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Broncos new training camp schedule a big hit in the locker room

Punter Sam Martin: "It's the most chatter I’ve heard in my career – this is great the way the schedule is set up. It’s a happy, fun, competitive environment."

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Sometimes to find the pulse of the locker room, you’ve got to go to the kicker or punter.

Kickers and punters generally have more downtime to observe the comings and goings.

Jason Elam, the best placekicker in Denver Broncos’ history, always had great insight on the state of the team. Brandon McManus, arguably the second-best placekicker in Broncos’ history, is the team’s union player rep.

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Sam Martin is a 10-year punter who is going into his third season with the Broncos. His first seven years were with the moribund Detroit Lions where he worked with Matt Prater, another great Broncos’ kicker.

Martin is a proponent of head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s training camp schedule that has been much discussed by local football observers. There are no 7-on-7 periods, no 1-on-1 periods and every third day is a jog-through day. Martin says to a man, the Broncos’ 90-man roster is pleased with the set up.

“It’s been great,’’ Martin said. “Camp has been a lot of fun, a lot of energy. Guys are flying around, guys are happy to be here, guys love the schedule. It’s been a real nice camp. Guys are working really hard.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos punter Sam Martin punts against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

“Hackett’s been awesome with the schedule. Hard day, shell day, relax day. Probably the most chatter I’ve heard in my career – this is great the way the schedule is set up. It’s a happy environment. It’s a happy, fun, competitive environment. It’s been a really good camp.”

Whatever competition Martin was feeling from fellow punter Corliss Waitman was no contest Thursday. Martin consistently delivered high boomers near the sidelines while Waitman, a lefty who had two nice games with the Steelers last year, only got two or three reps and shanked one of them. Martin is 32 and some NFL punters kick around till they approach 40.

“That’d be nice,’’ said Martin, whose 42.8-yard net average last season set a new Broncos’ record. “As long as I’m still at the top, I’ll keep going. You hear that from a lot of guys. As soon as I start to see my play deteriorating, but now, the way it’s going, 40 would be nice.”

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