Training camp goals

Selvin Young (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos report to training camp on July 24, and their first practice is the next day. What are their goals going into training camp?

1. See what Selvin Young can do.

Young impressed during his rookie season, first in the preseason to make the team, then as a change-of-pace back to Travis Henry, then as the starter when Henry was hurt.

After the season, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan challenged Young a bit, saying he didn't know if Young could stay healthy carrying the ball 20-25 times a game as a featured tailback. Young worked hard in the offseason to get stronger, and he hopes that will help his durability. If Young proves himself in camp, he will enter the season as the starter and could get enough carries to have a big year.

The Broncos brought in a lot of competition, including drafting Ryan Torain in the fifth round. The team feels it got a bargain on Torain, who is coming off a major foot injury but said he feels good. Michael Pittman and Andre Hall will also have a chance to compete.

2. Get Brandon Marshall on track.

Marshall has had plenty of off-field issues in his short career, and while that could be a bit of a distraction, the team's immediate focus is the health of his injured arm. Marshall suffered major injuries this offseason. He said he put his arm through the glass of an entertainment center and television after wrestling around with his brother. He suffered lacerations to an artery, vein, nerve, two tendons and three muscles.

He couldn't catch any passes for three months, and even though he'll get some practice before training camp, it's hard to predict how effective he will be catching passes against live competition during practice and preseason games.

Marshall is a huge piece of Denver's offense. Last year he became the third second-year receiver in NFL history to catch 100 passes. If he isn't effective the Broncos don't have any great options to be a true No. 1 receiver for quarterback Jay Cutler. The team has repeatedly said they expect Marshall to have a full recovery and be ready for the start of training camp.

3. Figure out the special teams.

The Broncos will have almost no experience at punter and kicker on opening day, no matter who wins those jobs -- assuming no veteran is brought in at the last minute. There are five games total of NFL experience among the two kickers and two punters battling for jobs. The Broncos have shown some confidence that their youngsters can handle the jobs.

Matt Prater accounts for four of the five NFL games among the specialists on Denver's roster, although he is only one-of-four in career field-goal attempts. He has a great leg and showed good accuracy and consistency in the offseason. If he falters, undrafted rookie Garrett Hartley could get a chance to win the job. There will be a lot of pressure on whoever wins the job because they will be replacing Broncos all-time leading scorer Jason Elam. Elam signed with Atlanta as a free agent this offseason.

At punter, Sam Paulescu punted in the final game of Denver's season last year. That might give him a slight edge over undrafted rookie Brett Kern. The team likes the potential of both. Kern is a big, strong punter and Paulescu has shown he has a good leg. They could split time in training camp to determine who wins the job.

CAMP CALENDAR: The Broncos report to training camp on July 24, and their first practice is the next day. Denver trains at the facilities at its Dove Valley headquarters. The camp will probably end on or around Aug. 7.



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