Broncos football is back and day one of camp is in the books
Today we have Case Keenum looking like the missing piece this offense needed, rookie Phillip Lindsay having himself a day, Shane Ray looking healthy, first-round pick Bradley Chubb looking good already, news and notes, injury updates and more.
Note: This is just a collection of tweets and stories from camp with a hint of opinion and thoughts mixed in. I was not present at camp.
Case Keenum bringing that veteran poise the Broncos needed:
After spending the last two seasons dealing with inexperienced quarterbacks in a quarterback battle the past two seasons, the veteran Keenum is bringing some much needed veteran poise to the position.
The Broncos starting quarterback showed off his poise and confidence in today’s practice and Head Coach Vance Joseph commented on it after practice.
“He’s always been that way since college. He is going to push the ball down the field, he’s trying to make big plays and he’s not afraid to make a mistake. That’s part of growing as a quarterback. We will make some big plays for Case. That’s his M.O.”
Joseph continued to put an emphasis on how nice it is and beneficial it is to have a starter in place at quarterback once camp opens.
“He’s been great. That’s the beauty of having a starter in place. He feels comfortable in the leadership position, because he is the guy, so he can take the reins and help young guys, and help older guys also. That’s the beauty of having a guy in place as your starter.”
Keenum did all that and showed a nice connection with receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders throughout practice. He hit Sanders for a few plays today and hopefully this is something we see throughout the rest of camp and into the regular season.
Phillip Lindsay was the MVP of day one:
One player who had a bunch of hype heading into camp was undrafted rookie running back, Phillip Lindsay. The electric back lived up to that hype on the first day of camp and drew some big-time praise from Broncos players.
Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall who was smoked for a touchdown by the rookie during a play today said he would be the Broncos third-down running back because he was doing that good.
“People go undrafted all of the time. How does [CB] Chris [Harris Jr.] go undrafted? The guy has all of the moves. I noticed that in OTAs. He’s quick. I think he’s going to be our third-down back. No offense to the other guys. [RB] Devontae Booker is a good route runner as well, but I think they’ll want to mix both of them in.”
Lindsay lined up at running back, out wide, in the slot, and in motion during practice today. He also saw time as the Broncos punt returner as well. He flashed in all these areas today and made a very good impression on day one of Broncos Training Camp.
After a day like today, you may ask why Lindsay went undrafted, and Vance Joseph had similar thoughts when asked this very question.
Yes. It’s hard to believe he didn’t go to the [NFL] Combine. Obviously he’s a Buff, so I’ve watched Phillip for three years as a starter in a major conference. He was a great player. We were all surprised he didn’t go to the Combine, and obviously signing him as a free agent was tough because we drafted two backs. We pursued him heavy and he stayed home.”
Lindsay was considered the “MVP” of today’s practice and understand the excitement and hype around him, but I am remaining cautious. I’ve seen smaller but explosive guys like this have excellent starts to camp(Isaiah McKenzie and Ronnie Hillman) and disappear once the pads come on. So I am going to wait and see how he does once the pads come but the way he was used today shows that the Broncos have some plans for him.
Shane Ray healthy and looking good:
One big surprised we found out prior to camp was that outside linebacker Shane Ray did not need wrist surgery and would be healthy for the start of camp. So many eyes were on Ray once camp opened and by all accounts, the former first-round pick looked good.
Shane Ray is at 250 pounds. Heaviest of his career. Has “no limits” on field or in weight room, allowing him to bulk up.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 28, 2018
Ray told reporters that he is at 250lbs, has no limits on the field, and was able to bulk up this offseason. Remember, Ray struggled to keep weight and strength because of his wrist injury last season so its good to see him put on weight/bulk to his frame.
Ray told reporters he went to get a second opinion on his wrist and found out there were other avenues he could take that wouldn’t require surgery. He also indicated that he will be wearing a protective splint on his wrist going forward.
“I just went and got a second opinion, and there were other options other than getting surgery. I went with those options. We tried some things out. I got a splint made—a protective splint—and I was out here using it today and felt great. No pain, and I was just able to be me.”
