Denver Broncos head coach and former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said that he has a pretty good idea about the makeup of his starting offensive line and all indications are that the unit will include Gino Gradkowski at center. Gradkowski, who lost his starting job with the Ravens to Jeremy Zuttah and was traded to the Broncos in April, is competing against 2014 sixth-round pick Matt Paradis. It’s clearly Gradkowski’s job to lose. The 2012 fourth-round pick out of Delaware, Gradkowski struggled mightily as the Ravens’ starting center in 2013. However, another season under his belt along with the vocal leadership of quarterback Peyton Manning should put him in better position to succeed. If he does start, Gradkowski will have to deal with Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan in Week One.
Speaking of Kubiak, he has already started resting some of his Broncos’ veterans during organized team activities and he said he’ll continue to do so during training camp. His reasoning? One, it keeps the older players fresher over the course of the season. And two, it gives younger players more repetitions and helps them lessen the learning curve. Kubiak admitted that he was buoyed about how well resting veterans worked with the Ravens last year and how ready several of the younger players were to contribute when they were called upon late in the year. He didn’t mention any names but tight end Crockett Gillmore and offensive linemen John Urschel and James Hurst obviously come to mind.
One Bronco that figures to get plenty of rest during training camp is former Raven tight end Owen Daniels who reunited with Kubiak this offseason. As he did in Baltimore, Daniels has been making his rounds in recent weeks to various Colorado news stations as part of weather segments. The veteran graduated from Wisconsin with a degree in atmospheric and oceanic sciences so weather is one of his passions.
Traded by the Ravens to the Detroit Lions earlier this offseason, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata missed the final two weeks of OTAs with his new team to reportedly tend to a “personal matter.” Previously, Ngata told the Detroit Free Press that adjusting to the Lions’ defensive schemes was “definitively difficult.” The Lions want Ngata to get more penetration and get upfield more while the Ravens were content to have the mammoth defensive lineman stuff the running game and occupy blockers.
Newly-minted San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith got some attention this week with a fashion choice. Under his practice shorts, Smith wore “Iron Man” tights, Under Armour’s nod to the super hero. However, what has 49ers’ officials really excited is the offseason additions of Smith and Reggie Bush, a reinvigorated Vernon Davis and an improved and confident Colin Kaepernick. While it’s been a rough offseason for the 49ers in terms of departures, there is plenty of optimism that the offense will be much-improved, thanks to the play of Kaepernick who is earning raved reviews for his work so far this summer.
With the Ravens, outside linebacker/defensive end Pernell McPhee had one primary role: get after the quarterback. However, he’s learned in OTAs that the Chicago Bears and their defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, might expect a little more from him. McPhee, who signed a five-year, $40 million deal with the Bears, has been asked to drop back in pass coverage during workouts as Fangio seeks to create confusion. “Sometimes I wonder, 'Why the hell you got me doing this?,’” McPhee told the Chicago Sun-Times about his coverage responsibilities. "And then, when I watched the practice film, it all plays out.”
You just knew that outspoken cornerback Cary Williams wasn’t done opining about one of his former head coaches, Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles. Now with the Seattle Seahawks after eschewing interest from several teams, including a potential return to the Ravens, Williams reiterated his belief that Kelly’s rigorous practices are counterproductive during an interview with 710 ESPN in Seattle. Williams added that under Kelly, the Eagles got “out-coached the majority of the games.”
Just a couple of weeks ago, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Joe Flacco’s long-time backup in Baltimore, was generating some buzz as the dark horse to win the Buffalo Bills’ quarterback competition. However, per reports, Taylor didn’t exactly distinguish himself during Bills’ OTAs. The good news for Taylor, according to the Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci, was that the other two primary candidates -- Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel -- also struggled at times. Taylor can impress with his athleticism but consistency in practice has always been the issue.