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NFL Notes: Broncos, Panthers, Patriots

Broncos

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas believes he has a “couple good years” left in him, as his hip is no longer a nagging issue.

“I got longer than 30 [years],” Thomas said, via DenverBroncos.com. “I think I’ve got a couple good years [left]. Like I’ve been saying before, this is the best I’ve felt my whole career. I haven’t had the problems I usually have with my hip, because that was one of the things that held me back.

“I wake up now and I don’t feel it, and that’s a good sign, because usually I wake up in the morning and I’m like, ‘OK, my hip’s tight. I’ve got to loosen it up to get it going.’ But now it’s totally different.”

Panthers

Panthers HC Ron Rivera explained that their decision to use high draft picks on Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel was to help QB Cam Newton get the ball out quicker.

“We struggled last year with [protecting the quarterback and putting playmakers around him],” Rivera said. “The first one being able to protect him. Our left tackle Michael Oher gets hurt and we got to reshuffle our offensive line and move guys around. That wasn’t the best thing for us. We went out and made some moves in free agency to help sure-up the offensive line. Then we go out and feel like we have to continue to put playmakers around him. We went out and found a very versatile, explosive running back who had a tremendous college career, and hopefully that translates to the NFL, in Christian McCaffrey. We went out and got Curtis Samuel out of Ohio State, a very explosive vertical attack.

“That’s something we want to continue to do. And yes, there are some things we want to do in terms of getting the ball out of Cam’s hands and putting it the in hands of the playmakers. And those two young guys, they’re not going to be just the primary targets. We’ve got a tremendous slew of targets on our team, starting with Jonathan Stewart, and being able to run the ball. One thing we found in 2013, 2014 and 2015, we went around and looked at what we did running the football, and how much that translated to victories for us.

“Then we look at what our tight end can do. Greg Olsen, getting vertical and making plays for us. Finding the seams in the defenses. Then Kelvin Benjamin, with his size, and Devin Funchess. We’ve got what we feel like has the potential to be an explosive offense. And yes, a lot of the idea is to take the pressure off our quarterback, and take some of the hits off of him as well.

Patriots