Many have assumed that Ray rushed back because he feared falling behind Chubb, Barrett, and others at the outside linebacking group, but he said that was not the case.
“No. I’ve been in this league four years now. I know how the game goes. I know what I can do and my teammates know what I can do. It’s not like I was panicking or anything like that. This is an important year for me and it’s an important year for my team, and with the kind of guy that I am, I want to be out here helping my team as much as I can. I’m here.”
Ray is full go, up to 250lbs, apparently tossed around Bolles today with one hand, and is motivated to have a good season. His situation will still be an interesting one to watch moving forward.
Bradley Chubb showing why he was the fifth-overall pick:
The Broncos first-round pick, linebacker Bradley Chubb enters camp with some high expectations placed on his shoulder, and the rookie lived up to them during day one of Broncos camp.
During his first rep in a team drill, the Broncos pass rusher dropped into coverage and quarterback Paxton Lynch did not see the big guy and Chubb nearly came down with the interception.
Von Miller had some nice words to say about Chubb who figures to start opposite of Miller this season.
“I feel like he’s going to be great. Number five pick. I’ve already talked about how I feel about Chubb. I feel like the sky is the limit for him. He’s going to be a great player. Every single day he gets better and better. That’s all you can really ask of young guys, and that’s exactly what he’s out here doing.”
The Broncos got themselves a good one in Chubb and I am anxious to see what he can do on the football field. Especially that he is paired with Von Miller.
Running back battle is wide open:
The veteran of the group, running back Devontae Booker took the first reps with the first team but rookies Royce Freeman, David Williams, and Phillip Lindsay all had reps with the first team. Second-year back De’Angelo Henderson also got some reps there as well. So this battle is wide open.
Booker will get the first look at the position but these rookies will push him hard for playing time. Freeman’s size stands out and his burst is noticeable. Phillip Lindsay was the MVP of the day according to most onlookers, DenverBroncos.com’s Andrew Mason raved a bit about David Williams and his powerful play and De’Angelo Henderson has always looked good so it will be fun.
When the pads come on, we will see a few of these players separate themselves from each other.
Vance Joseph was asked what he wants to see from these backs going forward and what they need to do to separate themselves.
“Right now, we’re looking for guys just to compete. We’ve got five or six guys that are competing, and they’re all different. It’s fun to watch how [Running Backs Coach] Curtis [Modkins] is using them in practice, and how [Offensive Coordinator] “Billy” (Bill) Musgrave uses those guys within his schemes. It’s a young group, but I like that. I like that because it’s healthy, it’s open-minded and they’re hungry to prove they can play. I think sometimes we think being young at positions is an issue, but I think the biggest issue is being qualified. Those guys are qualified, so I’m not worried about those guys being young.”
This might be the most competitive battle to go on during camp. All these backs seem talented in their own right and should battle it out until right up to the regular season and likely throughout the season. I am anxious to see how they all perform once the pads come on.
News and notes:
- Will Parks not Su’a Cravens was the Broncos third safety today. I wouldn’t look too much into this as new guys are often behind the placeholders in the early portions of camp.
- As expected, punter Marquette King showed off his leg strength today and made some eye opening punts. He will be a weapon for the Broncos.
- Quarterback Paxton Lynch had a typical day. He made arguably the best throw of the day but struggled with inconsistency, batted passes, and an interception during team periods. He still is ahead of Chad Kelly in the pecking order, for now.
- Isaiah McKenzie and Phillip Lindsay returned punts today. There were no reported fumbles by either player.
- Speaking of McKenzie, the explosive returner/receiver had himself a much needed good day today. McKenzie took a reception to the house today and showed off his speed and explosiveness.
- Rookie tight end Troy Fumagalli and veteran offensive lineman Ron Leary and Jared Veldheer are practicing for the first time this offseason.
- Rookie linebacker Josey Jewell is dealing with a slight hamstring pull according to Head Coach Vance Joseph. It is considered a minor injury and it shouldn’t sideline the rookie for long.
