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Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 3 news and notes

Everything noteworthy from day 3 of Broncos camp.

Casey Barrett - Mile High Report

Day 3 of Broncos camp is now in the books and they spent a good portion of the practice in goal-line drills so there were not as many updates like most days. What we do have is an injury update on tackle Garett Bolles and linebacker Brandon Marshall, punter Marquette King absolutely booming punts, River Cracraft being a sleeper, full pads going on tomorrow, news and notes, and more injury updates.

Note: I was not present at camp and this is simply just a roundup of tweets and stories coming from Broncos camp.

Garett Bolles and Brandon Marshall injury updates:

The Broncos had a few injury scares today, but thankfully neither seems like a long-term issue. The most severe and notable injury came to starting left tackle, Garett Bolles.

This occurred during a red zone drill when Bolles took a shot to the chin and remained on the ground for a bit. The cart came out for Bolles which is always an ominous sign, but he was able to walk to the cart and from the cart to the locker room. It was later revealed that Bolles is being evaluated for a concussion. Now, this is never “good news” but he did avoid one of those dreaded Training Camp ACL or major knee injuries that knock him out for the year.

While Bolles was sidelined, veteran Cyrus Kouandjio took over for him at left tackle and here is what Head Coach Vance Joseph had to say about him after practice.

“He’s had a good offseason. He came in in great shape. He’s a big man, but he came in in great shape. He’s been healthy. He’s been an NFL starter in this league, so we’ll see where he lands. Again, we’ve got major competition at every position, so he fits in that category.”

The other injury was to starting inside linebacker, Brandon Marshall. He was seen walking to the locker room during practice under his own power. It was later revealed that he was dealing with a minor wrist injury.

It is only a minor wrist injury so it shouldn’t sideline him long, but this ends up being a missed opportunity for rookie linebacker, Josey Jewell. He is still dealing with a pesky hamstring injury and has not been able to put in a practice yet. He would likely get these reps in place on Marshall, but he is sidelined. Look for Zaire Anderson to step up and get first-team reps for however long Marshall is sidelined.

Punter Marquette King booming punts:

This signing, outside of Case Keenum of course, may be the most impactful addition to the Broncos roster. That signing being former Oakland Raiders punter, Marquette King who has been booming punts all over the field.

One notable punt that was noted by Orange and Blue 760’s Andrew Mason was a 69-yard punt by King that went out of bounds at the 6-yard line.

King is known for being the best punter in the league already and pair that with the mile high air and these footballs will be traveling and traveling far. He will help the Broncos win the all-important field position and put out dominant in much better position than they were in last season.

Don’t sleep on wide receiver River Cracraft:

The final spots at the Broncos wide receiving position is an open competition and it is beginning to look like a deep competition. One name fans shouldn’t sleep on is the crafty slot receiver, River Cracraft.

Vance Joseph was asked about Cracraft after practice today and he used the word consistent when talking about him. That is a good trait to have when you’re fighting for a roster spot.

“[He’s] consistent. He’s in that punt return mix. He’s a great route-runner, he has great ball skills and he’s a good guy on [special] teams. He has a chance. He’s competing.”

Cracraft is competing for those final wide receiving spots and like I said earlier, he would be a crafty slot receiving weapon for the Broncos. However, he is also looking to contribute in the return game. I still do believe Isaiah McKenzie is the favorite for the job, but he is on a short leash. If those fumbling concerns creep up again, look for Cracraft to benefit from that. McKenzie has been having a solid camp thus far so hopefully, it doesn’t come to that but the Broncos have a replacement ready if it does indeed happen.

Pads go on tomorrow!:

The Broncos spent the first two days of camp in shorts and no pads and wore shells today, but have yet to put on a fully padded practice. That changes tomorrow as the Broncos will be fully padded from Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s practice.

Today’s day in shells was a good preparation for full pads and Vance Joseph was asked how this day in shells would prepare them for tomorrow.

“It’s no different. The game is played with the helmet and the shoulder pads. The bottoms are for... thigh injuries and knee injuries, but it’s no different. We’re going to still be smart with not taking guys to the ground, but still being physical. It won’t change much tomorrow. You’ll see everyone in pants tomorrow obviously with their pads and their pants. Anytime we’re full pads, it’s like gameday. Every pad’s on, mouth guard, chin straps buckled, so it’ll look different as far as what they’re wearing, but the practice shouldn’t look that much different as far as the physical part of it.”

Football is played in pads and the intensity and physicality levels rise when the pads come on. This separates the pretenders and contenders on the roster. Vance Joseph was asked what kind of growth he would like to see from his players after these two padded practices. Here is what the Broncos Head Coach had to say in response to that question.

