CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Before Shane Ray opened his mouth, his shirt spoke volumes.
It read "Truth." The word emblazons the back wall in the Broncos' meeting room. It reminds players to be accountable, to take ownership, to understand the film does not lie. In that regard, Ray embraced the Broncos' signing of running back Jamaal Charles. Ray recognizes Charles' value as much as any scout. He grew up in Kansas City as a huge Chiefs fan. Charles is the team's all-time leading rusher. He can create chaos in space for linebackers. Ray learned the hard way as a rookie as he cheated out of position as Charles burned him for a touchdown.
"People are sick back home," Ray said. "My phone was blowing up. People saying, 'Nooo!!, not Jamaal.' He's a great addition. His presence spreading the field is real."
Charles turns heel? Not exactly. The 30-year-old needed an opportunity in a tepid market for running backs. The Broncos offered a chance and an offense that can accentuate his skill set. The idea of Charles, who will wear No. 28, catching 40 passes seems realistic. Perhaps 150 touches total as a complementary player if he stays healthy. When Charles is right, a lot can go wrong for a defense. He's plaid on stripes. A walking mismatch.
"Linebackers can't cover him," cornerback Bradley Roby said of Charles, who received $1 million guaranteed on a one-year contract that tops out at $3.75 million with incentives. "And safeties can't cover him."
While Ray and Roby remain optimistic about the Broncos' refurbished offense, they know the team's identity rests on their side of the ball. Ray will become a full-time starter this season, replacing retired DeMarcus Ware, something he called "bittersweet." Ware and Von Miller serve as his mentors. Ray believes he's ready for an expanded role after taking a huge leap in his second season with eight sacks.
"Can't nobody block me for an entire game," Ray said, seeing 16 sacks as realistic when following that logic. "I did self scout this offseason. I went back over my film on what I did well, and I identified areas where I can get better in my footwork."
Ray wants to become more consistent in the running game and coverage, while applying a relentless rush. He remains committed to a strict diet and workout routine which helped him make huge strides a year ago.
"I aspire to be an All-Pro," Ray said. "There should never be a time where you don't know I'm on the field."
Roby brings solid coverage and candor. He admitted he didn't prepare as well last season following the Super Bowl 50 title. He made big plays -- his pick six won the Jacksonville game --- but wasn't as consistent.
"I am more focused this offseason," Roby said. "I need to keep working on my technique, to continue improving."
The Broncos picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, all but guaranteeing he will be in Denver for two more seasons. He has had to learn behind All-Pros Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib, but insists it has made him better.
"I want to be here," Roby said.
Roby cracked a funny as well. He hopes Broncos fans don't confuse him with Charles because of their matching dreadlocks. And the former Ohio State star admitted he has low expectations for the Broncos fifth-round tight end Jake Butt.
"I am not expecting much," Roby said with dry wit, "because he went to Michigan."