with first- and third-round picks as compensation) should be a high priority for the Broncos after leading the NFL in sacks.


--CB Syd'Quan Thompson (7/225): Terms unknown.
--LB Jammie Kirlew (7/232): Terms unknown.

--S Josh Barrett: ERFA; terms unknown.
--LB Nick Greisen: UFA; terms unknown.
--G Russ Hochstein: UFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--*G Chris Kuper: RFA; (tendered at $2.521M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.521M/1 yr.
--WR Brandon Lloyd: UFA; terms unknown.
--*QB Kyle Orton: RFA; (tendered at $2.621M with first-round pick as compensation); $2.621M/1 yr.
--K Matt Prater: ERFA; terms unknown.
--*TE Tony Scheffler: RFA; (tendered at $1.176M with second-round pick as compensation); $1.176M/1 yr.
--*DE Le Kevin Smith: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.

--RB J.J. Arrington: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--LB Akin Ayodele: FA Dolphins; terms unknown.
--DT Justin Bannan: UFA Ravens; $22M/5 yrs, $6.3M SB.
--DE Jarvis Green: UFA Patriots; $20M/4 yrs.
--CB Nate Jones: UFA Dolphins; $4.33M/4 yrs.
--QB Brady Quinn (trade Browns).
--NT Jamal Williams: FA Chargers; $16M/3 yrs, $7M guaranteed.
--G/T Maurice Williams: FA; terms unknown.
--LB Bruce Davis (waivers Patriots).

--LB Andra Davis (released).
--OG Mitch Erickson (released).
--OG Ben Hamilton: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.
--FB Peyton Hillis (traded Browns).
--DE Vonnie Holliday: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--RB LaMont Jordan (released).
--WR Brandon Marshall (traded Dolphins).
--OG Matt McChesney (retired).
--DL J'Vonne Parker (released).
--DE Kenny Peterson (released).
--TE Tony Scheffler (trade Lions).
--QB Chris Simms (released).
--C Casey Wiegmann (released).

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