was kind of like we’d get by them at will.”

Call it accurate foreshadowing. Denver allowed 52 sacks (third most in the league), started four different right tackles, two left guards, two right guards and rookie Garett Bolles, the NFL’s third-most-penalized offensive lineman, at left tackle.

Now, jump back to Sunday at UCHealth Training Center, the second afternoon of 2018 Broncos training camp, where Wolfe would only reflect on last season’s O-line misery to properly illustrate this season’s optimism.

“You’re not getting a clean win on one-on-ones,” Wolfe said. “You’re going to have to fight for it.”

Denver won’t suit up in full pads until Tuesday, and yet, the buzz surrounding OL play is already rising, thanks in large part to the healthy return of two players who sat out of organized team activities and minicamp with injuries: left guard Ron Leary (knee) and right tackle Jared Veldheer (foot).

Broncos coach Vance Joseph has limited Leary’s and Veldheer’s reps through the course of two camp practices to measure each player’s rehab and said, “You want to be smart and mix them in early, (but) not get those guys sore where they can’t work.”

Early returns are positive.

“It was definitely hard not being out there with the guys,” Leary said, “but I’m back out there, and I’m feeling good.”

Added Veldheer: “They’ve got a good plan in place, we’re adhering to it and making the best of every rep that we get. … I feel great.”

The Broncos signed Leary, 29, from Dallas to a four-year deal before the 2017 season, but he was placed on injured reserve (foot) after his 11th start for the Broncos, and then underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May. Denver traded with Arizona for Veldheer, 31, in the spring, and only now is he able to play after recovering from a cracked ankle in December.

Those two veteran offensive linemen have combined for 159 regular-season starts — Veldheer 101, Leary 58 — to stockpile wisdom now open for distribution to Broncos teammates

“It’s very nice having a vet next to me and knowing that he’s so consistent at what he does and crafts his game,” said Bolles, who is projected to start beside Leary. “It makes me feel more comfortable there so I can get my job done.”

However, without the benefit of OTAs and minicamp, the gelling process for Denver’s offensive line will be expedited with the preseason opener less than two weeks away (Aug. 11 vs. Minnesota). Matt Paradis gives the Broncos a steady hand at center, starting every game the past three seasons, but the team must also establish a new starting right guard. The contenders include Connor McGovern, Max Garcia and Menelik Watson.

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“I think by the end of training camp, you’re pretty cohesive,” Veldheer said. “It takes getting into the thick of it and those long days where you’ve got to lean on each other. That’s really when you get to find out about the group and when you form those bonds.”

Added Leary: “I think the biggest thing will just be a little communication that’s lacking. But I don’t think that will take a long time to get going at all.”

Across the Broncos’ line of scrimmage, defensive linemen such as Wolfe will continue their ball pursuit with reckless abandon. The difference compared to a real game, though, is the smile he gets after practice when that job gets a bit tougher. Iron strengthens iron.

“I think (with) their technique, they’re doing things I haven’t seen before, and that’s making us better, too,” Wolfe said. “I’m happy about it.”

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