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Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 7 news and notes

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Here are the news and notes from day 7 of Broncos camp.

Denver Broncos Training Camp 2019 Photo By Patrick Traylor/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

We have officially hit the one week point in Broncos Camp with day 7 in the books. After having a day off on Tuesday and an afternoon practice on Wednesday, the Broncos returned to their routine of having a morning practice.

Today we have a better day overall by the Broncos offense, another UDFA rookie wide receiver standing out, some criticism on Connor McGovern’s snapping, Kareem Jackson a safety...for now, news and notes, an injury update and more!

Note: I did not attend camp and this is just a collection of tweets from media members at camp with my thoughts and opinions mixed in.

Offense has a better day

For the first time since Broncos Training Camp started, the Broncos offense came away either as the winner or at least equals with the Broncos defense.

According to reports and people from camp, the Broncos offense looked more crisp, ran good routes, and caught the ball. It was just a good all around day for the offense according to onlookers.

A day like this is magnified because of the amount of poor play we have seen from the offense during the first week of practice. However, a new offense, a new quarterback, and new faces in that huddle mean there will be an adjustment period. You also have a lot of youth and inexperience playing in key roles as well. So growing pains and an adjustment period should be expected.

Head Coach Vic Fangio was asked about the offense after practice today, specifically the running game and the balance of the offense. He kept it simple and told reporters “I want to move the ball, get first downs and score points, and I’m not picky on how we do that.”.

“I want to move the ball, get first downs and score points, and I’m not picky on how we do that. But there does come a point where you’ve got to be able to run the ball. If you can run the ball and you are patient with it, big plays can come off of that in your passing game. I think we’ve done a good job of marrying our running game and play-action game together, and we’re looking to hit some big plays off of that. Saying that, you always want to avoid negative runs. Second-and-eight is better than second-and-12. You’re not happy you only got two, but you’re moving. I think we have to have the ability and the confidence that we can run the ball and stay with it, but if there’s a game we have to throw it 45 times by our choice—not by the scoreboard—then I’m fine with that too.”

Hopefully, the Broncos offense can continue to pile good days on top of each other in the coming days and weeks. If they want to be successful, they will need this unit to be at least respectable this upcoming season.

Kelvin McKnight gets an opportunity

UDFA rookie Trinity Benson has been the name often mentioned, but another UDFA rookie wide receiver is turning some heads as well. Today it was the speedy Kelvin McKnight who received some first-team reps in-place of the injured DaeSean Hamilton.

Head Coach Vic Fangio was asked after practice how he thought McKnight did in place of Hamilton during today’s practice. He told reporters that “He did alright. He is progressing”.

“He did alright. He’s progressing. The wide receiver position has been hit a little bit with the injury bug, so these younger guys are getting opportunities and sometimes that’s how you find somebody.”

The Broncos final wide receiver job is an open competition right now and likely a race between three players. Those three being UDFA’s Trinity Benson and Kelvin McKnight as well as former corner now wide receiver Brendan Langley.

The preseason and how they do in the return game will likely decide who wins that final spot and who earns a trip to the Broncos 10-man practice squad.

Connor McGovern needs to improve his shotgun snaps

Head Coach Vic Fangio was critical of the Broncos shotgun snaps during the first week of Broncos camp. The snaps from center Connor McGovern haven’t been good enough and Fangio told reporters that it needs to be “perfect soon”.

Here is the full quote from Fangio on the quality of snaps coming from shotgun.

“I’ve noticed it. There are too many right now and obviously that’s something that’s got to get cleaned up. Years ago when the NFL teams first went to shotgun, I always used to say there’s going to be eight to 10 bad plays a year on offense just because of that. What’s happened is there ia not that many because the kids are playing high school football in the gun. Their colleges are playing it in the gun. They’re more ready for it, but it still can be a problem. Some of those we’ve had today—not today this camp—have been the quarterback’s fault. Ball is right there and they’re taking their eyes off it too quick and they’re not catching it. This hasn’t all been the center’s fault, but you’re right. It’s the most basic fundamental there is. If we can’t get that. it doesn’t matter what play we called, so that obviously that has to get perfect soon.”

Fangio blames the quarterbacks here as well but the centers have had their issues throughout camp as well.

Obviously, Connor McGovern is the center all eyes are on. The former guard is taking over for former starting center Matt Paradis who signed with the Carolina Panthers during free agency. The Broncos will need him and the other centers to clean up their mistakes before we head into the start of the regular season.

News and notes

  • Rookie WR Kelvin McKnight has been filling in at slot receiver with the first-team offense the past two days with Hamilton sidelined.
  • Rookie Linebacker Josh Watson continued to get some first-team reps in the Bronco base defensive formations
  • Safety Kareem Jackson will play just safety these first two weeks of camp because it is the position he has played less. Fangio said he can play corner in an emergency and fill in at slot in certain formations as well.

Injury report

  • Rookie wide receiver Juwann Winfree returned to practice today after sitting out the past few practices.
  • Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton sat out practice after tweaking his hamstring during yesterday’s practice.
  • Wide receiver River Cracraft remained sidelined with a muscle injury.
  • Linebacker Todd Davis remains sidelined with a calf injury.
  • Tight end Bug Howard was carted off the field with a knee injury.
  • Offensive lineman Jake Rodgers limped to the locker room

Tweets from camp

Quotes

Head Coach Vic Fangio on how comfortable he is with TE Austin Fort at tight end and if he is OK keeping two rookie tight ends.

“Could. Definitely could. When we pick the team, we’re going to pick the best players that we think and the best combination of players. He’s been doing well. We’ll see how he does next Thursday and see how he does Saturday. Hopefully there’s 50,000 people there Saturday, give him a little taste of a big environment and the Hall of Fame game and the other preseason games. He’s been doing well. Now he’s got to bring it—the practice fields are the quizzes. The games are the final exam. He’s been doing OK in the quizzes. Let’s see if he can carry it over.”

Head Coach Vic Fangio on how well he has gotten to know Director of Football Analytics Mitch Tanney and how analytics helps him as a coach

“It helps. It’s part of the equation. I like analytics. I look at everything he does. It does not control me though. Football is a different game. Analytics in baseball is super valuable because you’re only defending one person. You’re defending the batter. Here we have to defend five eligible [receivers], six if you count the quarterback. When you’re only defending one item, that’s a whole lot easier and analytics is more important, but when you’ve got five eligible to defend it puts a whole different spin on things. Analytics is important, but it is by no means the end all cure all in football.”

Safety Justin Simmons on what makes Fangio’s defense successful

“I just think giving the quarterback different looks. A lot of the times it’s trying to just confuse the guy that gets paid the most on the field. Any time you can confuse them, just give them different looks and try to disguise what you’re in or sometimes show it straight out to make them think you’re not trying to hide something, it’s just all about playing with the quarterback and just making him make tough decisions. That’s what the defense is predicated on. Like I said, there’s so many layers to it and that’s just like the base layer. There are so many different layers to it that are exciting. We’re seeing early stages of it now, but we can continue to keep growing this thing and we will see in Week 1.”