“Absolutely, it’s a grind. That’s a major part of being an NFL player. Some guys can’t handle the grind. As camp moves on and you put pads on more often, it gets physical and guys get sore, some guys make their move. A guy with less ability may have the mental capacity to make it through the soreness and tough days, and makes his move. A guy with talent who doesn’t have that, he moves down the depth chart. Absolutely, it’s going to change four or five times because of the grind and the pads being on. It’s football, it’s tough.”

The trenches and the running back position are two areas where pads really show who has it and who doesn’t. We have seen the Ronnie Hillman’s of the world excel on non-padded days but struggle once the pads come on. Who can deal with the contact and who can pass protect should help separate the running back position some in the following days.

An update on Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly:

The backup quarterback battle has begun and will continue through camp. Right now, Lynch has been the second man up for most if not all of practice, but Kelly has been opening some eyes.

First, Joseph commented on Lynch and noted improvements in his footwork and progressions which have been an area of concern for Lynch during his NFL career.

“I think Paxton is doing a good job with his footwork. He did a good job Day 2 of going through progressions and finding the third and fourth guy in the progression. That’s improvement for Paxton, obviously. He’s completing the football, that’s key.”

If Lynch continues these improvements, it would really help remove the bust label that has been fairly or unfairly placed on him.

As for Kelly, there has been a lot of fan hype about him and Vance Joseph may have just dumped some fuel on that fire. He called the Broncos quarterbacked a “playmaker” after practice today.

“Chad is different. He’s a playmaker. If it’s a dirty play, he makes it look clean. That’s his strength. He’s just a playmaker, so if it looks really muddy, he comes out and makes a play. That’s what he does.”

I think this is an accurate statement about Kelly. If you watch his college tape, you see this often. He does make plays and he does turn nothing into something. He makes it look easy and clean as Vance said. Kelly is a fearless gunslinger who can make some crazy throws with plenty of zip on the ball.

That is Kelly’s game. The question is can he continue being an error-free gunslinger in the NFL and can he keep his nose clean off the field. He has done both so far and maybe putting heat on Lynch for the number two job.

I still believe the Broncos want Lynch to be their number two and hope it finally clicks for him and allows Kelly to develop some. He hasn’t played a snap of football in game action since October of 2016 so I am not sure that is the sort of inexperience they want for their number two quarterback.

We shall see how this goes and it will continue to play out throughout camp and into the preseason.

Injury Report:

News and notes:

Tweets from camp:


Vance Joseph on how much of the offense has been installed:

“I’m guessing probably about 35-40 percent. We’ve put everything in in the spring on both sides of the ball. Here’s why: in my opinion, the spring is for guys to stretch their minds. We give it all to them, even though it doesn’t look pretty sometimes, but at least they’ve heard it. That way in the fall, when you’re in Week 8 or 9, you’re not reinventing the wheel for players. You may not call those plays until Week 8, but at least they’ve heard them. If they’ve heard them, they can get them during the week. If they haven’t heard it, it creates anxiety for players, it makes them nervous and they don’t get it right. Our install is heavy, just because we want a big library so we can survive the season without reinventing the wheel in Week 8, 9 or 10.”

Safety Su’a Cravens on playing football after being away from it for so long:

“It feels good. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I know a lot of guys look at practice and are like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to practice today,’ but for me, it’s like, ‘I get to practice today.’ That’s what a year will do when you’re at home watching the game, so I’m grateful to be out here now.”

Linebacker Todd Davis on if the offense has a different feel to it:

“Absolutely. It’s a totally different feel. They have a different swag to them. They play with a lot more confidence, and that’s all coming from No. 4 (QB Case Keenum). I think he came in and he’s doing a great job with our guys. They really feel like he’s then man. When you have somebody behind you that you know is going to come in and do his job and do a great job, it really allows you to play hard.”

Todd Davis on tight end Jake Butt

“Man, he’s really good. He’s a great receiving tight end. He’s able to make people miss and get open. I think he’s really coming along, and I think he’s going to be exciting for us this year.”

Quarterback Chad Kelly on competition and chemistry between the quarterbacks

“That room is a special group. With us and [Quarterbacks] Coach [Mike] Sullivan and [Offensive Assistant/QB] Coach [Klint] Kubiak, it’s a very tight knit group. We push each other every single day, whether it’s throwing to the nets, whether it’s on the field, seven-on-seven or team, that’s what it’s about. As long as we can learn from one another and keep on taking one thing after another from another person, it’s only going to make us better.”

Tackle Jared Veldheer on going against Von Miller in practice:

“It gets you better. There’s something new that I’m trying to focus on almost every rep. It’s like…that really long par three in golf that’s really hard to hit the green. Kind of like that, except running at you. It might not make sense but until you’ve done that stuff maybe you’ll understand. But it’s awesome, it’s a great chance to be able to go against the best pass rusher in football every day. It makes me have to bring my best every day, and that only makes you better.”