Day 11 of Denver Broncos training camp was different than the previous 10 as much of practice was dedicated to team drills as they prepare to face the Chicago Bears on Thursday in their first preseason game of 2017.
Vance Joseph lays out the plan for the quarterbacks
The starters will get two to three series in this first game according to head coach Vance Joseph, “We’re going to play those guys probably, max, three series. It depends on how it goes. We could go out there and have a dominant series, they may play one. If we have a so-so series the first and a better series in the second series, they may only play two. But, three max for the first week.”
From there he alluded to the fact that both Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian will get a quarter to a quarter and a half of work, with an emphasis of getting them a solid 15-16 plays in this game each so he can evaluate them each on that merit.
“We’re going to play those guys, the quarterbacks, probably a quarter or a quarter and a half, max,” Joseph said. “Each get a quarter and a half—no more than a quarter and a half—probably a quarter. It depends on how the game is going. The average plays per quarters in preseason are 15-16 plays. We want to get those guys probably a little bit more than that so we can have a fair evaluation there. But max, a quarter and a half.”
Something that interested us personally was how Joseph described what the intent of the preseason game is compared to a regular season game. In the regular season, the scheme comes heavily into play, while in the preseason it is more about letting the players play. Who can beat their man at an individual level.
“My opinion on that is this: preseason games, I want to give them enough to play well,” Joseph said of game-planning a preseason game. “I don’t want to surprise players. But, I don’t want to [rest] them a scheme either. I want to see on offense who can block, who can catch the ball and who can run with the ball. On defense, who can get off blocks, who can rush and who can cover. I’m not going to rescue guys with scheme. But, I will give them enough to play well. It’s a difference between putting players out there and not having them ready to play versus helping them with scheme. That’s going to happen against Green Bay Week 3. That’s our assimilated game week.”
This approach seems very tailored towards accurate player evaluation leading up to the real dress rehearsal in Week 3 of the preseason.
Quarterbacks speak to the media
Paxton Lynch is, by most accounts, slightly behind Siemian to win the quarterback job. He’ll need to flash some of those big play abilities in these next two games to come out on top. And he knows that.
“The big thing for me is just moving the ball up and down the field when I’m in,” Lynch said on what he hopes to accomplish on Thursday, “executing the plays and not just worrying about myself doing good but as an offense, working good as a group.”
Lynch seems to understand what the goal of the offense this year is - and that is scoring points.
“Obviously we want to score points, give that defense a rest whenever they get off the field and be able to move the ball up and down the field,” Lynch said of what this offense’s identity should be. “I think when you have a good offense it benefits the whole team. You’re not going three and out, the defense is running back out there and you put a lot of pressure on them. I think the big thing is just sustaining drives and being efficient.”
The path to the starting job is quite clear for Lynch. The question that still remains is whether or not he’ll play consistently enough to get there. It really is his job to lose and so far, he is losing it.
After a slow start to training camp, Siemian has rebounded and found his consistency as a strength in practice after practice. He hasn’t won ever practice, but he was right there steady every day.
“I can’t tell exactly when, but probably a week or so I just kind of felt a little more comfortable and things were clicking for me,” Siemian said of his confidence level in camp. “I got a big picture thought of how we were trying to attack scheme and defenses. I’ve just felt comfortably probably that last week getting going and also getting a feel for all of the guys. First or second group, it doesn’t matter. It’s just getting the feel for how guys run and what they do well. I think we’re all in a good spot right now.”
The pressure may have gotten to Siemian early on, but that seems to be a distant thought in his mind.
“I don’t think so,” Siemian said of whether he felt more pressure this year. “Shoot, they haven’t fired me yet (laughing). That’s how I think of it. I’m alright.”
It helps both quarterbacks that they have faced the No Fly Zone every day and Siemian understands this very well.
“There’s been some really good things,” Siemian said. “Again, I think I’ve said we’ve had a really competitive camp and we’re fortunate to go against our defense. Because golly, it’s a pain in the butt throwing against [CB] Chris [Harris Jr.], [CB Aqib] Talib and all those guys all of the time. I think we’re in a really good place.”
Golly is right. That’s a pretty good secondary they have in Denver.
Cody Latimer a lock?:
Cody Latimer's special teams ability makes him a virtual lock. #Broncos source tells me Cody is the best gunner in NFL @1043TheFan— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) August 8, 2017
- T.J. Ward missed another practice with a hamstring injury. He will not play Thursday night against the Bears.
- Linebacker Todd Davis missed practice once again with a shoulder injury.
- Running back Bernard Pierce continues to miss time with a hamstring injury
- Dontrell Nelson missed practice as well.
