ENGLEWOOD — The smell of sun screen and coffee assaults the senses. The thermometer at UCHealth Training Center tickles triple digits. It is perfect weather for swimsuits, tank tops and, um, sweatshirts? Broncos coach Vic Fangio indulged Denver7 on his wardrobe choice (seen above) in camp.
"I am not the only one wearing long sleeves," Fangio said, reminding that 100 degrees without humidity would have been considered a gift in former places he's worked like New Orleans and Houston. "I used to be in better shape. I wear the sweatshirt now to hide my gut."
Fangio's fashion fits his profile. He is a throwback. It's easy to see Fangio in a black-and-white film with a whistle around his neck working alongside Bear Bryant. Fangio is about fundamentals. Keep it simple. Cap? Check. Khaki shorts. Got it. Sweatshirt, always gray in color? Yep.
"I just think he's an old school guy," Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe said. "I haven't heard him tell a story about a player post-1990. Everything is from the 1980s. So it's like (that's who he is)."
Fangio's wardrobe has not changed since his arrival in Denver. He made a concession to the summer furnace, eschewing gray sweatpants for shorts. His sweatshirt sticks out because folks are sweating it out at camp. It is hot. A few players have missed reps while dealing with the heat. So what do they think when seeing Fangio's forearms hiding behind fabric?
"I don't know what that is, maybe he likes to be warm," linebacker Josey Jewell said.
Added cornerback Chris Harris Jr. with a smile, "I am in my ninth year. I have had tons of coaches. I can't remember what they all wore."
Perhaps Courtland Sutton put it best about the sweatshirt. It fits Fangio.
"That's his swag," receiver Courtland Sutton said.
With Todd Davis out roughly three weeks with a calf strain, the Broncos will mix in multiple players in his spot. Alexander Johnson, who played sparingly on special teams as a rookie after he sat out 3 1/2 years pending a rape trial where he was found not guilty last July, ran with the first team on Friday. Johnson brings a physical presence at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds. Veteran Joseph Jones, who filled in some last year, and second-year player Keishawn Bierria will get looks as well.
Lock it in
Drew Lock's athleticism and arm strength are impossible to miss. But NFL football is not a combine. As a quarterback you need the software to match the hardware. Lock is making improvements -- he showed offseason dedication in studying playcalls and mechanics over the last six weeks -- but it is a gradual process. Fangio admitted that the spread offense Lock played in at Missouri set him behind because it doesn't transfer to the pro game. He was under duress and always in shotgun. Fangio likes Lock's ability to throw from different arm angles and make plays off script, but admitted he needs refinement.
"He's not a quarterback yet. He's a hard-throwing pitcher who doesn't know how to pitch yet," said Fangio, who loves baseball, so such analogies are not uncommon. "The faster he gets that the better off he'll be and we'll be."
No music to his ears
The sound of silence is the Broncos background music in training camp. Under former boss Vance Joseph, the tunes rocked the berm at UCHealth Center. The volume has gone from 11 to zero.
"It's a lot quieter," Harris said.
Fangio explained why on Friday. As with everything he does, Fangio has a reason.
"There’s no music in games. And when it comes to the point where we need to simulate crowd noise in practice, which we will do, it will be noise. It won’t be music," Fangio said. "Noise by definition sounds annoying. Music sounds nice.”
Fangio did allow that he likes tunes. He lists Earth, Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson among his favorite artists.
Broncos right guard Ron Leary is over it. He's over his injuries, his body healed from knee and Achilles issues that made 2018 a lost season. And he's over the criticism of the offensive line. This year is going to be different, he believes. "We are tired of getting bashed by you guys. We are going to change the narrative," Leary said. "You all are going to see something good." .... Kevin Hogan, the backup quarterback for now, suffered through a tough day, picked off by Joe Jones and Su'a Cravens. ... All-Pro linebacker Von Miller was in full bloom Friday. He wrecked two plays with what would have been sacks. Then he jumped into the crowd, held up a sign, posed for a picture and hopped back into drills without missing a rep. ... Watching the tight ends mix and match the first few days, it's fair to wonder if the Broncos will keep four at the position and only five receivers. Just an early thought. ... Running back Khalfani Muhammad is a longshot worth watching. He's shifty and quick, showing burst when he gets reps. Interested to see what he does with the pads on Sunday and in the first few preseason games.