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2019 Broncos Training Camp: Day 4 news and notes

Day 4 of Broncos camp has concluded. Here is how it went.

DENVER BRONCOS TRAINING CAMP Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Day 4 of Broncos camp is in the books and it was a physical one. The pads were on, they were popping, and the intensity was up for the second straight day of full pads.

Today we have some emphasis on the Broncos rookies who are standing out during day 4 of Broncos camp. We also have a player who has surprised offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, an injury update, news and notes, notable quotes and more!

Note: 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.

Noah Fant catches Fangio’s eye

It was a slow start to camp for the Broncos first-round pick Noah Fant. He has dealt with consistency issues, drops, and just all around growing pains. However, the explosive Fant started turning the corner today and caught Head Coach Vic Fangio’s eye.

Fangio told reporters that Fant caught his eyes a few times during today’s practice.

“Yeah, a little bit. He caught my eye a few times, caught the ball and ran good after it. I think the big thing that happened today was guys are starting to get callused. One of the big things of training camp is you have to get callused to play NFL football. I think some of that started to form today, being the second day in pads, fourth day in a row, tomorrow will be the fifth. These guys are getting callused out there. It’s like the guy who swings the sledgehammer out in construction. First few days he’s got blisters and his shoulders are sore. Then by week two or three, he’s all good to go. That’s kind of what we’re working through right now.”

Growing pains should be expected for any rookie. He’s joining a new offense, playing against a tough defense, learning a new playbook, probably trying to do too much and just grow into an NFL tight end. I wasn’t worried about his struggles after four days of camp when we are still in the middle of July.

Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello was asked what he thinks has been the hardest part in Noah Fant’s transition to the NFL and he said it was basically just growing pains.

“It’s the NFL. It’s just that the game is faster. We are asking them to do a lot because we know what he is capable of. It’s not him just learning the offense, it’s also him learning the nuances of the things that we know he he’ll excel at, and so that adds to the learning. The fortunate part is that we have a few extra practices to get him going a little bit. He is a quick learner. He’s got a skill set, and he can do just about anything. I’ll say this, I think that one of the things that was most undervalued about him coming in the draft that we felt very strongly about is I think he is an excellent run blocker. The zone system and his athleticism, I am excited about that. The pads went on, and he is really showing very, very well. We’re excited about that.”

There are a few things to take away from Scangarello’s quote here. His belief that Fant can be an excellent blocker is noteworthy. Much has been made about his blocking issues but he is better than many give him credit for. However, he has a long ways to go before he can be considered

The other notable part of Scangarello’s quote is that Fant showing up with the pads coming on. That is how football is played obviously so it is a great sign that he is performing well in these practices. Hopefully, he can carry this momentum into the following practices in the coming days and weeks in practices

Fangio on Rypien: “Brett, I think, maybe, he’s got a future.”

Undrafted rookie and fourth-string quarterback Brett Rypien has been quietly putting together a solid Training Camp thus far. Today, Rypien got some work with the second-team offense and ended up playing against the first-team defense.

Many assume the Broncos will keep two quarterbacks and they very well may but undrafted rookie quarterback Brett Rypien isn’t going down without a fight. His ball placement has been solid per reports and today he showed that he belongs on an NFL roster.

Head Coach Vic Fangio was asked about Rypien and he told reporters that “I think, maybe, he’s got a future.” which is some high praise for an undrafted player, especially a quarterback.

“He did. We try to be cognizant of—a lot of teams only have three quarterbacks in camp. We have four. We are getting a fair amount of reps out there as it seems. Some days he’s going to get more that other. That’s just the way it goes, but I like Brett. Brett, I think, maybe, he’s got a future.”

With five preseason games, we figure to see a lot of Brett Rypien under center and he will be playing against some 3rd and 4th stringers as well. So he has a good shot at having a “breakout preseason” like some of the other Broncos 3rd and 4th string quarterbacks of the past.

I think by the end of August we will be debating if the Broncos should keep three quarterbacks or not and if Rypien can make it through waivers.

Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello has been surprised by Elijah Wilkinson’s performance thus far

Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello spoke to the media today and was asked if any players have surprised him thus far. Scangarello singled out offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson as someone who has stood out to him.

