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Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 9 news and notes

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The Broncos pass rush should get us all excited.

The Broncos returned from their off day and returned to the practice field for day 9 of Broncos camp. Today we have a depth chart to talk about, the Broncos pass rush dominating, your daily Courtland Sutton update, the backup quarterbacks need to step up, news and notes, injury updates, and more!

Broncos release their first depth chart:

The big news of the day was the initial release of the Broncos first depth chart. It’s league mandated that they do it, but it is our first glimpse into how the Broncos coaches view the pecking order right now.

Now many people will want to dissect this initial depth chart but Head Coach Vance Joseph told everyone to pump the breaks some.

“That’s part of the league. It’s league-mandated. For us, it’s a starting point. It means nothing right now. We’ve had one scrimmage and seven practices, so we’ll get through preseason and see where we stand with the depth chart. It’s going to change probably 50 more times, hopefully. We don’t want to stay where we are. We’ve got major competition at a lot of areas here, so it should change some.”

Joseph said that his staff along with General Manager John Elway and his staff got together to form this first depth chart but again reiterated that nothing is set in stone.

“It’s the staff, it’s myself, it’s [President of Football Ops./GM] John [Elway] and his staff, and it’s really based on last year’s playtime, obviously the first week of camp and also the spring. Again, it’s early. Nothing is set in stone but we did make some moves that are obviously noticeable.”

Now with all that said, let us take a look at a few notable things on the Broncos first depth chart of the 2018 season.

Casey Barrett- Mile High Report
  • Quarterback Paxton Lynch is listed as the number two followed by Chad Kelly who is the third quarterback right now.
  • Devontae Booker is listed as the starting running back followed by rookie Royce Freeman.
  • Tight end Jeff Heuerman is listed as the starting tight end despite not practicing for the last week. I am willing to be he is still fighting for a roster spot.
  • Sixth round rookie Sam Jones is listed as the backup center.
  • Wide receiver’s Tim Patrick and River Cracraft are ahead of Isaiah McKenzie at receiver.
  • DeMarcus Walker is listed as the second-team defensive end behind Adam Gotsis.
  • Shelby Harris is the backup nose tackle for whatever reason.
  • Rookie Bradley Chubb is listed as the starting strong-side linebacker.
  • Tramaine Brock is still listed as the number cornerback.
  • Rookie Isaac Yiadom has passed Brendan Langley on the depth chart.
  • Rookie Phillip Lindsay is listed as the kick returner
  • Isaiah McKenzie is listed as the punt returner

Broncos pass rush dominant today:

After the offense dominating the first week of camp, the Broncos vaunted defense is starting to get some revenge. Most notably, their pass rush made life a living hell for the offense today.

Joseph stated that rushed their five-man rush today to have the offense pick up five guys without having to go into max protection.

“Yes, they struggled a lot. That’s why we do it. It’s a team pass period. [Offensive Coordinator] Billy [Musgrave] has been great at calling really good plays versus our defense for the first week-and-a-half. Today, we called five-man pressures versus our pressure package, so we want to have our offense have the ability to block pressure without maxing up all the time. We want to get four guys out. We can always block the back, the tight end and get three guys out with three-wides—or get two guys out with two backs and two tights—but to be effective in the pass game, you want three and four guys out.”

The Broncos pass rushing unit should be back near the top this year. Bradley Chubb paired with Von should give them a nasty pass-rushing duo with Shaq and Ray coming in at times as well. Also, their interior rush unit should be deadly as well. Walker appears to be making a big jump, Shelby Harris has turned into a stud, and the veteran addition of Clinton McDonald should help as well. Add in Derek Wolfe who figures to mix in there as well and you have a damn good front seven.

Courtland Sutton doing Courtland Sutton things:

Another day, another update on Courtland Sutton doing impressive things in practice. Today, he worked starting corner Bradley Roby, again.

Sutton can do a few things very well. One is high-pointing the ball and making crazy catches. The other is being a weapon in the open field. He’s not just some big possession receiver, he has some big-time YAC ability and he showed it off here.

Many were passing off Sutton’s success because he did against the Langley’s of the world, but now he’s doing it consistently against the Broncos best. Roby has been a key member of this defense and one of the reasons why they won Super Bowl 50. The fact he is having success against him, someone many have pegged to have a breakout contract year campaign is promising.

Joseph says he wants to see more from the backup quarterbacks:

The Broncos backup quarterback battle remains one of the biggest questions remaining on this roster. You have former first-round pick, Paxton Lynch, looking more and more like a bust and Chad Kelly who hasn’t had a great camp but is coming off a good scrimmage. However, neither has stepped up and shown they can be a trusted backup to quarterback Case Keenum.