- Wide receiver Kenny Bell was also seen on the side getting treatment from the trainers.
Tweets from practice:
Shane Ray suited up and ready to go pic.twitter.com/FdHfeW9txQ— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 28, 2018
Love this drill for the punt returners — asked to catch the ball (or decide to let it bounce) with 5 coverage players bearing tightly down as the ball arrives. Isaiah McKenzie and Phillip Lindsay getting the work on punt returns.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 28, 2018
Chubb has HOPS!! Almost came down with a high point INT on Paxton. @OrangeBlue760— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) July 28, 2018
Will Parks playing ahead of Su’a Cravens at dime backer. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) July 28, 2018
DeMarcus Walker getting runs with the first team on the defensive line. He really got his weight where it needs to be. He’s my under the radar guy to watch for this year on DL.— Cameron Parker (@CameronParkerPO) July 28, 2018
Paxton Lynch with a nice touch pass to Isaiah McKenzie who puts the burners on and takes it to the house. 50 yard TD.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 28, 2018
Marquette King is a jaw dropping punter.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 28, 2018
(Its early) https://t.co/NfHcG888tj
Emmanuel Sanders with back-to-back receptions from Case Keenum, one on a slant to the right, one on a deep ball to the left.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 28, 2018
Nice job by Lynch dropping it in to DaeSean Hamilton downfield past Tramaine Brock for a 25-yard connection.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 28, 2018
One play later, Lynch picked off — pass tipped at the line, intercepted by Shaq Barrett.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 28, 2018
Phillip Lindsay looks like a dynamic WEB back and returner UDFA addition for the #Broncos— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 28, 2018
Courtland’s route running actually looks really good right now.— Cameron Parker (@CameronParkerPO) July 28, 2018
Brandon Marshall caught defending Phillip Lindsay in coverage and Case Keenum exploits the match-up with a pass to Lindsay down the left sideline for the TD. Crowd loves it. #Broncos #TrainingCamp @OrangeBlue760— Anthony Rodriguez (@AnthonyRod33) July 28, 2018
Mark Chapman, River Cracraft, Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton putting in extra work. pic.twitter.com/K5MZj4cycq— Cameron Parker (@CameronParkerPO) July 28, 2018
Great to have Peyton Manning visit on Day 1 of Broncos camp at @UCHealth Training Center.— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) July 28, 2018
362 wins, 23 Pro Bowls, 6 MVPs and 4 Super Bowl victories as QBs between he and Broncos GM/President of Football Operations @johnelway. pic.twitter.com/Lfs3QOGZCA
Vance Joseph on whether he is optimistic about the secondary.
“It’s a good group. You said it, that’s my background and I’ve had secondaries where it wasn’t name brands, but they played really well together. That’s what it’s about in the back end. It’s no different than offensive line. You take four or five guys that will do it right, will be in great position and will not give up big plays. That’s what it takes. You watch the good teams last year—some of your top four or five teams—you couldn’t name four or five of their guys in the secondary, but they played well together. That’s what it’s about in the secondary. O-Line and secondary are very similar—guys doing it right and playing together—so I’m very comfortable with our secondary right now.”
Quarterback Case Keenum on his first Training Camp practice with the Broncos.
“I felt great. I felt awesome. You guys saw those fans, they’re crazy. This is fun. I’ve been here before, we practiced against the Broncos at training camp when I was with the Texans. But it was nice to get the reception that we got today from those guys. I really appreciate all of those guys coming out and we got some good work in. It was a good day, there’s some stuff that I definitely want to clean up, go look at some good film, but I thought it was a good first day.”
Von Miller on how much time he spends in the defensive line room with Bill Kollar.
“About 25% of the time. I’m 25% over there with the D-Line and I think it’s good that way. I spend most of the game rushing with [DE Derek] Wolfe, so why wouldn’t I spend my time in classroom sitting next to Wolfe talking over games and schemes and stuff? We have a different format in terms of coaching. Everything is great. I like it.”