Broncos Coach Joseph on keeping 10 rookies: 'Young is not bad'

Head Coach Vance Joseph talks about why having a young roster can be a good thing.

On what he likes about the three running backs who made the team

Theyre all qualified. Obviously, [RB Devontae] Booker is the most experience, hes played some good football for us. His better days are ahead of him. [RB] Royce [Freeman] had a great spring and a great summer also. Obviously with 2 (RB Phillip Lindsay), hes a special runner, but he also played teams very well. He was a L-5, he was a gunner for us, he completed the package for us.

On the decision to waive WR Isaiah McKenzie

That was tough with Isaiah because you can see the talent. He made two explosive plays in preseason, but hes a young player. In my opinion, he needs more time. [President of Football Operations/GM] John [Elway] mentioned it, for a coach, Im about now, and right now, I think we got it better with [CB] Adam Jones as a returner and adding Adam as an experienced corner. We got better that way.

On if special teams played into the decision to keep 10 linebackers and 10 defensive backs

Absolutely, last year we were poor on special teams. We were very fortunate to draft two young backers. We acquired [ILB] Joseph Jones last year, so those three guys are going to be huge for us as core guys. Theyre going to play on all four [units]. Having young receivers who can cover kicks like [WR] Tim Patrick and [WR] DaeSean [Hamilton], thats huge for us because if you dont play good on teams, youre probably going to lose football games. That was definitely one of the reasons we kept so many inside linebackers and our young class, weve got receivers and defensive backs that can play teams. Thats going to help us.

On 10 rookies making the team

Theyre all qualified. Again, its good football players and young is not bad, especially at certain positions. Were experienced at the right positions. O-line, were experienced. At quarterback, were experienced. On defense, were experienced. At half back, were not. But thats a position, weve all seen in the last four or five years, its been young guys thats led the league in rushing. Last year, we had one in Kansas City. I think Royce has that kind of ability. Hes a mature guy. I think 2 is a mature guy. They play well on first, second and third downs, so I have no worries with our young guys. Theyre all qualified, theyre all smart guys and theyre all good football players. Happy to have them all.

On if S Dymonte Thomas made it hard to release him with his preseason performance

He definitely earned his way. He was a P-squad guy last year that came up late in the year and played well late in the year for us. He came back this year and hes had a great camp. He played very well against Washington two weeks ago as a dime backer for us. He practiced there for two days and played for us. The more you can do, the more valuable you are. Hes also a core [special] teams player for us. Hes a safety and he plays dime, so he checks boxes for us. You want guys to make it hard for you. You want guys who say, We cannot let this guy go, and he was one of those guys.

On picking TE Matt LaCosse over TE Brian Parker and Austin Traylor

That was also tough between LaCosse and Parker. They both had great camps. I think LaCosse, hes a guy thats a good receiver, but he also is a good in-line blocker. He played some fullback for us and he also covers kicks. When youre talking about the perfect package for a full tight end, catching the football, blocking and playing special teams is huge. Parker, he had a fine camp also, but LaCosse, in our opinion, give us more.

On what QB Paxton Lynch has to do as the No. 3 quarterback

Just continue to get better. In my opinion, he played well the last two weeks. Ive been impressed with Paxton and how hes handled his demotion. Hes been engaged, hes worked and having [QB] Case [Keenum] around has been good for him and [QB] Chad [Kelly]. I think keeping three quarterbacks for us is a good thing because that position is so important. If you have a guy you think can in the future can be a player, youve got to give him time to develop. Thats my opinion on Paxton. He needs more time, but we all watched him play Thursday night. It looked real. I think with more time hes going to be fine for us, but its an important spot in this league that you cant just let guys go if they have potential there.

On if Keenum is a source of optimism and the depth on the roster

Having an experienced quarterback thats won football games is always huge. To me, outside of the quarterback, our depth is exciting. Again, its young, but we have a lot of guys that can play. Offensive line, we kept nine guys. We have eight guys that can probably start for us right now. Defensive backs, weve got five safeties. All five guys can play for us and all five corners can play for us. You dont worry about those guys going out there. I think the depth of this football team is really deep.

On keeping G/C Sam Jones instead of T Cyrus Kouandjio

Thats more about position. We have a couple guys as backups that are swing guys. Eli (G/T Elijah Wilkinson) is a swing guard and a swing tackle, so is [G/T] Billy Turner. Hes a swing guard and tackle. Thats rare to have two guys who can do that, so if you keep a Cyrus, now its three. We have two guys who can swing inside and out and we have two guys in Sam Jones and [G] Max Garcia who play center/guard. Its a perfect mix for us. Again, Im pleased with our backups at offensive line. Its a deep group and all nine guys can play for us.

On if WR Jordan Taylor can be ready to return midseason

Thats the hope. Thats weeks away, and things happen. Well see when we get to that point, but right now hes on PUP. Hes trying to get healthy. When he comes back, well see.

On if team speed was improved during the offseason and training camp

I think so. When you get younger, you get healthier and you get faster. A young team can work in practice to get better each day. When youre an older team, its tough to push those guys week out and week in because its a long season. When youre young team, you do get healthier and you get faster. Im pleased with our football and exciting times are coming.

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