Joseph said after practice that he wants to see more from the backups going forward.

“We need more from those guys, obviously, as far as being consistent. I’m assuming every team in the league, with their backup, needs more consistency—except the Eagles probably. We have a starter and that’s Case Keenum. We’re pushing Paxton [Lynch] and we’re pushing Chad to be better quarterbacks, but Case is the starter and he should be the starter.”

He was then asked about the improvements quarterback Chad Kelly has made. The Broncos Head Coach noted that he needs to make some improvements still, but that Kelly is “fearless”.

“Chad Kelly is healthy. Watching him throw last year, before he went to NFI (non-football injury), he wasn’t healthy. He’s throwing the ball now. He’s healthy, he can move and his strength is playmaking. He’s a playmaker. It doesn’t look clean all the time, he’s kind of moving around and scrambling off his back leg, but he does make plays. He is fearless.”

If you watched any of Kelly’s college tape you know that he is indeed fearless. Will that fearless mentality lead to success or turnovers in the NFL? That remains the biggest question for Kelly going forward.

NFL: Denver Broncos-Training Camp Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Lynch needs work still and Kelly needs improvements as well, so can either be trusted to be the backup to Case Keenum? Joseph said he is not worried about this...right now.

“Yeah, it’s early. Obviously when you’re playing with a QB that’s not your starter, you’re doing things differently on offense. You’re playing a different gameplan, so I am not concerned right now about that. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, and if we have to do that, it will take all of us to help that guy play well. The gameplan, the defense, how we play that game, how we win that game, will be important. I’m not concerned right now.”

I am still under the belief that they will add a veteran sometime before the final preseason game. Let’s face it. Lynch doesn’t have it and Kelly is a work in progress. Neither scream reliable backup. Get a veteran in here who has some experience and win you a game or two.

Former Miami Dolphins quarterback is someone I believe Joseph may have on speed dial if things continue as they go. He helped lead the Dolphins to the postseason while Joseph was in Miami and he still is currently a free agent. That is just me connecting dots, not a report.

News and notes:

  • Joseph stated that he is hopeful that tight end Jeff Heuerman returns to practice this week.
  • Joseph was also hopeful that corner Tramaine Brock would return to practice this week as well. However, even if he does, he will not play in the preseason opener on Saturday.
  • Speaking of the preseason opener, Joseph stated that the starters will only play a series or two at the max. Expect multiple key veterans to receive the game off as well.

Injury report:

Tweets from camp:

Quotables:

Vance Joseph on bradley Chubb being listed as a starter:

“Yeah, we’ve been pleased with him. Not just with his physical abilities, but his football IQ. He’s so smart and he’s walked in and done a good job for us in the pass game, the run game, with the pressure. He’s earned that right, right now.”

Devontae Booker on if anything is different for him this year:

“Really, just more confident. My rookie year I came in, it was a lot for me to learn, just picking up the learning curve. Second year, last year, I broke my wrist, so I was out a couple of games for that. I came back, did OK I thought, but this is the year for me. Now that I’m all healthy and getting ready to roll. It looks like a good year.”

Bradley Chubb on his thoughts on putting the Broncos uniform on for the first time on Saturday:

“Oh yeah, it’s going to be crazy just to be able to play a game in it. I’ve been doing photo shoots and stuff like that with it on, but it hasn’t really hit me yet. I feel like on Saturday when I’m in the stadium with all of those people yelling and screaming, it’s going to really hit me.”

Justin Simmons on rookie CB Isaac Yiadom:

“Ike’s been great. Every day we have a pre-practice meeting defensively and we just kind of go over X’s and O’s, the good and the bad. Isaac, more times than not, is on the good side of that list. He just does everything at a high level, he does his job exactly the way he’s supposed to. That’s what coaches love to see, just doing your job at the highest level possible.”

Justin Simmons on having Case Keenum as the starting quarterback:

“Case has been great. Once again, I’m not sure quarterback-wise…but just playing that safety position, having to read the quarterback, read formations and tendencies, things he’s looking for defensively, I’m looking for offensively. He’s looked great, he’s been throwing the ball well, he’s put the ball in spots to where either the receiver makes the catch, or no one makes it. He’s given us different looks all across the field, which is making the safeties job harder, just to be able to adjust and line guys up. It’s been great because it’s been a challenging camp, and that’s what we want, so we can go into the season comfortable, had already looked at all of the multiple looks that we can get and get back on the right track.”