‘Full speed ahead,’ George Paton and Broncos ready for regular season

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos general manager George Paton takes part in drills during an NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, at the team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – In his first offseason as general manager, George Paton put his mark on the Denver Broncos.

“I do like this football team,” said Paton as the Broncos set their initial 53-man roster Tuesday. “I thought we had a nice preseason and training camp. I thought it was really important to win games in the preseason. Winning is contagious. These guys like to win, and they are feeling it. It’s full speed ahead.”

The Broncos active roster features 16 players who were not with the club in any capacity during the 2020 season, including starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. 

“Competition brought out the best of both of these players,” Paton said of both Bridgewater and Drew Lock. “Really excited for Teddy week one leading us against the Giants and the rest of the season.”

Finalizing the roster, Paton focused on improving the special teams unit by acquiring linebacker Jonas Griffith from the San Francisco 49ers via trade. 

The other area of focus was the secondary, who in 2020 struggled to find time on the field. Denver’s starting cornerback tandem started just six games together due to injuries and eight different corners logged at least one start.

“Defensively we needed to fix the corners,” said Paton who added Ronald Darby, Kyle Fuller and drafted Patrick Surtain II this offseason. “We wanted better team speed and I think we are faster. We are more athletic on defense and have better depth.”

The Broncos roster features eight draft selections, five veteran free agents, two trade acquisitions and one college free agent. For the 17th time in the last 18 years, a rookie college free agent made the team’s initial 53-man active roster out of training camp. Outside linebacker Andre Mintze (Vanderbilt) is Denver’s 26th college free agent to make the roster out of training camp since 1997.

“I’m happy with the players that are here,” said Paton. “How they work. How they want to win. How passionate they are about winning, and I like the guys we brought in.”

The Denver Broncos will open the regular season Sept. 12 at the New York Giants.

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