ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The day after the 2016 season ended, the Broncos’ offensive players vowed they would hold a collective passing camp in the offseason. Now, in April, the longest stretch of the offseason has come and gone and there has still yet to be a passing camp.
On Monday, Emmanuel Sanders stood by he and his teammates original plan, insisting there will in fact be a passing camp at some point before the season starts.
“Paxton actually texted me and we are going to try and get it done,” Sanders said. “Actually, we are going to get it done.”
The holdup? It’s difficult to coordinate schedules of five to ten NFL stars, especially when there isn’t a dominant figure, such as Peyton Manning, leading the effort.
“It’s just about location,” Sanders said. “Obviously I want to host all of the guys at my house in Houston and I know Demaryius [Thomas] is on board and everybody is on board. It’s just about booking flights and getting it done.”
The idea of a passing camp is simple — the quarterbacks and receiving corps gather for a few days at an offsite location to work on their timing and chemistry in the passing game, while also spending a few nights together building chemistry as a unit.
This practice was popular in the Manning era as he somewhat famously gathered his top receivers for a few days at Duke University each offseason. While it was never organized by the team, Manning expected perfect attendance. In return, he organized the event and paid for the costs for all of the participants.
After Manning retired last season, new quarterback Mark Sanchez followed his lead, holding his own passing camp for the Broncos’ receiving corps in Los Angeles, even bringing along Trevor Siemian.
Although most quarterbacks in the league don’t hold these camps, the standard that Manning passed down still resides inside the Broncos’ locker room. For the next eight weeks, through June 15, the Broncos have their own offseason workout program in place that will make it difficult for a passing camp to take place.
After these offseason workouts, the players will have over a month off until the start of training camp, during which they could hold the passing camp. However, players typically like to take this time to get away before the six-month grind of the season. Both Manning and Sanchez held their passing camps around the first week of April, before the offseason workout program.
Regardless of when it happens, it could be even more beneficial than in years past as the Broncos still don’t know who their starting quarterback will be. Sanders said that Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch will be in attendance.
Along with needing to establish chemistry with two quarterbacks instead of just one, Sanders believes the new offensive system brought in by offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will have even more of an emphasis on the passing game, making a passing camp even more important.
“I believe it’s going to be a pass-happy offense,” he said.
Whether a passing camp comes to fruition or not won’t officially be known until it either happens or until training camp rolls around at the end of July. If it happens, it could give meaningful insight into the leadership and makeup on the offensive side of the ball while continuing to take a page out of Manning’s book.