Day 12 of Broncos camp is in the books and we officially have a new number two quarterback. Also, we have Joseph unofficially naming Royce Freeman the starting running back, tight end Jeff Heuerman having a much needed good practice, joint practices with the Bears beginning tomorrow, injury updates and more!
Chad Kelly officially the number two quarterback:
It was reported yesterday that Chad Kelly has moved past Paxton Lynch on the depth chart and is listed as the number two quarterback. Well, that became official today when the Broncos released an updated depth chart with Kelly listed as the number two and Lynch listed as the number three.
I was just handed the Broncos depth chart. Former first round pick Paxton Lynch listed as third string QB. Chad Kelly currently second string behind Case Keenum.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) August 14, 2018
Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway spoke to 103.5 The Fox earlier today and said Kelly deserved the promotion to number two quarterback.
“Chad deserved it. He played better the other night. That’s what we came into camp to see. Now we switch roles. The guys Chad will play against now will be better players so we will see how it goes Saturday. But it’s only fair they both get opportunities with the second team.”
Now Kelly’s promotion to the number two slot doesn’t rule out a veteran being added to the mix before the start of the regular season. Elway stated that they need to know if Kelly can come in for relief of Keenum if anything were to happen and still run the offense effectively. He says they’re going through that evaluation right now but wouldn’t rule out a veteran being added to the mix.
“As we talked about it, we have to have confidence that the backup can play and win football games. That is the key. Even though Chad played well, if something were to happen to Case, could he come in and win football games? That evaluation is still going on,” Elway said. “I am not saying we are going to do something, but I am not saying we are going to stand pat, either.”
I get the Kelly hype right now and he has earned it, but rolling with an inexperienced backup behind Keenum is very risky. Kelly has to show he can hang against some NFL talent and play effectively. Let’s face it, the third stringers he played against Saturday Night are unlikely to make their roster. Having a veteran in place behind Keenum and let Kelly serve as the number three and continue to develop for a year seems like the way to go.
For now at least
As for how Kelly performed today, he made at least one impressive throw to rookie wide receiver Courtland Sutton(shocker) who was being covered by cornerback, Bradley Roby.
Chad Kelly with an absolute dime to Courtland Sutton who was blanketed by Bradley Roby but still hauled it in for a 40-yard gain.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 14, 2018
If Kelly keeps this type of play up, he may lock himself in as the Broncos number two quarterback. I am still willing to bet they add a veteran, but we shall see how it plays out.
As for how Paxton Lynch took the demotion news? Head Coach Vance Joseph said that he was upset obviously, and wanted to know why it happened.
“He is upset and he didn’t like it. He wants to know why. He’s got to play better. It’s as simple as that. It’s a competition. It’s the league. Everyone is doing this. No one is not playing their best players. It’s really more about [QB] Chad [Kelly]. Chad has competed and Chad’s played well. If Chad’s not playing well, [Lynch] is still the 2. It’s really more about what Chad has done from the spring to now.”
The thing that really stood out to me in Joseph’s quote was that Lynch wanted to know why he was demoted.
I was a big-time supporter of Lynch but I really missed on his character. His play has regressed since his rookie year when he showed some promise. He also lacks confidence on the field and still struggles to read the field. I mean, it should be obvious as to why you’re being demoted.
Not a good look for Lynch if he actually asked why.
Did Vance Joseph just unofficially name Royce Freeman the starting running back?
Vance Joseph was asked about running backs Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman and he basically called Freeman the starting running back without actually saying it.
Vance Joseph evaluating Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman:— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
“Book’s book... He’s doing what he does well. That’s third downs, catching the ball, outside zone is his best run. Royce is a downhill pounder, one-cut runner with pretty good vertical speed… We need both guys."
Joseph called Booker the third down guy while calling the rookie Freeman a “downhill pounder”.
“Book (Booker) is Book. I’ve been around Book for almost two years now, so I’ve watched him play and he’s doing what he does well—that’s third downs, catching the ball, outside zone is his best run. Royce is a downhill pounder. He’s a one-cut runner with pretty good vertical speed. I’ve been impressed with both guys, and again to go back to the tight ends question, we need both guys. They’re both really different in what they do for our offense.”
Basically, Freeman will start and be your “bell cow” back who gets the majority of the carries and short yardage looks while Booker is your pass catching third down back. This is how many have pictured this playing out, but Joseph basically just called it right now.
