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Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 4 news and notes

Which Broncos players stood out today once the pads came on?

Casey Barrett - Mile High Report

Day 4 of Broncos camp is now in the books and it was the first padded practice the 2018 Broncos put in this year. We have updates on rookie running back David Williams, Courtland coming up big and winning the day, big Tim Patrick making a name for himself, and finally, Lynch and Kelly are looking a bit underwhelming.

Running back David Williams stands out once the pads come on:

It seems like each day I’m writing about another running back standing out and today is no different. One name I heard mentioned throughout the day was 7th round rookie running back David Williams, or as Andrew Mason calls him Dave “Eric Dickerson” Williams.

The powerful back impressed today once the pads came on. As 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis notes above, Williams had a few red zone touchdowns today and this is his game. He’s not the fastest or quickest guy, but the guy will run you over.

Now with that said, Williams is not a “plodder” by any means. Head Coach Vance Joseph who said good things about all five backs noted that Williams has good feet.

“It’s practice, they’re all grinding away. They’re all showing great balance and that’s important with young backs to take contact and don’t fall to the ground. They’ve all shown that. No. 2 (Phillip Lindsay) has shown explosion, 37 (Royce Freeman) has shown his power and 36 (David Williams) has got great feet. De’Angelo [Henderson] has come back in great shape and he’s back to being explosive again. All five guys are being productive.”

It feels like this will be an ultra-competitive running back battle that will last until the final days of camp. It does feel like the starting job is between Booker and Freeman while Lindsay, Henderson, and Williams are fighting for the 3rd and 4th spot. I could see a scenario where all five make the team but Lindsay is considered a receiver/returner instead of a running back.

It’s going to be fun and will be one battle that will be fun to watch play out through the rest of camp and into the preseason.

Courtland Sutton with the game winner and continues to impress:

One name who continues to be mentioned after each practice is the rookie wide receiver, Courtland Sutton. Yes, he is still a bit raw and needs to work on his route running, but the big rookie is showing that he can contribute right away.

Sutton has routinely shown off his great hands and ability to win “50/50 balls”. During an interview with Orange and Blue 760, safety Justin Simmons said it is more 70/30 than 50/50 with him.

Head Coach Vance Joseph said he “hopes Sutton is over 50%” and that he will be an asset in the red zone.

“It could be. He’s a big body with great ball skills. He has strong hands, so even when the ball is contested, he can win. Obviously, you see what he can do. Hopefully he’s over 50 percent, that’s going to be huge for us, especially in the red zone.”

This skill was on display during the final team period in practice. It was the last play of the game and the offense was in the red zone. Keenum was pressured and threw up a ball to Sutton and then he high pointed the ball over rookie corner Isaac Yiadom for the touchdown, the game-winning touchdown.

Starting cornerback Bradley also raved about Sutton(and fellow rookie receiver Hamilton) when speaking to the media.

“I really like those guys. I have to give it to [President of Football Ops./GM] John [Elway] and everybody up top because those are great, great picks. At first it was like ‘Who are these guys?’ I didn’t really watch college football that much, but on that field their beasts. Especially ‘14’, Courtland, he’s getting up, snagging on guys every day. He’s a big guy, solid hands. DaeSean is good as well. Good routes, sneaky deceptive fast—the’yre great picks. They’re going to help us this year for sure.”

It looks like the Broncos have a good one here with Sutton and he is earning himself some playing time if this continues throughout the rest of camp and into the preseason.

Darkhorse wide receiver? Tim Patrick stands out today:

One receiver who stood out today was first-year wide receiver Tim Patrick, The 6’5” receiver was making plays and even earned some first-team work where he caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Case Keenum.

Joseph was asked about Patrick after practice today and he said they have been excited about him for a year now and he hopes that he continues to prove them right.

“He’s a grinder. He’s a big-body, so what you’re looking for backup receivers is guys you can put in the game, who can block, who can catch the ball in traffic and who can play special teams. He can do those things. We’ve been excited about him for a year now. It’s his chance to prove us right.”

Patrick will need to show he can contribute on special teams, be a reliable pass catcher, and run block consistently first, but he is making a strong case thus far.

Rookie John Diarse and slot receiver River Cracraft have also caught peoples attention so it figures to be a fun competition here going forward.

Quarterback’s Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly struggle:

There has been a lot of talk recently about the Broncos potentially going out and getting a veteran backup to starting quarterback Case Keenum. Today’s practice was just another example of why this conversation is beginning to happen.

Listen, with Lynch it is the same stuff. He makes some good throws but is not consistent. He gets his passes batted down a lot at the line of scrimmage and he is still apparently tucking and running after not finding his first read. You’re not, at least yet, seeing the growth you hoped to see from Lynch. Can you trust him to step in and take over for Case Keenum for an extended period of time if that were to happen? I don’t know if I can say yes.

