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Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 6 news and notes

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Courtland Sutton did it again.

Day 6 of Broncos Training Camp is in the books and you know what? It was more of the same and that is a good thing. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton did it again, Austin Traylor looks like your starting tight end, Case Keenum threw his first INT of camp, reserve safety Jamal Carter earns some praise, Connor McGovern appears to be your right guard, news and notes, updates on the injury front, and more!

Courtland Sutton does it again:

Again, I try not to repeat storylines multiple days in a row but the rookie wide receiver Courtland Sutton is the biggest story at Broncos camp right now. Today he caught a bomb from quarterback Case Keenum despite fellow rookie cornerback Isaac Yiadom draped all over him desperately trying to slow down the behemoth.

After that play, Sutton then hauls in a pass with Chris Harris Jr. in coverage. Even Bradley Roby was getting frustrated by Sutton’s dominance and got a little physical with him which didn’t well with the Broncos coaches.

It is just more of the same for Sutton who is earning rave reviews from Broncos coaches and players. Head Coach Vance Joseph called Sutton a quarterback’s best friend after practice today.

“That’s what we saw on his college evaluation. He is, right now, a 60-40 guy with the jump balls, and that is huge in this league. Most guys are 50-50, but he’s a 60-40 guy. He is what we thought he would be. He’s got strong hands, he’s a big man and he’s got a huge catch radius. For a quarterback, he’s friendly. You can be off with the ball and he can catch the ball for you.”

Veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was asked if Courtland Sutton reminds him of a younger version of himself and DT said no and that Sutton is his own player. He also noted Sutton’s route running ability as a strength of his which is great to hear.

“No, he is his own self. I can’t say that I wasn’t excited when I first found our he was coming. Big guy can run. But when I first saw him on the field, I had no idea he could run routes like he does. Big fella, he can run routes, he can catch the ball at the highest point. I think he does well staying loyal when he runs his routes, and that’s big. That’s big to be a big guy and can do the things he can do.”

With Sutton playing like this and hopefully continuing playing like this, it will be difficult for opposing teams to cover him AND veteran’s Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Thomas commented on this and said defenses will need to figure out who they want to put their best corner on since they have so many playmakers

“It’s going to help a lot because you’ve got to pick. Do you want to put your best corner in the slot on E [Emmanuel Sanders]? Or do you want to leave him outside and let ‘E’ have field day. Or let Courtland make plays, and then you can’t forget about DaeSean [Hamilton]. He also makes plays as well. I think the main thing is, we’ve still got to build. On paper it looks good, but we’ve still got to get better and better every day because we’re going to be going up against some good defenses, some good defensive lines and some other good football teams. We’re just going to go out and continue to get better and better, and we’ll see what happens.”

If you need proof of Sutton’s ability to go up and get it, check out Mike Rice’s tweet which perfectly captures Sutton’s leaping ability.

The Broncos got themselves a good one and as Demaryius Thomas said, don’t sleep DaeSean Hamilton. He’s a good one too.

Austin Traylor is starting to look like your starting tight end:

Jeff Heuerman started camp as the starting tight end and many pegged Jake Butt to be that guy this year, but Austin Traylor appears to be the front-runner for the job.

With Jeff Heuerman missing practice due to knee soreness, Traylor has stepped up as the top guy. Traylor’s blocking ability is his best trait but he is no slouch as a pass catcher. Look for him to fill Virgil Green’s role as the “blocking tight end” who can catch the ball some while Jake Butt is more of your move tight end/red zone weapon.

Last week, Head Coach Vance Joseph praised Traylor and called him a competitive player.

“He’s competitive. He played some for us last year. He’s a good blocker, he can catch the football fine. We’ve got a room of BIG 10 [Conference] tight ends, so it’s been fun to watch all of those guys compete, not just Austin. Every guy from top to bottom has done a good job of competing every day.”

Traylor did get a handful of starts last season and held his own as a blocker and pass catcher. He hauled in 8 receptions for 100 yards while serving as the teams blocking tight end.

According to Joseph, Traylor has carried the confidence he gained last year into 2018 and has been impressing them all offseason.

“Absolutely. When guys have a chance to play NFL football, and then make some plays and do it right, they have confidence that they can do it on a daily basis. He’s been really good for us. He’s always engaged and he’s a tough guy. That’s important.”

The longer Heuerman sits out, the better the odds are that Traylor will be your starting tight end. Hell, he may have already taken that job with how consistent he has been.

Keenum tosses his first INT of camp:

Quarterback Case Keenum has been dealing all camp. Hitting wide receivers in stride and just making accurate throws all over the field. He went a total of five practices before turning the ball over, but that streak ended today when he tossed an INT to safety Will Parks.

Time to panic!!! (Kidding, of course)

It was during a two-minute drill and a rushed Keenum tossed a pass into coverage and Parks came away with it, not the end of the world. Some quarterbacks like Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes toss three interceptions a practice but Keenum went five practices before his first. One INT every 6 days? I will take it.

Head Coach Vance Joseph pulled Keenum aside after the INT and spoke to the Broncos starter. He was asked about this conversation and Joseph gave us some insight into what he told Keenum.

