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2019 Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 15 news and notes

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News and notes from day 15 of Broncos Camp.

DENVER BRONCOS TRAINING CAMP

The Broncos are entering their final days of their 2019 Training Camp period with today’s day 15 of camp coming to an end. There are only a few more practices left before their joint practices with the 49ers ahead of their Monday Night game with them to close out week two of the preseason.

Today we have rookie quarterback Drew Lock potentially moving up the depth chart, fullback George Aston getting his chance to replace Andy Janovich, Jamal Carter making a position change, news and notes, an injury update, quotes and more.

Drew Lock moving up the depth chart?

For every single Training Camp practice thus far, veteran Kevin Hogan was the first quarterback with the number two offense ahead of rookies Drew Lock and Brett Rypien. This signaled that he was ahead of them on the depth chart and pecking order at that time despite the two rookies getting their reps with this unit as well.

Well, that changed during today’s practice when rookie quarterback Drew Lock was the first quarterback up with the second team offense.

After practice, Head Coach Vic Fangio was asked if this meant that rookie Drew Lock has moved up the depth chart and is now the Broncos backup quarterback. Fangio told reporters “I’m not. You said ‘we.’ I’m not. You can, but I’m not.”.

This is a very Vic Fangio answer, but the actions here mean more than his words, at least to me. You have to assume that they want Drew Lock to ascend to the backup quarterback job and allow them to only keep two quarterbacks and use that other roster spot elsewhere.

It will be interesting to see if this continues during tomorrows practice or if it was just a one day thing. Both Lock and Rypien received more reps than normal today and Fangio said “and that was the plan all along” so it could change tomorrow.

EIther way, it appears to be a good sign for Lock and something the Broncos likely wanted to see happen anyways. Kevin Hogan hasn’t really done enough to separate himself from the rookies so this seems like an obvious move for them moving forward.

George Aston replacing Andy Janovich

With starting fullback Andy Janovich out at least six to eight weeks with a torn pectoral muscle, undrafted rookie fullback George Aston took over for him during today’s practice.

With Aston being the only fullback on the roster, he received 1st team, 2nd team, and 3rd team offensive reps today. So he is getting his opportunity to make this team with Jano out and potentially on the roster bubble.

Fangio was asked what he wanted to see from Aston after today’s practice and he told them that he wants to see if he’s worthy enough to make the 53-man roster.

“Just to see if he’s worthy of fulfilling that role, and obviously he’ll get some reps here these next few weeks and we’ll have a decision to make once we get down to 53.”

Fangio was also asked what he has liked from Aston thus far and he told reporters that he has been a “surprise guy” thus far and that “he has a chance” to make the 53-man roster.

“Yeah, he’s been a surprise guy coming as an undrafted free agent. There aren’t many fullbacks out there these days in college or pro football, so there’s not an abundance of them. I think he’s had a nice catch and run after the catch the other night. He’s got a chance.”

Janovich’s recovery here will be the deciding factor and Fangio did say they can go without a true fullback on their roster for a few weeks, but Aston has a good chance here.

With that said, I have a hard time seeing the Broncos going with two true fullbacks on their 53-man roster, Janovich will be out until probably the beginning of October or so at the latest if the reported timetable is accurate. So will they go about a month with two fullback’s eating up spots on the 53-man roster? Some teams don’t even carry a fullback these days so I have a hard time seeing that.

Could it come down to Aston or Janovich? That seems like an unlikely scenario but one that potentially could play out if Aston impresses. I think the most likely scenario here is that we see a tight end fill that role until Janovich is healthy, but you never know in the NFL.

Jamal Carter being moved to inside linebacker

One surprising nugget that came out of Broncos camp today was that safety Jamal Carter would be moving to inside linebacker from his original safety position.

Head Coach Vic Fangio was asked about Carter playing inside linebacker during today’s practice and he told reporters that it was a “temporary move for now” and that is was something Carter has always wanted to do.

