Broncos Training Camp Kicks Off

By: AP
By: AP

The Denver Broncos punting job is open after Todd Sauerbrun wore out his welcome last December.

The two candidates are Sam Paulescu, who made his pro debut in the Broncos' season finale last year, and rookie free agent Brett Kern, both of whom are trying out as kicker Matt Prater's holder, too.

All too aware of what it feels like to be fighting for a job, Prater won't lobby for either one.

"I'm getting comfortable with both of them," he insisted. "They're both about the same. I think it's more what I do and they go off of me, so they're both doing the same exact thing."

Coach Mike Shanahan playfully cut off a question about his punting position Saturday by declaring: "We're not going to punt."

So, that means he doesn't have to keep a punter on the roster, right?

"I'm optimistic," Shanahan said. "I'm not that optimistic."

WEIGHTY ISSUE: Coach Mike Shanahan said beefy offensive guard Montrae Holland reported to camp 20-25 pounds overweight.

He won't be allowed to work out with the team until he drops a lot of that extra weight.

"He's working out. It'll be a process, it's not going to happen overnight," Shanahan said.

Holland is listed at 322 pounds.

"He's going to have to lose about 20 pounds and it's going to take some time," Shanahan said. "When he loses it, he can come back."

He'd better hurry if he wants to keep his starting job at right guard which he held for all 16 games last year, his first season in Denver after four years in New Orleans.

SCHEFFLER'S BACK: Tight end Tony Scheffler, who was limited in the offseason because of a foot injury, said he felt fine Saturday and not just because of his juggling, acrobatic touchdown grab.

"The biggest thing for me is that I got my wind back today. I struggled a little but yesterday, just keeping my breath and that sort of thing," he said. "Foot felt great today. I didn't notice the whole practice."

The Broncos are counting on their talented tight end staying healthy and playing a full season after his first two seasons in the NFL were marred by leg injuries, which led to inconsistent practice time that stunted his growth as one of quarterback Jay Cutler's top targets.

"I think when the third down comes around, I'll be one of the guys that Jay likes to come to," Scheffler said. "I just got to work on getting the ball in the air and seeing because I have been out of it for a little bit."

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Among the notable plays Saturday morning was a nice catch by rookie wide receiver Eddie Royal, who is projected to make an impact first as a returner this season.

"It doesn't take you long to figure out he's going to be a top-notch receiver as well as an excellent returner," coach Mike Shanahan said. "Hess in great shape, and he's a strong kid. But there is still a learning curve. Hopefully he will improve everyday."

THE BOSS: Linebacker Boss Bailey said he loves being back on the same field as his brother, cornerback Champ Bailey.

"It's a lot more easier for me to be back on the field with my brother. It's a comforting thing for me," he said. "It's just been fun playing with him and watching and learning and trying to steal some moves from him."

Bailey joined the Broncos as a free agent from Detroit over the winter.


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