CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The Broncos pursued Ron Leary in free agency as a top target to improve a leaky offensive line. He helped the Dallas Cowboys play smash mouth football. He also earned high marks for his work ethic and practice habits from coach Jason Garrett.
In June, Leary proved he was more team-first than first-team, agreeing to move from left guard to right guard when given the choice by the coaches.
"They gave me the option, but I am a big team guy. I was that way in Dallas and I will be that way here," Leary explained Monday as he took kids from the Broncos' Boys & Girls Club on a back-to-school shopping spree at a Parker King Soopers. "It's going to be an adjustment. I got some good work in the last couple of weeks. I would not have made the switch if I didn't think I could do it. I am looking forward to it."
Leary will team with tackle Menelik Watson on the right side, creating a potential avenue to ignite the running game. Leary looks forward to working with Matt Paradis for the first time after the center missed the offseason following surgery on both hips. One spot remains open: left tackle. First-round pick Garett Bolles is competing with former Colorado State star Ty Sambrailo. Bolles has not added weight, answering to the nickname "Big Lizard" with his lean body. He embraces the competition.
"If I don't start, that's my fault because I wasn't prepared. I wasn't doing the things I needed to do," said Bolles, who admitted he feels comfortable run blocking but needs to improve his technique in pass blocking. "If I do what I can do, and do everything I can possible, then I have a good chance."
House of Smiles
Rookie defensive tackle DeMarcus Walker believes he can contribute this season. However, he will make no greater impact than he did at home. With his signing bonus, he purchased his mother Cynthia a car and a house in Jacksonville. Walker fought back emotions as he explained how important this was to him.
"She went through so much as a woman (losing family members). She could have quit, but she stood strong. She kept her faith, kept reading the Bible," Walker said, revealing his mother was close to deciding against having anymore children given the struggles of raising two young girls. "Before my grandmother passed away, she said, 'The Lord is going to bless you with a handsome boy.' My grandmother passed away in 1993 and I was born in 1994. That's why it's a big deal. Just hearing her story. It's my goal to make her proud and support her."
Second-year safety Justin Simmons shook his head when asked about the difference between last year and now. "I am so much more comfortable with the (defensive scheme)," Simmons said. .... Leary, Simmons, Virgil Green, Will Parks, Andy Janovich and Kalif Raymond delighted children by checking off items on their school supply wish list during the King Soopers shopping spree. ... Rookie receiver Carlos Henderson is adjusting to the role of slot receiver, and could also produce on special teams: "I do feel like I can help as a kick returner."