Good morning, Broncos Country!
So we may have no idea who the starting quarterback is going to be for the season, but we do know who will be returning punts - rookie speedster Isaiah McKenzie.
Head coach Vance Joseph said after the scrimmage on Saturday that McKenzie - who had been noted early on in OTAs as a standout rookie, “won the job.”
The former Georgia Bulldog earned the starting rank thanks to not only his speed but his ability to catch the ball too.
“That’s what he’s been doing since he got here. …We’ve all seen guys that are really, really fast, but can’t catch the football. He can catch the football,” Joseph said. “I trust him to be our guy Week 1 against the Chargers. He’s the punt returner. That’s why he was drafted. He’s the first guy out.”
Seems simple enough for a player whose main position revolves around catching the ball, but a rock coming from 100 feet up in the air while 11 guys are gunning for you is not the easiest to catch.
And McKenzie was reminded of that the hard way when he muffed a punt earlier in training camp.
No matter. He stayed late that day to catch 50 more punts after practice.
“He is head strong. Nothing bothers him,” Joseph added. “He’s had some bad days and you can’t tell. He’s even as I’ve ever seen a rookie.”
During the scrimmage, “Little Crawfish” (as nicknamed by Von Miller) – busted out two long punt returns and caught a 10-yard pass from Trevor Siemian for the No. 2 offense.
Also -- Isaiah McKenzie is as quick and fast as expected. Going to be some fasten-your-seatbelts moments on punt returns with him.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 29, 2017
At Georgia, the “5-foot-nothin’, 100-and-nothin’” wide receiver caught 44 catches for 633 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. On special teams, McKenzie returned 59 punts for 692 yards with five touchdowns as well as 17 kickoffs for 375 yards with one touchdown.
McKenzie added on Monday that he’s looking forward to proving himself on Thursday.
“Just making big plays, making big plays on the offense and showing coaches I can make big plays on special teams, offense and everything like that,” he said. “Just doing my job.”
And if you’re wondering, McKenzie knows he’s small for an NFL player, but he has an answer for anyone who wants to point it out: “I can run though.”
He’s won over Miller.
“He's going to do a lot of good stuff for us this year,” Miller said. “So I'm proud of him.”
Mile High Report Hall of Fame
T.D. is in the Hall of Fame (hallelujah!) so it’s time to move our HOF along too!
We are almost on to Phase 2 of this massive undertaking (which is voting among the finalists for the winners), so if you haven’t had a chance to nominate and/or rec the previous nominations of any category, you have two more days before it will be time to vote!
Horse Tracks - docllv’s picks of the day
Jay Cutler drops Fox broadcasting gig for one-year deal with Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill injury - The Washington Post
Adam Gase can't say he doesn't know what he's getting in the QB who was a lightning rod for fans. He coached him in Chicago.
Fins Overlook Cutler's Sour Past While Kaepernick Can't Find Path to the Future | Bleacher Report
It is possible we just saw one of the smartest moves of the season in the Dolphins ' decision to sign Jay Cutler to a one-year deal...
Colin Kaepernick and Concussions Continue to Pose Problems for N.F.L. - The New York Times
Colin Kaepernick has been unable to find a new team after drawing attention last year for personal protests, and the latest evidence linking football and brain disease is a daunting report.
Horse Tracks - HOF
Terrell Davis should make you proud
Davis left plenty of reasons for fans to be impressed. The reasons to be proud are even more important.
Terrell Davis' children, father and Pat Bowlen highlight Hall of Fame speech
The proud legacy of Joe Davis was on the Pro Football Hall of Fame stage here Saturday night. Terrell Davis, who had four great years as a Denver Broncos’ running back from 1995-98, talked about his always tough, sometimes harsh father near the beginning of his 27-minute speech and to close.
Hall of Fame recap: L.T. inspires with American story - NFL.com
LaDainian Tomlinson and six other Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees inspired and entertained the crowd in Canton on Saturday night. Jeremy Bergman recaps the memorable evening.
