CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway chose bluntness when talking about the 2016 offense.
"If you look at where we were last year, there's only one way for us to go," Elway said Wednesday at the pre-training camp media barbecue.
The Broncos ranked 27th in yards per game, 22nd in points, and 27th in rushing yards. Coach Vance Joseph provided an interesting nugget when discussing the backfield. Free agent addition Jamaal Charles (knee injuries) has been cleared for training camp. Joseph indicated Charles will be eased back into the flow, working with the first, second and third teams. It was notable because it implied confidence in Charles' recovery that he will make the team and continue to improve as the season advances.
Charles told Denver7 recently he believes he can silence critics and rebound as an impact player again. "If I didn't, why keep playing?" he said.
Initially, however, C.J. Anderson enters camp as the starter. Hundreds of miles logged on his bike helped shed pounds and left him in terrific condition after missing the final nine games due to a knee injury. This should behoove him in his attempt to hold off second-year pro Devontae Booker.
"C.J. has proven he's an NFL back. I want to see him do it for 16 games," Joseph said. "It's a competitive room."
Center Matt Paradis (hips), as reported earlier, and defensive lineman Adam Gotsis (knee), will be limited to individual walk-through work in the first week. That is more than is available to veteran outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (hip) and rookie tight end Jake Butt (knee). The team remains encouraged by Barrett's progress, especially considering when he suffered the injury away from the facility there was concern he might be lost for the season. But Joseph said Barrett could miss the start of the regular season. Butt remains 4-to-6 weeks away from practicing in his return from ACL surgery, leaving him a candidate for the regular season PUP list.
"The mental side of it is a big part," Elway said of Butt, who tore his ACL twice during his college career at Michigan.
Welcome back, Kubes
Joseph said he was consulted before the team hired former coach Gary Kubiak as a scout this week. Joseph welcomed the move. Joseph served on Kubiak's Houston Texans' staff, and sees his return as an asset.
"It's important. He's a Bronco. I worked for coach. Most of my principles come from him," Joseph said.
While there was some belief Kubiak would take this season off, Elway was not surprised at his early return.
"Football guys can't stay away from football. My dad was that way," Elway said. "I knew (Kubiak) would be back."
CEO Joe Ellis admitted his disappointment over not having a new stadium name following the bankruptcy of Sports Authority. He continues to meet with potential companies, but the current signage will remain along with the name until a new sponsor is secured. ... As part of his new five-year contract, Elway received a new title: President of Football Operations. It is designed to recognize his unique role with the Broncos, but does not add responsibilities. ... The Broncos players were required to run 10 40-yard dashes as part of a conditioning test implemented by Joseph. The times were generous, like a second slower than a normal based on baselines for position groups. It exists as a subtle reminder to stay in shape during the six-week break. "I am not worried about it," receiver Demaryius Thomas said. "I know I am going to pass it."