What also helps Freeman is his pass protection which was praised by offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
“Royce did some good things in pass protection. All of the young backs are doing a nice job at identifying what all of these blitzes are, and then sticking their face in the fan and blocking them. So, it’s been good.”
Freeman did have a solid preseason opener and I expect him to continue that throughout the remaining practices and final three preseason games. He should be your starting running back come week one when the Broncos host the Seattle Seahawks.
Jeff Heuerman showing why he deserves to be on the roster:
Tight end Jeff Heuerman has missed the majority of Training Camp and many(including myself) assumed his roster spot was in danger. However, the fourth-year tight end is showing why he deserves to be on the roster during today’s practice.
Jeff Heuerman is having a really solid practice in his second day back.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 14, 2018
According to multiple onlookers at practice, Heuerman looked fast and solid during today’s practice. Head Coach Vance Joseph backed that statement up by saying Heuerman looked “fresh” during today’s and yesterday’s practice.
“I did. He looked fresh. He looked great yesterday. Obviously, he’s been down for about almost two weeks, so he should look fresh, but so far so good.”
Joseph was asked about the gap between Heuerman and Butt and basically said that they will have a tight end by committee this season instead of having a defined starter.
“They’re different. As having a No. 1 tight end for our offense, not that important, but having a couple guys who can do different skill sets is more important for us. It’s no different than having more than one [running] back. Heuerman is a bigger man, he’s more of an inline blocker for us, and Butt is a pass-catcher, a route-runner, a guy who can play in space versus backers and win. They’re different. So, who’s 1? It depends what play we call.”
This makes sense since neither player is likely a bonafide starting tight end in this league. Heuerman/Traylor will be your in-line blockers while Butt is the tight end they split out wide and used as a pass catching tight end.
If Heuerman can stay healthy and perform during the remaining practices and preseason games, it appears he will crack the 53-man roster. However, poor play and/or injury can derail that.
Joint practices begin tomorrow:
The Broncos and Bears will hold two joint practices beginning tomorrow before their preseason matchup on Saturday.
Broncos&Bears have joint practices Wednesday and Thursday, preseason game Saturday. @BradBiggs will lead Chicago media brigade. Vance Joseph has talked to Bears coach Matt Nagy. Joseph: "We want good work on both sides of the ball, be professionals and not fight.'' #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) August 14, 2018
These practices are always interesting because we can see how the Broncos fair against another team in a practice format.
Head Coach Vance Joseph told reporters he hopes to accomplish a lot during these two practices against the Bears.
“A lot. Obviously, schematically, it’s a different scheme. You watch our defense now versus our offense, our defense has seen these plays for almost three weeks now. It’s easy for them. To see a different scheme, to play against a different body type, that’s going to be huge for our team as far as schematics and for evaluation of our team. It’s going to be huge.”
After struggling a bit on Saturday against the Vikings, it would be good for both the first-team offense and defense to have a solid week of practices to raise their confidence. If they struggle these two days and again on Saturday, panic will set in big time in Broncos Country.
- Tight end Troy Fumagalli, safety Dymonte Thomas, and linebacker Joe Jones sat out practice.
- Offensive lineman J.J. Dielman suffered a knee sprain but it is not considered serious according to Vance Joseph.
- Safety Su’a Cravens knee swelling down and he ran of the practice field today. He sounds close to returning to action.
- Rookie guard/center Sam Jones left practice with back spasms today but should be okay.
Tweets from practice:
Here is @SkeeterMills__ moving one step closer to the jugs machine for every catch. I was trying to calculate how many of my fingers would've broken if I tried this.#Broncos pic.twitter.com/UVn7oRkT0W— Ryan Greene (@RyanCBS4) August 14, 2018
DeMarcus Ware working with Bradley Chubb and the rest of the Broncos’ pass rushers today at camp. pic.twitter.com/AQ3NbEJxPV— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
Broncos updated depth chart. Chad Kelly No. 2 QB. pic.twitter.com/y2jLpnCOg0— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
J.J. Dielman has a knee sprain and Sam Jones left practice due to back spasms, per Vance Joseph.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
Jeff Heuerman is having a really solid practice in his second day back.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 14, 2018
Not practicing:— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
Vance Joseph's full response after being asked "How has Paxton responded the last two days after getting bumped down to No. 3?" pic.twitter.com/jXouZcni7u— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 14, 2018
The Broncos are moving Courtland Sutton around the field more and are using him in the slot as well as outside, according to Bill Musgrave.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
Joe Woods said the defense “made some mistakes we normal don’t make” during the 1st series against MN— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
“There were some very, very basic plays—like day one plays that we work on—that we got hit in the game early. Just gap control issues, guys fitting properly, executing coverage”
After being out of the game for 3 years, Joe Woods was impressed with new LB A.J. Johnson:— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) August 14, 2018
“He is extremely smart. He understands football, he’s chomping at the bit to get back involved in it.”
