Day three of Denver Broncos camp is now in the books and it was an eventful one because they wore pads for the first time this summer. They also a familiar face visiting today’s practice. Former Broncos great Head Coach Mike Shanahan visited the facility, met with everyone, and watched today’s practice.
Today we have the Broncos defense continuing to dominate, rookie wide receiver Juwann Winfree is turning some heads, more rotation at the inside linebacker position, Noah Fant shows up in the red zone, tight end Austin Fort is a name to watch, an injury report, news and notes and more!
Disclaimer: I was not at camp and this is just a collection of news and notes from other sources with my thoughts and opinions sprinkled in.
Defense continues to dominate
The Denver Broncos has dominated every practice thus far and that continued again today. The pass rusher continued to get after the passers and the secondary forced a total of 4 interceptions today. Two be safety Justin Simmons, one by safety Will Parks, and the other by linebacker Josey Jewell who caught one after it was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Broncos safeties having a day. Will Parks just picked off Joe Flacco. A few plays earlier Justin Simmons had his second of the day.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) July 20, 2019
As a defensive minded coach, Vic Fangio has to be happy with this type of performance but now that he’s a Head Coach, he is also concerned with the offensive performance. So when asked if he was okay with the quarterbacks throwing all these interceptions so far, he said he is not.
“Every interception has a story behind it, but no, not OK with it. You don’t want to turn the ball over. Turnovers, they make it harder to win the game. I don’t know exactly what happened on each and every one. We’ll go in and look at it.”
He likely wants to see both sides do well, but so far, it has been one sided. Today was another example of that with all the interceptions. Safety Kareem Jackson told reporters after practice that he felt the secondary had a “pretty good” practice.
“I think we had a pretty good day. For us, it’s all about communication and being on the same page whenever the ball snaps. I think we’re doing a pretty good job at communicating and all the guys have to be on the same page or us to execute our job. I think we had a pretty good day today. We won’t know to what extent until we watch the film, but it kind of felt like we had a good day.”
Safety Justin Simmons who had two interceptions of his own today, one off Joe Flacco and the other off Kevin Hogan. After practice, Simmons was asked how he felt about the turnovers and he obviously said that he felt good about it while also still saying he can get better.
“Good. Interceptions are obviously great. Still a couple plays throughout practice that you wish you had back and bonehead mistakes. All in all, it was good. Still learning. Good thing is we don’t have to be ready until Week 1 against Oakland. It was good.”
If the Broncos want to be successful this upcoming season, they need their defense to play like this. A Vic Fangio led squad is expected to be good here anyways, but it is still a good sign.
Rookie wide receiver Juwann Winfree is turning some heads
One name that continues to be mentioned in each and every practice has been rookie sixth round pick, wide receiver, Juwann Winfree. Today he continued to flash and caught a deep bomb from fellow rookie Drew Lock.
Drew Lock with a bomb to Juwann Winfree who went up to get it and came down on his back.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 20, 2019
Another fellow rookie, guard Dalton Risner singled out Winfree as a player who he thought was standing out this far.
Juwann Winfree is out there making major snags. I am so proud of him. He’s an awesome, awesome football player.
One instance of his breaking out was noted in Andrew Mason’s camp blog. He notes that Winfree made a big-time catch against two of the Broncos veteran defensive backs.
“Then he hit Winfree down the left sideline past Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson for a 41-yard completion that was the offense’s longest gain of the day.”
Winfree is a big receiver who has dealt with injuries throughout his time in college, but when healthy, he flashed real potential. Through three days of Training Camp practices with the Broncos, that potential is continuing to flash.
Joe Jones and Josh Watson receive first-team reps at linebacker
Yesterday, Alexander Johnson took first-team reps in place of injured inside linebacker Todd Davis in the first-team defense. Fangio told reporters that we would likely see new faces there today as they continue to rotate and that is exactly what happened today.
We saw special teams ace Joe Jones and rookie Josh Watson get 1st team reps today.
Joe Jones and Josh Watson got first team D reps at ILB today. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) July 20, 2019
Jones told 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis that it “felt good, real good” to get first-team reps today during day three of Broncos camp.