Jason Taylor confesses in Hall of Fame speech he ‘stole a lot of money’ from Daniel Snyder - The Washington Post
The defensive end, who got an assist from Tom Brady en route to Canton, has a sense of humor.
Is 2018 the year for Broncos owner Pat Bowlen to be elected to the Hall of Fame? – The Denver Post
On Aug. 25, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s nine-member Contributors Committee will convene to select its 2018 finalist. Bowlen’s name is believed to be near the top of the list.
2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Busts | NFL.com
As the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 members are inducted, take a look at their Hall of Fame busts and the stunning resemblances they pose to their respective owners.
Menelik Watson: Building an offensive lineman | Mile High Sports
Standing next to the man, it’s hard to believe that Menelik Watson didn’t begin playing football (at least the American version) until college, but it does help provide an explanation why the 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive lineman has battled injury through the early parts of his NFL career.
Broncos Training Camp Day 9 Takeaways: Another step forward
The scrimmage was productive, but the Broncos are ready to hit another team ... and Isaiah McKenzie has earned the punt return job.
In huge battle for starting quarterback, Siemian and Lynch keep coming up small
You can put lipstick on a pig. But the pig still won’t fly. In the only competition at Broncos training camp that really matters, quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch keep coming up small.
Isaiah McKenzie will 'absolutely' be Denver Broncos' punt returner - AFC West- ESPN
Isaiah McKenzie won't just be the first punt returner tried out in the preseason. He's also earned the regular-season job, said coach Vance Joseph.
Broncos' Siemian shows consistency in scrimmage; Lynch fails to gain ground - Denver7 TheDenverChannel.com
Trevor Siemian posted third straight solid day as Paxton Lynch threw ugly interception in scrimmage.
Broncos starters T.J. Ward, Todd Davis deal with injuries - Denver7 TheDenverChannel.com
Safety T.J. Ward left Friday's practice with a hamstring injury.
Dolphins considered Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton before signing Jay Cutler | Broncos Wire Before signing Jay Cutler, the Miami Dolphins considered quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick, Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton for the 2017 NFL season.
Marshawn Lynch Is Making Presence Felt During Raiders’ Training Camp - The New York Times
After coming out of a one-year retirement, Lynch has already created an aura of excitement among fans.
Could Michael Vick be Plan B if Kansas City Chiefs lose QB Alex Smith? - AFC West- ESPN If an injury leaves the Chiefs desperate for a QB, coaching intern Michael Vick, 37, makes some sense as a veteran familiar with Andy Reid's scheme.
Falcons CB Jalen Collins suspended 10 games by NFL - NFL.com
Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins was suspended 10 games by the NFL on Sunday for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Philip Rivers on Chargers after scrimmage: A lot of work to do - AFC West- ESPN
Philip Rivers admits he saw issues that need attention during the scrimmage against the Rams but knows that the Chargers have time to work on them.
Donald Penn, Raiders in holding pattern over contract - NFL.com
Donald Penn and the Raiders continue to maintain their distance from one another. What's the status of Penn's holdout from camp in Oakland?
A healthy Mario Edwards Jr. is Oakland Raiders' X factor on defense - AFC West- ESPN
Mario Edwards Jr. practiced for the first time Thursday at Raiders camp, to resounding optimism about the boost the oft-injured D-lineman could bring.
Brock Osweiler to start Cleveland Browns preseason opener
"You want your starter to be able to do that despite any circumstance. Brock hasn't really gotten any first-team reps, and this will give him that chance. We look forward to seeing what he can do with this opportunity throughout the week and against the Saints." - Hue Jackson
How much improved is your confidence level in the Broncos return game now that they have Isaiah McKenzie fielding punts?
This poll is closed
Sooooo much improved
A little - I’m optimistic but not holding my breath
Negligible until I see it consistently improved in games