Greg Van Roten studied economics and marketing at one of the world’s finest business schools.
Yet he hasn’t exactly mastered the art of self-promotion grinding out an NFL career in the trenches for more than a decade.
“I just came in here knowing I had an opportunity to compete, and I feel good about the work I did,” he said matter-of-factly after Wednesday’s practice. “I’m happy with the camp we had, and now it’s just about getting ready for Week 1.”
That was in response to his feelings about winning an intense camp battle to unseat returning starter Alex Bars at right guard. However understated, Van Roten appears set to be the opening-game starter at age 33 in a career that has spanned seven NFL organizations and a Canadian Football League stint. The Penn alum has played in 93 NFL games, including 54 starts, and is now ready to continue his career in Las Vegas.
“I like what I see with Coach (Josh) McDaniels, (general manager Dave Ziegler) in the front office and the culture they’re trying to build here and the role they had for me,” Van Roten said. “They valued what I bring to a locker room and a team and an offensive line group. It just seemed like a good fit and a good opportunity for me to continue to play at a high level.”
It has been quite a ride for Van Roten, who had plenty of options with his advanced education but couldn’t imagine having taken a different route.
“I love this,” he said. “This is what I was made to do. Every year is a bonus at this point. Never thought I would play this long, undrafted out of the Ivy League. It’s just about enjoying every minute and seeing where it goes.”
All that has led to the Long Island, New York, native earning his way into the lineup after a battle with Bars. While there could be an adjustment period for Van Roten as the lone new starter on the offensive line, he believes that process has been eased as he comes over from Buffalo, where he made four starts and appeared in all 16 regular-season games for the Bills.
“Sometimes (there is a learning curve), but not here,” Van Roten said. “We have a good group. Good room, offensive linewise. I’ve been on a few teams now, and we’re all really kind of the same breed. It’s just about learning the language and getting comfortable playing with the guys on either side of you.”
Defensive end Chandler Jones did not practice Wednesday for what was listed as personal reasons.
Cornerback Brandon Facyson missed practice with a shin injury that has kept him out for several weeks. Wide receiver DeAndre Carter was limited with a knee injury.
For the Broncos, tight end Greg Dulcich missed practice for personal reasons. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (hamstring), tight end Chris Manhertz (chest) and cornerback Riley Moss (abdomen) were limited.
Jacobs provides boost
The return of running back Josh Jacobs last week after a lengthy absence because of a contract issue is expected to provide a major spark to the offense.
It also has provided a boost in the locker room.
“I’ve noticed (his presence) in my mood, in other guys’ moods,” wide receiver Davante Adams said. “Just having a key piece of your football team around, it’s going to naturally boost everybody’s mood, their willingness to come to work. Everybody’s been coming to work, and it’s been the same as it was last year, but it’s a little bit more fire when you get … a guy like Josh back who is a captain, a leader of this football team.”