“Felt good, felt real good,’’ Jones said. “We’ve got a weird rotation going on, everything is moving around with Todd being out. I’m mostly with the (No.) 1 dime right now, you saw Josh with the 1 base. We’re all rotating to give everybody a chance to play with the ones.’’
He also said that he has been mostly spending time with the Broncos first-team dime defense which is also interesting. He is an athletic linebacker so I’m intrigued to see how he does in that role.
Undrafted rookie linebacker Josh Watson received first-team reps in base packages which a big opportunity for him.
Fangio was asked about him and he told reporters that the undrafted rookie has been “fine” thus far but that he has to learn to become and NFL linebacker yet.
“He’s been fine. He’s a rookie. I think he’s got good ability. Just like I said with some of the other rookies, he’s got to learn to become an NFL linebacker. He’s working hard at it. It’s important to him. I like him. We’ll see how far he can go.”
Watson spoke to reporters after practice and went on about how surreal it was to be calling plays with the first-team defense with some well-known veterans looking him in the eye.
“It’s amazing just when you’re in the huddle, having them look at you in the eyes with urgency and hungriness to know that you’re calling the calls, and the defensive line is listening to you and the secondary is listening to you,” Watson said.
A pretty cool moment for an undrafted rookie and a big time opportunity for him as well. With Fangio giving these young guys chances like these, we have a number of players to keep an eye on moving forward throughout camp.
Austin Fort is a name to watch
Another undrafted rookie to keep an eye on moving forward is tight end Austin Fort. He has routinely been a name mentioned throughout the past three practices and could be elevating himself up the depth chart.
You’ve heard of Fortnite but it’s Fort day out here at Broncos camp. Tight end Austin Fort making plays all over the place.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 20, 2019
With Jake Butt still getting eased in and Troy Fumagalli is day to day with a hip injury, Fort has a good chance to earn himself some meaningul reps moving forward. It really sounds like Fort is taking advantage of this opportunity as well.
The tight ends figure to be important in this offense, so Fort’s chances of making the 53-man roster appear to be growing. He will need to continue this sort of play, but he really has put his best foot forward here.
- Receiver/returner River Cracraft will be sidelined for about a week with a muscle injury.
- Tight end Troy Fumagalli is day to day with a hip injury.
- Linebacker Todd Davis remains sidelined with a calf injury. He will be out until about mid-August.
- Guard Ron Leary is “fine” per Fangio, but they are limiting his reps.
News and notes
- After two retirements at wide receiver, the Broncos held try outs at that position today and ended up signing rookie wide receiver Jamarius Way from South Alabama.
- Quarterback Kevin Hogan’s struggles continued during day 3 of Broncos camp.
- Don Barclay continues to receive first-team reps at right guard as he spells expected starter Ron Leary.
- Rookie wide receiver Trinity Benson received some first-team reps today per Mike Klis
- Rookie first-round pick Noah Fant made some plays during red zone work today. A place where we should see him used effectively moving forward.
- DeMarcus Walker totaled four quarterback pressures and one sack(If it was a game) during today’s practice so maybe the former second-round pick is turning the corner.
- UDFA edge rusher Malik Reed continued to get after the passer during today’s practice according to Andrew Mason. His odds of making the 53-man roster continue to grow.
Tweets from camp
A beautiful day for football. If you can’t make it to practice, check out our live show on Facebook and YouTube coming up at 9:15 a.m. MT. pic.twitter.com/zzMsd8j9im— Phil Milani (@philmilani) July 20, 2019
Day 3: The Broncos will practice in shells today at training camp pic.twitter.com/ssWIPgMlJh— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) July 20, 2019
#CUBuffs WRs coach Darrin Chiaverini is visiting practice today. He recruited Broncos’ rookie Juwann Winfree to Boulder.— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) July 20, 2019
Check out this drill the receivers are doing. Emmanuel Sanders taking extra reps after, too. pic.twitter.com/yxaLkRa9aB— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 20, 2019
So far in position drills, Garett Bolles appears eager to learn from his coaches Mile Munchak and Chris Kuper @MileHighReport— Luke Patterson (@LukePattersonLP) July 20, 2019
WR Jamarius Way, who the Broncos signed today with Romell Guerrier retiring yesterday, brings size to the receiving group.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 20, 2019
He’s 6-foot-3, 215 pounds.
