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Broncos’ young offense picking up speed in camp - despite a few speed bumps

The second-year QB and his weapons are showing strong connection in the early days of training camp - even as the defense shows off.

Denver just dusted off Day 4 of Training Camp, and all the reasons Broncos Country was excited and nervous about the potential of 2020 are coming to fruition.

The defense is dominating and the offense is still figuring it out.

But there’s still a lot to like so far.

“We’ll say Jerry is pretty good. We’ll put it that way,” second-year QB Drew Lock said of first-round talent Jerry Jeudy after Monday’s first padded practice.

Although head coach Vic Fangio called that one “just OK” overall in his traditional downplay-of-all-thing-good-in-football, he still let a good impression of the rookie wide receiver slip out after the first day of training camp last week.

“He runs good routes. He’s got good change of direction, good hands,” Fangio said, noting Jeudy’s “polish” in his running. “It was nice to see him making a couple of plays today.”

Safety Kareem Jackson definitely had some thoughts on those polished routes by the rookie.

“He ran some [awesome] routes. He’s that type of player,” said Jackson of his fellow Crimson Tide alum, who Jackson has been watching on Saturdays the past few years. “For him to be rookie, his tempo and his routes—the way he can change pace and the way he sells things is very rare. ...He’s going to pose a challenge for some other defenses.”

Cornerback A.J. Bouyé, coming to Denver as a free agent, loves going against Jeudy as well as another speedy wide receiver K.J. Hamler.

“I’ve seen a lot of rookie receivers come in and it seems like they don’t have it figured out,” Bouyé said of Jeudy and Hamler. “You can look at those two and tell—whether it’s in the offseason, coaching that they’ve had outside—they’re real polished in routes, especially Jeudy. He never gives you the same look every time, and I’m loving going against him. He’s going to keep me true to my technique.”

Although there has been limited viewing of the training camp practices, Jeudy has not disappointed the cameras either.

But of course, Jeudy isn’t the only guy on offense turning heads. His quarterback isn’t perfect on every play, but he’s showing improvement over last season and definitely is the leader on the field.

Just ask veteran running back Melvin Gordon who is new to the team and to a young QB.

“I like him. Like I said, he’s a fiery quarterback. He wants to be great. He wants to learn and he’s hard on himself,” Gordon said, adding that Lock is a perfectionist and will do a play over on the sideline if he doesn’t get it right during the drill. ”I like a guy that’s going to put it all out there on the line for you, and I feel like on game day, he’s going to give us that. You like to be led by guys like that.”

Inside linebacker Todd Davis has been impressed as well.

“He looks really good,” Davis said. “I love the way he takes changes and tries to fit balls in tight windows. I love how quickly he gets the ball out of his hands when he sees the route or he sees the play develop. ...I like what he’s showing us. I can see where he’s going to take it in the future. It’s going to be phenomenal.”

Lock and the offense overall struggled in Tuesday’s practice, but the coach thought he “did good” from his vantage point.

Particularly on a scramble play for a toe-tapping touchdown to Courtland Sutton.

“Obviously we’ll never know if [the defense] would have gotten [Lock] down before he takes off, but his mobility and scrambling ability are important. It’s an added dimension to any offense. That’s part of his game that we like,” Fangio said. “We encourage him to use it when the opportunity presents itself or when he’s forced to. I know he’ll make some plays off of that when he’s scrambling around.”

Although the tendency with camp reports is to worry over every interception by a young offense, it’s important to highlight that means a strength on defense - which is a good thing.

Seeing Bryce Callahan and De’Vante Bausby rebound from last year’s injuries with some ball-hawking style is what Broncos Country should be hoping for.

After Fangio called Monday’s first padded practice “just OK,” a big day for the defense on Tuesday was needed.

Bouyé certainly thought so.

“You have to take advantage of every rep and every practice because soon as you know it, Monday night is coming up,” he said. “Yesterday was our first day in pads and it didn’t go the way we wanted. It wasn’t really a message, it was just Vic coming in, showing us our keys, what we need to look for, how we need to play certain things and we just implemented that.”

The former Jaguar was one of the defensive stars on Tuesday too, coming up with an INT that may have been questionable - depending on who you asked - but was most certainly a big play.

“I think it was an interception. We said we were going to go look at it on film,” Bouyé laughed, adding that Brandon McManus gave them a hard time about it because they gave him one on special teams. “The coaches have done a great job since Day 1 emphasizing how we need turnovers no matter where we are. If it’s in the red zone, that’s coming up big. Being top five in turnovers is going to help our team get to where we need to be and that’s one of our goals.”

In order to do that, Bouyé says the key is paying attention to small mistakes from the offense - an overthrown ball, a loosely held ball, etc.

“When we’re playing tight coverage, they’ll make some catches, but the ones that we could get out are like tips or overthrown balls. We just have to always have our eye on the ball to make those plays,” he said. “There are many ways to make turnovers, coverage, sacks—when Von Miller and Bradley Chubb and all those guys are coming around strip sacking and things like that, we just have to take advantage of that and put our offense in a good field position.”