Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is entering his 8th season in the NFL. Today he talked about a number of topics, including what he expects from new teammate and former rival, running back Jamaal Charles.
“It’s not really think. What I’m hoping is that we’ll get the same Jamaal Charles we got in Kansas City—explosive, big plays,” Sanders told reporters Wednesday. “We’re looking for play makers on the offensive side of the ball. Hopefully he can bring that to us. Obviously, he’s still rehabbing and still trying to get in shape. We’re hopeful for him.”
Whether or not Sanders, or any of the offensive players, will have a successful season will depend on the performance of the starting quarterback. So, what is Sanders’ insight on the quarterback battle? One quarterback is not ahead of the other.
“My take is: it’s even. They’re battling. They’re going at each other. They’re both trying to make the right reads, make the right corrections and make plays every single day. It’s like one of those situations where there’s no update on it. They’re running neck and neck right now.”
Sanders is not worried about the fact that there is no leader in the quarterback race. He says there is plenty of time for the decision to play itself out and be made. “That’s not concerning. It’s obviously still early in training camp. We still have four preseason games. I could say, ‘Paxton is looking good out here during practice. And, Trevor can ball in the game.’ Or, vice versa—it doesn’t matter.”
The best way to test the quarterbacks is to put them on the field against other teams on gameday. “We’re going to see when the lights turn on, and when we go to San Francisco, and when we’re playing against other teams—what are you going to do in the game? I think that will be the determining factor.”
Right now, the goal is to prepare for the season. Sanders has put in many hours preparing and adjusted what goes into his body because he wants to excel at his game. “I changed my diet up this offseason. I worked my butt off. I invested in myself. I put a weight room at my house in Houston… Right now, I’m looking back at all the grinding I did during the offseason. Of course I want to come out here and I want to ball. It means more to me.”
A player who has been turning heads in training camp is running back De’Angelo Henderson. Sanders likes what he sees from the 24-year-old. “He’s looking really good. You never know until you get in the game, but man, he can find a hole. He always seems to find a way to get to the end zone or make a big play, 15 big time gains. I’m really impressed by him.”
Last season, the Broncos offensive line was not among the best in the league; however, by the sounds of it, the changes made at the group have made a real impact giving them a new identity. “Yesterday, the offensive line got into a little scuffle. I hear them say, ‘We’re not the old offensive line. We’re not the old offensive line,’ meaning they are bringing that grit, that meanness, that toughness.”
Sanders believes that the offense can be great if everyone stays on the same page, and likes what he sees from the offensive line additions (Ron Leary, Garett Bolles, Menelik Watson, Allen Barbre, as well as some rookies).
“Coming from me, I think our run game is going to be explosive this year and it’s going to open up the pass…If they can run the football, we can get the defense to go man to man versus me, Demaryius and the receiving corps, I think we’ll have a great offense. That’s where we’re headed to.”
Fighting in practice is common, especially at the start of training camp, because players want to hit others and sometimes they can’t wait. Sanders has been involved in fights during practice, and today, there was another one. He downplayed the scuffle from today. “Who me? That’s just football. I don’t even remember that play. It’s football.”
Cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib are two of the best in the NFL and Sanders feels very fortunate to have the privilege to face them every single day in practice. “Every training camp it’s me and Talib and me and Chris, we always go at it. That’s ‘No Fly Zone,’ and guess what, I’ve got a jet, a private jet, I’m trying to fly (laughing).” Sanders said that it can go one way and the next, another way. “Sometimes they blow my plane out of the sky and sometimes I fly good.”
Facing the two All-Pro cornerbacks have helped Sanders, and he says that the same goes for the quarterbacks. “It does. Obviously you come out here and you complete passes versus these guys, when it comes to the game—I’m not going to say it’s going to be easier, but you know you’re going against the best of the best. It’s not going to get any harder for sure. As long as they understand that and know that, I think we’ll be fine.”
Every team needs to have a level of intensity that is inside the rules of the game. Sanders says that coach Joseph talks about being at the top of your game every time you step on the field. The first-year head coach wants to put the Broncos back into championship form.
See the full presser below.
— Denver Broncos Zone (@DenverBroncosZ) August 2, 2017