Drew Lock to Phillip Lindsay, with an appearance by a head. pic.twitter.com/UPUPyEFmOB— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 20, 2019
Flacco-to-Fant. Have a feeling this combination will get plenty of red-zone opportunities this season. pic.twitter.com/mqYv0AwGxJ— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) July 20, 2019
With Todd Davis sidelined, former CSU standout Josh Watson getting some first-team reps today. Yesterday, AJ Johnson got a chance. Joe Jones also in the mix. Davis out roughly 3 weeks with calf strain #Denver7— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) July 20, 2019
Flacco to undrafted rookie Trinity Benson in 7 on 7. Speed demon (Benson) getting a look. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) July 20, 2019
TE Austin Fort is having another impressive day out here. Flacco’s consistently looked his way and he’s delivered.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 20, 2019
Broncos goal line drill: Flacco hits Sutton on a crossing route TD. Fans love it.— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) July 20, 2019
Mike Munchak just gathered his offensive linemen in a large huddle for what appeared to be a pep talk. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) July 20, 2019
Drew Lock DEEP to Juwann Winfree who went up and made a beautiful catch about 50-yards downfield.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 20, 2019
Big day for Justin Simmons — 2 INTs. One of Flacco, and one just now off Hogan.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 20, 2019
Will Parks picks Flacco. Safeties having a day.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 20, 2019
And Josey Jewell INT Flacco.— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) July 20, 2019
Why I love camp: Today after an 11/11 play, #Broncos WR Tim Patrick ran across the field to the defense's side. There he asked CB Isaac Yiadom,"You broke before I did. You knew. What did I do?" They talked about how Patrick tipped him off. Then went back to their position groups— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) July 20, 2019
Vic Fangio was asked if he’s okay with some of the interceptions in today’s practice.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 20, 2019
“Every interception has a story behind it (long pause), but no I’m not okay with it. You don’t want to turn the ball over. Turnovers make it harder to win the game.”
Vic Fangio was asked if Justin Simmons can be his Eddie Jackson this year.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensBSN) July 20, 2019
“It’d be nice. It’d be nice. I don’t know if he has Eddie’s running ability after the interception, but maybe he does. We’ll see.”
#Broncos @Dalton_Risner66 is humble in approach. Picking the brain of Ron Leary is helping. Leary appreciates that “Dalton wants to learn, wants to be great. A lot of young guys aren’t like that.” #Denver7— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) July 20, 2019
BRONCOS CAMP VLOG0⃣3⃣— Ryan Greene (@RyanCBS4) July 20, 2019
The #Broncos put the pads back on |A former coach with✌️ s was a practice|And the vlog is now officially @astronaut approved✔️
️Vlog also includes: @Romi_Bean|@MichaelCBS4|@Dalton_Risner66|@PhillyWill11|@ReemBoi25|@CBSDenver #NFL #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/67pfZTs8E6
Head Coach Vic Fangio on what he is hoping to see out of T Garett Bolles as he enters his third season.
“Just to become a solid NFL left tackle. That’s a simple statement, but that encompasses a lot of things. I like where he’s at. I like his mindset. He’s not going to be perfect. The thing you always have to remember about him is he had such a limited football background prior to coming to the NFL that he’s still in the growing stages more so than other guys.”
Head Coach Vic Fangio on what it was like to have former Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan at practice.
“I was glad to have Mike here. I invited him out wanted him to come. I invited him for the spring work and schedules never matched up, but I was glad he was here. I think it’s good he’s here. Mike’s got a big part in the rich history of this franchise. He’s welcome to come here anytime he wants.”
Kareem Jackson on how much time he spent at the safety position in Houston last year.
“Last year, I actually started out the beginning of the year playing safety. I played safety throughout camp. I played the first three games as safety, but because of injuries I was moved back to corner. In previous years before that, I would play safety in different packages that we had. I’m very familiar with the position, so it’s all about getting acclimated to our new system here and this defense.”