Tweets from practice:
Carlos Henderson gets warmed up. pic.twitter.com/G0W3SIPbE7— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 8, 2017
Emergency field goal drills with Billy Winn subbing in as long snapper, Riley Dixon as kicker and Trevor Siemian at holder. #BroncosCamp— Henry Chisholm (@HenryChisholm) August 8, 2017
Punter Riley Dixon getting some kicks in as emergency kicker @DenverChannel— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) August 8, 2017
Stevan Ridley getting some 1st team work. #Broncos @1043TheFan— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) August 8, 2017
Major difference in #Broncos practice today: Offense vs. scout team D. Typically it's been 1 O v. 1 D— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 8, 2017
Allen Barbre & Adam Gotsis have to be separated after a little extracurricular activity following a 1-on-1 drill.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 8, 2017
Now another kerfuffle. Watson and Wolfe among those getting into it.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 8, 2017
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch both started 7-on-7 with two completions and ended with an incompletion— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 8, 2017
AJ Derby with 2 nice TD grabs. 1 from Trevor. 1 from Paxton. #Broncos @1043TheFan— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) August 8, 2017
Cody Latimer skies for a TD from Paxton. #Broncos @1043TheFan - amazing body control.— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) August 8, 2017
Paxton with the twos against the scout team: Completed three in a row including a 20 yarder to Derby and a TD to Latimer.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 8, 2017
Trevor Siemian red zone series:TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders middle of field. TD pass to A.J. Derby left corner over Lorenzo Doss— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 8, 2017
Nice adjustment by Carlos Henderson to catch a TD pass in the right side of the end zone from Sloter.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 8, 2017
QBs generally on point in this red-zone period. Siemian, Lynch and Sloter have all dropped in TDs.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 8, 2017
Move. # #JujuAndJano@AndyJanovich @JuwanJuju23 #Broncos #BroncosCamp #BroncosCountry #BroncosEurope pic.twitter.com/iKtHOdVDvc— Ryan Greene (@RGreene5280) August 8, 2017
Working on third downs against the scout team:— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 8, 2017
Trevor converted three in a row.
Paxton converted his first two and threw incomplete on two.
Kyle Sloter with the pass of the day so far:40-yard dime to Hunter Sharp over tight coverage from Brendan Langley. Perfect over the shoulder— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 8, 2017
Two interceptions by Dymonte' Thomas off Kyle Sloter today. One was on a tip drill that skipped off the hands of MarlonBrown.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 8, 2017
McCoy: "We're all very pleased with where Conor McGovern is. Wherever we put him he does an outstanding job."— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 8, 2017
McCoy: "As young QBs in the league, they are all getting better every day. We have thrown so much at them."— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 8, 2017
Vance Joseph on using a scout team before the first preseason game
“It’s new for me being a head coach, but my thought process is this: we’ve had great training camp practices. If you want the guys to play their best on Thursday, you can’t put them out there without having a game plan, some sort of game plan. I want to give them a chance to play well. I’ve been around coaches who, the first game in preseason, they went training camp up until the day before. When you give the guys one day to prepare, I don’t believe in that. I want to give them a chance to play their best football. Having a chance to see Chicago schemes two days (before) would help the guys play better. It would give them a chance to put their best foot forward, and not let guys go out there and be surprised by something they’ve never seen and not play well. In my opinion, it’s fair for the players to dive into it a day before to give them the chance to play well.”
Mike McCoy on the balance of testing guys but not showing too much of the offense in the preseason
“There’s a fine line there. There’s certain things every team in this league are not going to show until the opener. You go in there and the big thing, we’re always going to talk is, it’s about us. We have to go out there and do our jobs regardless. We put a plan in and it’s the first preseason game and you never know what that other opponents going to do either. We see so many great looks against our defense on a daily basis that we’re prepared for this and we’re going to rotate a lot of players and put players in a position to be successful and just go out and play—just go cut it loose, that’s the exciting thing. The first year—we haven’t been together yet—a couple of the guys, [WR Demaryius Thomas] D.T. and [TE Virgil Green] Virg, they were here last time with me. Everybody else is new. I don’t know how everyone is going to be, the coaching staff as a team, it’s always different on game day. We’re going to learn a lot about our football team and we’re excited for it.”
Joe Woods on improving the run defense
“The run defense looks like it’s improved so far. Now again, we’re not in pads. When you’re not in pads and it’s not live it’s a little bit different where the offense can’t cut you. The biggest thing when we look back is how we were coaching it, how the players were executing it and what change ups we need to add to make it a little bit better. So far the things that we’ve done, the way that the players are playing right now, they look solid.”