Broncos report: Gearing up for preseason opener

Could not have better weather than what we experienced here in Colorado today. Low 80s, breezy, sunny. Perfect. Great day for football (but aren’t they all?).

The Broncos went through a long and spirited morning session — they’ll be back on the field late this afternoon — and are gearing up for their preseason opener against San Francisco on Friday. It will be Josh McDaniels’s first game as a head coach, and as TE Daniel Graham (who knows McDaniel from their time together in New England) put it, “This game sets the tone. We want to come out and make a good impression.”

McDaniels did some game prep, working on special situations (a hallmark of the Bill Belichick tree) and on scout team stuff to mimic the 49ers. No one wants to reveal too much, especially so soon in the preseason, but it’s no secret that McDaniels is going to want to spread the ball around, and he conceded today that the team will likely have a “base, three wide-receiver grouping.”

WR Brandon Marshall continues to sit out with a hip problem. Marshall, who has sought a trade and a big contract this offseason, has practiced sparingly and the team is not saying much about the injury (as is the case in many places this time of year). Marshall has a history of hip issues and while this injury is not considered severe, according to a league source, the team wants to take precautions.

There is ample competition at tight end. Veterans Graham, Tony Scheffler and Jeb Putzier have all been productive, and you wonder that if another team suffers a run of injuries at that spot if they might come calling.

Rookie RB Knowshon Moreno has an impressive burst and he looked good working with the first unit. Veteran RB Correll Buckhalter is earning lots of praise during camp, too, with McDaniels pointing to his versatility and winning mentality after practice today.

Wasn’t the crispest of days for the offense, overall, however.

The other big story at camp was the inevitable rookie hazing. Seems the Broncos’ veterans got loose last night — the offensive line in particular — and there are some rookies running around looking like they got scalped. If someone wanted to start a DVD series called, “Razors Gone Wild,” Englewood, Colorado, would make for a great first episode.

A bunch of rookies had what appeared to be checkerboards craved into their heads, and QB Tom Brandstater definitely got it the worst. He had some kind of reverse Mohawk going on. It looked like something Bobcat Goldthwait might have rocked back in the day. The entire middle sphere of the poor kid’s head was bald, with everything that was short along the sides still there.

Brandstater said he succumbed easily to the linemen: “I was trying to preserve my eyebrows, so I went willingly.”

Jason La Canfora

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