clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Horse Tracks: Denver Broncos rookie minicamp comes to a close

New, comments

Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips shares his thoughts on what he saw from the Broncos 2016 rookie class.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos held their final practice of rookie minicamp on Saturday. It is now time for them to join the rest of the team in organized activities in the coming weeks. With Paxton Lynch excused from practice on Saturday to attend his graduation ceremony, this one was all about the defense.

Broncos Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips shared his thoughts on this draft class saying, "We just started those guys. Obviously Adam [Gotsis] isn’t working out yet. He’s rehabbing, but he’s in all of the meetings. He seems very bright. Of course, we liked him and obviously they wouldn’t have picked him if we didn’t like him. We think he’s got good potential. The two safeties (Justin Simmons and Will Parks) are good-looking prospects. Both of them are very athletic and have great ball skills from what we’ve seen so far. We saw them on film and obviously we liked the way they played."

The two safeties figure to have prominent roles in the rotation and on special teams, but they will likely need a year before they start pushing any veterans for starting roles on this defense.

"I think both of them are versatile," Phillips said of Simmons and Parks. "Both of them can play free or strong safety. Both of them are good tacklers. But they’re also good cover guys. That’s kind of what we like as a safety. We don’t go towards the box safety that much where you can only play inside and you put him covering somebody. The way we pick safeties, basically guys that are versatile. Those two guys are versatile, so that’s why they were picked."

The big question for Phillips is how he'll replace Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan. He is apparently quite satisfied with Todd Davis and Corey Nelson to replace Trevathan, which could explain why the Broncos did not target the position in the draft.

"We lost two guys—two out of 11, really 12 if you count [Bradley] Roby since he started most of the season," Phillips said. "Then in our dime defense we really lost one guy—one starter in Malik [Jackson]—because [Brandon] Marshall started in dime for us. We play dime 40 percent of the time. In our base defense we lost two and in the other one we lost one. We feel good about the guys we have. We have some prospects to take some of the guys’ places. Danny played really well and had a great year for us, but Todd [Davis] and Corey [Nelson] played last year when Danny was out. The same thing happened when [David] Bruton [Jr.] was out last year. He didn’t even play in the Super Bowl. We feel good about our team. We feel good about our players."

I loved that Phillips explained how the Broncos lost more like one and a half starters, since they played a significant portion of their dime package, which Trevathan was not part of. For Jackson, the Broncos feel comfortable with Vance Walker and Jared Crick handling that role.

"Vance Walker played really well for us last year. He played a lot. I think he’s a really good player," Phillips said. "Of course, we brought Jared Crick in. [A guy] that we had in Houston. He’s a very good player also. We have two veteran guys that can play. We feel good about that."

For 2016, Phillips is looking to push this defense to improve on third down efficiency. After witnessing what this defense did on third down through the playoffs, Phillips is hoping to see them achieve more consistency at that elite level through the regular season.

"Besides coaching, we played well on third down throughout the year and were in the top 10, but in the playoffs they were 16 percent, the three teams we played in the playoffs. If we up our level on third downs—not that you’re going to have 16 percent, but we played tremendously well on third downs in the playoffs—that’s an area we’re going to try to emulate as much as we can going into this year."

Who else can't wait for training camp to get here?

Horse Tracks

Devontae Booker, Adam Gotsis, special-teams changes and more |
Eight takeaways from the second day of rookie minicamp, which saw the Broncos' coordinators provide status reports.

Sundays with Sacco: The legacy of Dr. Floyd Little |
It's not Floyd Little's football career that should be considered his lasting legacy.

Will Mose Frazier be the UFDA to make the Broncos' roster? - Denver Post
Paxton Lynch and his favorite target reunited in Denver, but the Broncos have 11 receivers under contract.

Undrafted Broncos with a shot |
One of the most underrated defensive tackles in the past 10 NFL seasons has been Domata Peko of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Booker it: Broncos have an exciting new running back |
These Denver Broncos have a lot going on. Start with the obvious: They are the NFL’s only defending Super Bowl champions.

With knee on mend, Devontae Booker takes field for Broncos | Salt Lake Tribune
Devontae Booker is strolling along these days — first across a stage to receive his diploma, and now on a football field at reduced speed with his knee still healing.

No Joke: The cast of Super Troopers 2 breaks down Paxton Lynch
Kevin Heffernan doesn’t want a "large Farva." Fans of his hit comedy "Super Troopers" know that Heffernan’s character, Rod Farva, wants "a liter of cola."

The Broncos believe Paxton Lynch has the ability to shock the world
After just one day of rookie mini camps, the quarterback situation is already getting interesting. Even though Mark Sanchez has been given a vote of confidence from management, it may be very difficult for Elway and Kubiak to hold their prized first-round quarterback off of the field.

Conhecendo Brandian Ross - Mile High Brasil
Olá, leitores e torcedores do Denver Broncos, mais um jogador chegando no Colorado, e é claro que não podemos deixar de apresentá-lo a vocês.

Here’s why it’s so much easier for NFL teams to sign their rookies -
Getting rookies signed to contracts is much, much easier now than it used to be.

Ranking the NFL’s best quarterback-receiver tandems of the last decade -
Marques Colston and Drew Brees racked up nearly 10,000 yards in 10 years together, but there are 17 other tandems who combined for more than 5,000 yards.

Police take DNA, blood samples from former cop in Will Smith murder case -
Detectives from the New Orleans Police Department took DNA samples from former police captain Billy Ceravolo, a friend of Will Smith who had dinner with the former Saints player before he was shot last month, his attorney confirmed to SB Nation. Police also collected a yellow shirt worn by Ceravolo the night of the incident that had blood on it.