“He’s human. Obviously after six practices, that’s his first pick. It was a two-minute drill and it was really before half. It wasn’t to win the game. My thoughts to Case were to just be smart. We want points, but having points there is not urgent, right? It’s halftime. I brought him back to our Giants game last year. It’s a one-score game, we throw a pick before half and that game is over. That hit my head right away, the Giants game last year. It was the exact play, the exact same side of the field, a left throw, the left corner picked it and took it home. Just knowing situational football, having points there is not important. We want points, but it’s not urgent. So, be smart with the football.”

Demaryius Thomas was asked about Keenum’s mindset after the interception and he said he was obviously disappointed but bounced back from it.

“Like a normal quarterback I would say. Of course, I think it’s not one of his many picks in training camp. Maybe first one, second one. But no quarterbacks want to throw picks. It happens. I saw him drop his head at first but the next thing you know he was lifting up the offense, lifting up the guys around him. His energy is still positive and that’s big for our team to stay the same. Mistakes happen and that was one of, so we’re going to build off of it and keep going.”

This leadership quality is something that was sorely missing from the Broncos offense since Manning retired and will be a welcomed addition going forward. Mistakes happen, but how you bounce back from them is what is key and Keenum appears to be bouncing back just fine.

Vance Joseph praises safety Jamal Carter:

Last season, undrafted rookie safety Jamal Carter was one of the camp surprises and helped earn himself a roster spot with his play. Well, so far, Carter is continuing that type of play in 2018.

Head Coach Vance Joseph told reporters after practice that Carter plays with his “hair on fire” and called him a “core special teams player”.

“Jamal Carter has had a great camp. He’s a guy that plays with his hair on fire every day. Obviously, he’s playing some dime for us and he’s also playing some high safety, but he’s a core special teams guy and he’s one of our better guys. The Broncos have done a great job over the years of finding free agents. We had three play for us last year with [S Dymonte] Thomas, [CB Marcus] Rios and Jamal [Carter] in the back end. That’s been one of [President of Football Ops/GM] John’s [Elway] strengths. After the ‘eighth round of the draft,’ we’ve done good there, even this year with [OLB] Justin Holland who was an all-conference player, we got him signed, and No. 2 [RB Phillip Lindsay], we got him signed. That’s been one of John’s strengths over the year, using the ‘eighth round’ as his advantage.”

Core special teams players like Carter are often locks to make the team and I am confident that we can pencil him in as the Broncos 5th safety.

Connor McGovern appears to be the man at right guard:

Another player who has been consistently earning praise from the coaching staff is right guard, Connor McGovern.

Vance Joseph was asked about McGovern after practice today and he called the big right guard a guy who doesn’t make mistakes.

For Connor, it started last year. He got a chance to get four or five starts late in the season and he did a good job. Moving to the spring, he’s done a good job. Connor is a guy who doesn’t make mistakes. He’s a tough guy who does things right, so that’s a great trait for an offensive lineman. When you’re wrong, someone may get hurt. He’s right most of the time.”

McGovern is as strong as they come, offers versatility, and looks on track to be your week one starter at right guard. Menelik Watson and the rest of the competition hasn’t closed the gap and it appears that McGovern is simply running away with the job.

I’m a big McGovern fan and think he can be a solid piece to this offensive line.

News and notes:

Injury report:

Tweets from camp:

Quotables:

Head Coach Vance Joseph on veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas’s leadership skills:

“I’ve been proud of D.T. (Thomas) for his leadership from the spring until now going into training camp. He is a guy that takes time with the young guys. Leadership is about service, and he does a great job of serving his younger teammates. That part, I’ve been really proud of D.T. and [CB] Chris Harris [Jr.]—he’s done a great job with the back-end guys. We’re young back there and we’re revamping the secondary, but Chris has been a guy that’s been a nice force for us in the back end. [C Matt] Paradis, [G Ronald] Leary, [ILB] Todd Davis, he’s stepped up as a leader. [S] Justin Simmons, [S Darian] Stewart—so we’ve got a lot of guys that are leading well for us right now.”

Rookie linebacker Josey Jewell on playing alongside Brandon Marshall:

“It’s been great so far. He’s a great coach, a great leader and great linebacker at that. He does a lot of the small things right. He’s very talented, very athletic and just knows the defense in and out. He’s a great leader and he’s been helping us all, him and [ILB] Todd [Davis], and even ‘Z’ (ILB Zaire Anderson), he’s one of those guys up there that’s also a vet. They’ve been just really helping us younger guys and being able to coach us along.”

Linebacker Shane Ray on his splint on his wrist and if he thinks it is helping him:

“It’s just a splint honestly. It just stops my hand from going back like this (demonstrated to media). This is where I don’t want my hand to go because its too much pressure creating the pain. Because my hand is in this position, I’m not getting the pain that I was getting. I still have strength. I still have my grabbing. The only difference is trying to come at that angle. This is like my rough draft brace. It’s great that we have training camp and I can figure out the ways to use it. Then when I go get another one made, it’ll be a little bit more perfected to what I’m trying to do out here. It’s just work. I have to get better every day, and I’ve been doing that, working as hard as I can.”

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on the wide receiver depth:

“It is one of the deepest wide receiver cores we’ve had since I’ve been here in my nine years. It’s going to be a tough decision for the coaches. Because guys can get open, every guy can get off the press, every guy has great routes—not many mental errors in the group. Coming out of training camp and being able to start on a new offense with 13 plus guys and we’re switching out here and there, there are not many mistakes, and that’s big for our team. When you can find guys that don’t make many mistakes and go out and make plays, that’s big.”