Locker room expects Siemian or Lynch to lead Broncos into playoffs

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos will have their first full training camp practice of the new season in 10 days.

So consider the countdown officially on for the new season. Here are 10 things to know on the doorstep of training camp:

Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch will win the starting quarterback job by limiting red-zone mistakes, showing an understanding of the entire offense (and not just the parts they like), and exhibiting the follow-me presence of a guy who can make the right throws at the right time to the right receiver. The bottom line is that the rest of the locker room believes this team is a playoff contender and is waiting to see the quarterback willing to do the work to make it happen.

• Running back Devontae Booker showed the coaches enough good things in the offseason program that he's expected to get some snaps with the starting offense in the camp's early going to see if he can really push for the No. 1 job.

• Overall, the Broncos' division of labor at running back will bear watching all through the preseason. C.J. Anderson, Booker and Jamaal Charles each warrants significant looks in the offense. And rookie De'Angelo Henderson is really their best big-play speed option. It means there is a scenario in which the Broncos, if Charles' knees hold up in camp and the preseason, feel compelled to keep four running backs to go with fullback Andy Janovich. That's because Janovich is one of the team's best special-teams players and he might be one of the two best pass-catchers at the position.

• That crowd at running back is an issue because the Broncos also have a crowd at wide receiver and tight end. Those are the three most competitive spots on the roster, and the potential exists for a familiar name or two to get squeezed out. The Broncos have largely stuck to 25 players on offense in the cut to 53 in John Elway's tenure as chief football decision-maker, and that would mean it is an extremely tight fit at the skill positions this time around.

• The return game could well decide things at receiver, as rookies Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie -– the third- and fifth-round picks, respectively -- are in line to return kickoffs (Henderson) and punts (McKenzie). Henderson could push for the No. 3 receiver job as well, and the Broncos like McKenzie's versatility, including the potential to carry the ball out of the backfield. Both rookies must show they can handle what's needed on offense, however, to end up where they'd like to be.

• The rookie who exited the offseason program poised to move into the starting lineup was left tackle Garett Bolles. He steadily moved up the depth chart in the spring and figures to get plenty of work with the starters. He took far too many post-play penalties in college. The Broncos used a first-round pick on him because they like his edge, and he'll be in the lineup in the season opener as long as he understands that NFL defensive linemen routinely will try to bait him.

• Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson has the biggest to-do list of any of the team's assistant coaches. The Broncos had the season-wrecking double-dip of poor technique and lack of power at the point of attack up front in 2016. Davidson's group, with some new faces -- Bolles, Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson -- will need to show plenty of improvement if the Broncos are to get back in the postseason conversation.

• The player whom folks might not see a lot of this summer -- but who could have a far bigger role by the second half of the season -- is rookie tight end Jake Butt. When the Broncos adjourned their offseason program, the expectation was that Butt would open training camp on the physically unable to perform list because of the knee injury he suffered in Michigan's bowl game. However, if his rehab continues to go as the Broncos hope, Butt could carve out a significant role in the offense by November.

• Make no mistake, the Broncos are still a defensive-driven operation. But to be all they can be, the revamped defensive line has to be up to the challenge. It's not quite as effective to have the league's best secondary and the league's best pass-rusher if opponents don't feel all that compelled to throw the ball in the tightest situations.

Von Miller is annually in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year, but opponents held Miller without a sack in the last four games in 2016 because the Broncos couldn't defend the run well enough to get into premium pass-rush situations or create enough problems in other parts of the formation to set Miller free. Their work in camp and the preseason will give some indication whether they've repaired those things. No matter what other questions the Broncos have this season, Miller has to be at his elite best for them to have a chance to chase a trophy.