Broncos LB Ayers working way out of doghouse

The discord that led Robert Ayers to dwell in his coach’s

doghouse appears to have diminished.

After mostly watching from the sideline the first two days of

minicamp due to a “coaching decision,” the Denver Broncos

linebacker was back in the mix on a gloomy Sunday, working

primarily with the second team.

For now, the discontentment has abated.

Not that Ayers or coach Josh McDaniels would elaborate on its

source.

“It was for a good reason,” Ayers said on his way to the

locker room after wrapping up practice. “End of the day, it will

make me a better player and better person.”

Whatever the disharmony may have been, McDaniels said he’s

already flipped the page.

“I commend him for the work he’s done and the way he’s

approached this entire offseason,” McDaniels said. “That’s

something I think that’s resolved itself and we’re all excited to

move forward with that. There are no other issues with it.”

Ayers was drafted with the 18th overall pick in 2009 to help

shore up a sagging pass rush. But it was a pretty uneventful

inaugural season for Ayers, the one bright spot coming when he

scooped up a fumble and raced 54 yards for a touchdown against

Pittsburgh on Nov. 9, a team record for a rookie.

Other than that, his stats were pretty bland – no sacks and 18

tackles in 15 games (just one start).

Not exactly the kind of numbers expected from a high pick.

With a season under his belt, though, Ayers is vowing changes in

2010.

“Physically, I feel better,” said Ayers, a standout at

Tennessee. “I know what to expect. I know what it’s going to be

like and I know my role. I have a better understanding of the

defense and I know what’s expected of me from the coaches and from

the other players on the team.”

Ayers will be competing for playing time with players such as

Jarvis Moss, another high first-round pick that hasn’t lived up to

expectations. Moss has just 3 1/2 career sacks since being taken

17th overall out of Florida in 2007.

“It’ll be interesting to see how that goes, but they know

they’re in a competitive situation,” McDaniels said. “I think

both of them improved because of that and we’ll let that play

out.”

For Moss, the challenge lies in learning how to keep up with

tight ends and tailbacks in the Broncos’ 3-4 defensive scheme. He’s

always been a relentless pass rusher, so dropping back into

coverage as a hybrid linebacker is a relatively foreign

concept.

So far, he’s relishing the role.

“I should have been doing this. This is what I was supposed to

have been doing when I came to the NFL,” said Moss, who’s trying

to add around eight more pounds to his 6-foot-7, 257-pound frame.

“If you put in the time and effort to understand stuff, when you

come out here on the field, everything slows downs and you can play

fast.”

That’s dawning on rookie quarterback Tim Tebow as well, who

finished up the three-day minicamp in fine fashion as he made some

nice plays, some good reads.

Still, Tebow had his share of misreads, too, and times when he

held onto the ball too long in the pocket. That’s something he’ll

work on fixing before training camp begins in late July.

“Obviously, I’ll be here working out, throwing and running and

a lot of mental work as well,” Tebow said.

Anything in particular he needs to address?

“It’s hard to pick one thing I need to work on the most. I

think it’s a lot of things,” Tebow said. “Overall, it’s seeing

the defense, knowing the offense and knowing the audibles, how you

want to do the protections, knowing the calls and then playing

fast.

“This past week I think I improved a lot in just playing faster

and what we’re trying to do, but I’ve still got a ways to go as far

as understanding and comprehending the overall goal of each concept

and each play.”