Scangarello stated that Wilkinson lost weight and has become more athletic to fit the zone-blocking scheme better. He also complimented Offensive Line coach Mike Munchak for developing Wilkinson as well.

“I’ll say Elijah Wilkinson, the tackle that was here the day we got here. He was an undrafted free agent coming out of college, I believe. He was a lot heavier, he’s lost weight. He’s a very athletic and a great scheme fit. I just like the way he works out here. I think [Offensive Line Coach] Mike Munchak has done a great job honing out his skillset and really helping him develop. I think he is a good football player. I think he is a guy that we are very happy with up to this point.”

I have Wilkinson making the 53-man roster and being a key reserve for the Broncos along the offensive line. He has experience at tackle and guard and also has nine starts under his belt from last season. So he gives you versatility and some starting experience as well.

Veteran guard Don Barclay seems to be another reserve locked into a roster spot if he can stay healthy since he has been spelling Leary on the 1st team offensive line all offseason. I feel pretty comfortable about adding Wilkinson to that list as well and think he could your swing tackle this upcoming season.

Rookie Juwann Winfree continues to impress

One name that continues to stand out during these practices has been rookie sixth round pick, wide receiver, Juwann Winfree. Today he earned some high praise from one of the Broncos star players on defense(via: Andrew Mason).

Broncos star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. commented on Winfree telling Mason that he has caught his eye a bit and than he is a fan of Winfree’s game.

“Fifteen [Winfree] is nice,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “I see him every day catching a lot of balls, having great routes. He’s stronger than a lot of people would think as a young receiver. I like 15’s game.”

Harris is known as a straight shooter. He will speak his mind about anything so this is a genuine compliment of Winfree from the Broncos Pro Bowl corner.

Mason told Winfree about Harris’s comments and that gave him a big smile and he seemed genuinely thrilled that someone like Harris took notice of him like that.

“That’s huge to me, man,” he said. “That made me smile, just because I’ve grown up watching these guys. When I got here, I always thought I could succeed at this level, but actually finally doing it, working and being able to compete against these top guys, going against the ones, it’s providing a lot of confidence for me, and it’s improving my game just going against him.”

Winfree was considered a roster bubble/end of the roster type of guy heading into camp but he is quickly showing he can be more than that. He does have Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton, and DaeSean Hamilton ahead of him but he could start eating into some of their snaps if he continues to impress like this.

News and notes

Injury report

Tweets from camp


Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell on what he’s liked about CB Bryce Callahan’s play on the outside.

“In Chicago we played him there. You just didn’t see him much, it was mainly in preseason over the years. We put together—Vic is the guy behind that—he put together a tape and he said, ‘I think he can play here for us and work into this new combination.’ When we looked at his whole body work over those four years, we saw what we liked. To answer your question, he has the speed and quickness. He processes really well outside and he has good ball skills.”

Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello on running back’s Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay.

“I think Royce and Lindsay are perfect compliments. They kind of remind me of [Falcons running backs] Tevin Coleman and Devontae Freeman in Atlanta. They have different skill sets. They are both talented in their own way. They are both able to be used with their strengths so that they can be the best they can be. Royce is big, and he is physical in pass protection. That’s a big deal in the NFL—that durability that comes with it. As far as running the football in the scheme, they both can do it. One is just going to do it probably with a little bit more physicality and the other is going to make you miss.”

Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello on what progress looks like for QB Drew Luck on a day-to-day basis.

“Each quarterback has different things they need to work on. I think with Drew, he is just learning his craft. Every day Drew walks onto the field, there’s something new. He’s attacking different things, but you’re trying to really improve specific things you’re seeing. Just be the best version of yourself you can until you know what you know. As we move through our installation and we get through the first week, he’ll get a little bit more. He is getting more comfortable and his feet are slowing down. He did some good work in the offseason when he was away from us, and we’ll have to take that into the preseason games and we’ll see how he responds there. Those are steps that are not easy, and I think that he is doing a good job, but like I’ve said many times, it’s the hardest thing on the planet to do well. It’s a challenge, but he’s worked his butt off.”