As for Kelly, he has yet to live up to the fan hype. He threw an ugly interception during 7-on-7 drills today which is never good to see.

So should the Broncos be worried about their backup quarterback position? Well, Vance Joseph who is likely speaking for the Broncos Front Office here says no and that he is comfortable with them...right now.

“I am right now. Paxton is making a lot of strides. The thing for him, he’s got to stay on the field and he’s got to play. He hasn’t played enough to prove that he can or cannot, in my opinion. Once he plays enough and has success and has some failures, then we’ll decide if he can play or not. Right now, he needs to play.”

This sounds like we are going to get a heavy dose of Paxton Lynch this preseason. Vance is right, Lynch does need to play, but you’re still seeing the same bad habits creep up.

Vance also said they’re not taking stats or evaluating the quarterbacks right now because they’re just practicing. This statement again seems like it is coming from upstairs while Vance will take the heat for it.

“[They’re] very solid. It’s early, it’s practice, so no one is grading practice. We don’t look at it like you guys look at it. It’s just practice, so we have good plays, we have bad plays, and we fix the bad ones and high five the good ones. We’re not taking stats, we’re not grading guys right now, we’re just coaching. For us, we don’t see it that way. So, I can’t answer your question, because we don’t see it that way.”

It is still early, but it sounds like neither young quarterback is proving to be the consistent backup you look for. It is still early and we are only four practices in but we have all been through this song and dance the past two years.

I was skeptical at first, but thank god(Elway) for Case Keenum.

News and notes:

  • Linebacker Joe Jones took first-team reps in place of Brandon Marshall today.
  • Broncos locker room used to be split by offense and defense but now its mixed up. This is likely in response to the Offense vs. Defense mentality that existed post-Manning.
  • During Orange and Blue 760’s radio broadcast, Andrew Mason noted that tight end Austin Traylor has been receiving some fullback reps.
  • Mason also stated that running back Devontae Booker has stacked two solid days together in a row.
  • Running back De’Angelo Henderson told Orange and Blue 760 that the offense is “10x better” compared to last year which is obviously good news.

Injury report:

Tweets from camp:


Head Coach Vance Joseph on if quarterback Case Keenum is as good as they expected:

“He’s better, in my opinion, than what I saw on tape. Even talking to [Senior Personnel Advisor Gary] Kubiak this morning about Case—we had him in Houston—and how much he’s grown as a quarterback. His accuracy, his command, his smarts, his feel, he’s better now than he was last year, in opinion.”

Head Coach Vance Joseph on what he stressed to cornerback Bradley Roby this offseason:

“Just being disciplined and playing team football. I told Bradley, ‘I don’t want to judge you on how many plays you make, you’re judged on how many you give up.’ That’s what I want from our corners. If you’re in a good position, you’ll make enough plays, but don’t cheat. Don’t gamble to make plays, because that’s not what winning is about, that’s about you. He’s doing a good job playing within the scheme, playing good technique and not worrying about making every play, but just doing his job. That’s cornerback play in this league.”

Rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb on having so many talented pass rushers on the team:

“If you have a lot of rushers and a lot of good players that can get to the quarterback on the same field at the same time, I feel like it’s going to be chaos. I feel like that’s what they try and do, just cause chaos for the offenses and try to find a way to block different things.”

Guard Ronald Leary on helping tackle Garett Bolles:

“One of the things that was really lacking last year with Bolles was just communication. I think that’s something I can really help with a lot just because I’ve played the game so many long and there aren’t too many looks that I haven’t seen yet. So just being able to communicate with him, I’m glad that I’m finally out here so we can get more and more on the same page and get ready for Week 1. But he’s making improvement, he listens. He’s listening a lot more this year than he was last year and that’s a big improvement for him.”

Cornerback Bradley Roby on how Vance Joseph has evolved in year two:

“I think he has gotten better at everything, all around. That first year is always hard. I’ve had a lot of coaches in my career, so that first year is always trying to get to know the players, how to talk to certain players, how to run the team meetings, how to just do everything little thing. I think that it’s not one thing that I’ve seen so far. It’s just a total command. Everything is better.”

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on why he is having more fun this Training Camp:

“Last year, the past two years and I’m standing in front of guys like, ‘Who’s going to be the new quarterback? Oh my God guys this is crazy.’ Now it’s, ‘Hey how’s [QB] Case [Keenum] doing? Yeah what offense are we…?’ It’s more positive coming from you guys and coming from the locker room. Just knowing the direction we’re going to go. Staying after practice, getting the extra reps with the guy because I know he’s ‘the guy’ and I think that right there just translates positive energy and we feed off of that. We understand that. I’m out here having fun and he’s dropping some dimes. [Offensive Coordinator Bill] Musgrave is calling all the plays and he’s trying to spread the ball around. It smells like football. It doesn’t seem like it’s so hard. It’s easy and it’s fun.”