Adibi makes strides


Rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi, drafted in the fourth round, injured a hamstring on the first day of mini-camp and was forced to sit out the first two weeks of OTAs.

Initially, it pained Adibi to watch the team's six draft picks get extensive reps and develop chemistry with the veterans.

"It was very disappointing seeing all the guys out here and being on the sidelines watching, that was as pretty tough time for me," Adibi said.

But the Virginia Tech product learned how to use that time to his advantage. He dove into the playbook and began picking apart plays as they were unfolding on the field.

"I just got into the playbook and got into my mental reps while everyone has out here practicing," Adibi said. "I think I am catching up. I'm getting the playbook down, and now I'm catching up on the reps."

{QUOTE}Adibi's hamstring healed quickly and he returned to practice the last week of May. Linebackers coach Johnny Holland said the rookie's time in the classroom now is starting to pay off on the field.

"He's in a learning phase right now," Holland said. "There's a lot of stuff we are throwing at him. He had a setback with his hamstring earlier, but the guy is very detailed with learning and taking notes in the classroom. He asks great questions. I've seen some athletic ability out there and some instincts that I'm excited about. He brings some speed and quickness to our group."

Adibi has been playing the weak-side linebacker spot with the second team, but coaches think he has the potential to play both outside spots.

"I think he can play outside either way," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "We'll kind of lock him right now and try to get him comfortable with what he's doing, but he's been very impressive the three days he's been on the field."

It has helped Adibi that he ran similar defensive schemes at Virginia Tech, where he led the team with a career-high 115 tackles last season.

"He had run a lot of similar defenses and he's a very bright guy, which we like as a coach," Holland said. "He has no problem picking it up. He just needs to get reps and get after it and learn the details of the techniques we teach and the details of the defense.

"The main thing for rookies is learning the mental part of our defense and what we are trying to do and get the reps. He's learning every day. I would like to see him with pads on and see him make contact."

During OTAs, the players just wear shorts and no contact is allowed. Holland said was impressed by Adibi's physical play in college and is excited to see him tackle at the pro level. The coach would like to see Adibi improve his lower body strength, which he can work on now that his hamstring is 100 percent healthy.

Adibi realizes that he has the potential to contribute right away and it's just time to prove so much in practice.

"They have been saying that I have a lot of ability," Adibi said. "But like I have been saying, ability can only take you so far. You have to be in the playbook and you have to be able to do it on the field when everyone is moving."

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