ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -– Jarryd Hayne has heard it so many times since signing in March from those who want to help him achieve his goal of playing in the NFL.
And during two practices with the Denver Broncos, the former Australia National Rugby League star heard it from the opposition, too. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Hayne makes a big target for opposing defensive players. Hayne knows he must do a better job of keeping his pad level low.
After a play in which Hayne broke into the secondary and came upon a Broncos defensive back, Hayne said, “He was telling me, 'Get low, 38.’ It's good advice from the boys. I appreciate that."
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Hayne’s practice on Thursday consisted of four inside running plays and pass receptions from quarterbacks Dylan Thompson and Blaine Gabbert.
Coach Jim Tomsula said Hayne is learning to adapt to the style in American football in which running backs square their shoulders to the line of scrimmage to get upfield –- instead of going in at an angle.
“That’s what you do in rugby,” Tomsula said. “You dip the shoulder and you roll through.
“There are plays where we need to put the foot in the ground and get vertical. And he’s getting that. You see it. But he hasn’t done that all his life. So it’s a work in progress. But I don’t want to understate the fact that he’s doing a really nice job.”
Hayne also made an impression on Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who got an up-close look at him during the two practices.
“He’s a big guy, I know that,” Kubiak said. “I’ll tell you, their backs in general, I know for us linebacker-wise, we had a tough time covering them yesterday (Wednesday). He’s a good-looking player. In this league everybody is always looking for those type of guys if they can turn into good football players. It sure looks like they’re headed in the right direction with that one.”