TRAINING CAMP VLOG: DAY 12— Ryan Greene (@RyanCBS4) August 14, 2018
The next two #Broncos practices will be against the Bears , and then training camp is over, which means: No. More. Vlog.
Peeps in today's vlog:@StingRay56 @McGovenator60 @BamBamDavis51 @VonMiller @MichaelCBS4 @NickiJhabvala pic.twitter.com/ItYfMtPGH9
Broncos HC Vance Joseph breaks down the decision to promote QB Chad Kelly to second-string and demote Paxton Lunch.— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) August 13, 2018
"It's really more about what Chad has done, honestly." pic.twitter.com/u3Q8xd7hkJ
What's up with the Broncos' first-team struggles through two series against Minnesota on Saturday? OC Bill Musgrave explains what he saw on film. pic.twitter.com/eAbaSXMBth— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) August 14, 2018
Vance Joseph on if he has had conversations with Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy about the structure of joint practices.
“I have. We’ve talked several times about the structure of practice, obviously, and the temperament of practice. We want to have great work in the next two days. Obviously you watch the news, a bunch of fighting is occurring in most practices. We don’t want that. Let’s get good work on both sides of the ball, be good professionals and not fight. It’s as simple as that—not fight.”
Vance Joseph on how Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky will test the defense
“[He will be a] great test. He’s a great young quarterback, I watched his game from last week. He is very athletic, he has a great arm, so it’s going to be a great test for us. It’s a multiple offense with great weapons. They have two great backs, they have great receivers, so it’s going to be fun to watch. Defensively, they’re really, really good on defense. They have 3-4 defense, so it’s going to be a style of front. They have great pass rushers, so for our offense, it’s going to be a great challenge again this week.”
Vance Joseph on how the offensive line performed on Saturday.
“That was a positive for us, in my opinion. The O-line played really, really good in the run game and in the pass game. I was very pleased with that group—not just the first five, but the second five also played well. Speaking of Eli (T Elijah Wilkinson), Eli played guard and tackle in that game—left and right tackle—and played very well. I was very impressed with those guys. Even Dielman, Dielman did some good things, and Sam Jones [did as well]. A lot of our young guys played well. That was really good to see.”
Special Teams Coordinator Tom McMahon on newly signed safety Shamarko Thomas.
“I haven’t seen a lot yet. [I] haven’t even played Pittsburgh a great deal. A year ago, from a Buffalo standpoint, he played a little bit more on defense. I have to feel it out and see what he plays. He was a good gunner at Pittsburgh early on in his career, and that’s where we’re going to start him out. He has to dominate in coverage. He’s getting to start where he should start and some of these other guys have to try and beat him out and he has to beat them out.”
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave on the starting offense having three-and-outs in their only two series against the Vikings.
“We’re looking for production. We want to put a good product on the field. We watched the film afterward and there were a number of factors whether it be technical mistakes, scheme—all of those things. We always address our mistakes and then we apply those lessons going forward. So, I thought the film session was good. We made strides. As we go through this process, there’s going to be strides made, then there’s going to be times like when you go three-and-out where you feel like you made no strides. Or perhaps you even go backwards. We’ve got to learn from both the good and the bad, so we can continue on this process to get to where we want to be versus Seattle.”
Musgrave on his confidence in tight end Jeff Heuerman.
“Watching him today was great. He’s got some fresh legs. He was he was the fastest guy we had on the field today, running away from safeties and backers and even corners. When he’s healthy—we’ve just got to get him healthy of course—he’s got a lot of skills. We saw those when we played the Colts last year and out here in practice. If we can get his knee right, he’s going to really be a weapon for us.”