“We’re going to move him to inside linebacker right now. Right now, it’s temporary, but if he looks good in there it will be permanent. It’s twofold. Our numbers have gotten low there and he’s always wanted to play in there, so the timing was good. He wants to be in there.”

The Broncos have suffered a few injuries at inside linebacker and could use that extra depth at that position. However, one report is out there stating that Carter feels he has a better shot at making the 53-man roster at inside linebacker than safety which makes sense. The Broncos are incredibly deep at safety so Carter could have been the odd man out there.

Carter spoke to media after practice and he confirmed Fangio’s comments and that he is a “physical specimen” who loves being in the trenches.

“I’ve been wanting to play this since high school and college. I like being in the trenches. I’m a physical specimen. I don’t like being too deep away from arms and contact. It’s going to fit me.”

Carter is returning to the Broncos after missing the entire 2018 season due to injury. When he was one the field, Carter has shown that he is a physical specimen and a big hitter. This move could be beneficial for him, but it also could be a sign of desperation as well.

Carter’s play at inside linebacker will be something to keep an eye on moving forward.

News and notes

  • Broncos announced on Saturday that they waived edge rusher Jeff Holland.
  • Broncos announced that they signed cornerback Rashard Causey to fill Holland’s roster spot
  • It was announced that recently signed running back Theo Riddick would be out six to eight weeks because of a slight fracture to his shoulder.

Injury report

  • Tight Jake Butt returned to practice after sitting out a few weeks with knee soreness
  • Tight end Jeff Heuerman returned to practice after sitting out a practice prior to the game vs. the Seahawks
  • Tight end Bug Howard also returned to practice after missing nearly two weeks with an ankle injury
  • Linebacker Josey Jewell returned to practice after missing about a week due to injury
  • Edge rusher Aaron Wallace also returned to practice after missing a few days due to injury
  • Running back Theo RIddick will be sidelined six to eight weeks with a shoulder fracture
  • Linebacker Joe Jones is out six to eight weeks with a pectoral tear
  • Linebacker Todd Davis is nearing a return from a calf injury but continued to sit out practice
  • Veteran Kareem Jackson sat out practice with a slight hamstring injury

Tweets from camp

Quotes

Head Coach Vic Fangio on how much progression he has seen from LB Justin Hollins.

“I’ve seen good progression in that he’s learning two positions, which is hard. He’s shown that he can run and he’s got some athletic abilities, long and all that. He’s just got to develop the love of hitting people like linebackers in this league have to have.”

Running back Phillip Lindsay on fullback Andy Janovich going down with an injury

“Jano’s the man, point blank, period. Everything runs through him. He makes terrific blocks. On [RB] Royce’s [Freeman] big play, Jano was there. On my big plays, Jano’s always there. It sucks that he has to miss some time, but it’s not a season-ending injury. We’re going to have him back at the right time and we’re going to continue to roll. When he gets back, he’s going to make us even better. That’s what having weapons is about, so until then we want Jano to rest up and get him ready so that he is out there for the rest of the season.”

Defensive end Derek Wolfe on

“He doesn’t let the little things slide. No fighting, stuff like that. He doesn’t want us fighting each other, he doesn’t want us jumping offsides and he doesn’t want us holding. He’s always bringing that to attention in team meetings. What’s a penalty, what’s not a penalty, What he thinks was a bad call, what he thinks was a good call and those kinds of things. The last couple years, we’ve been getting beat on penalties, a lot of penalties on all side of the ball in all phases of the game. It’s really important we play really tight, clean football because that’s how you beat yourself. That’s the first step. I think we’re going to be the best conditioned team for sure. We’ve got a week early start, a week earlier than anybody else. We’ve been in full pads every single day. We’re just, as a team, trying to embrace the grind and knowing in the long run when that Week 16 comes in the fourth quarter, we’re going to make that play and outlast your opponent.”