Day 5 of Broncos camp is in the books and today they were in shells after two practices in pads. We have the Courtland Sutton and Drew Lock connection heating up, Lloyd Cushenberry getting first team reps, the third cornerback job a tight three-man race, injury updates, news and notes, and more.
The Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton connection is heating up
Drew Lock and number one wide receiver Courtland Sutton instantly had chemistry last season. That chemistry has picked up right where it left off so far in camp and it may even be beginning to blossom even more.
Lock connected with Sutton on two long/deep completions against the number one defense. Both times, Sutton beat Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson was involved in the second big play.
It’s great to see the Broncos young quarterback has already formed good chemistry with the teams number one receiver who’s a top receiver in the league. You often see disconnect early on between guys, but these two had it from the start so this is exciting.
As for Bryce Callahan, he’s a smaller corner who struggled against Sutton today and that could be something to watch moving forward. The Broncos want him to be their number two corner and that means play outside on occasion so he’ll need to fair better against taller more physical receivers.
Cushenberry receives first-team reps
It finally happened.
The rookie third-round center out of LSU, Lloyd Cushenberry received the first-team reps at center today for the Broncos
Cushenberry rotating onto the first team.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Head Coach Vic Fangio paid Lloyd Cushenberry some high praise after practice today. He told reporters that Cushenberry is smart and that is something that most rookies do not normally have.
“I think Cushenberry is doing fine. One thing that he’s got going for him that a lot of rookies don’t have going for them is that he is smart. He’s picking things up very well. He’s calm at the line of scrimmage, as you know the center has to make a lot of calls. He excels at that. He’s not a totally honed up machine on it right now, but we expect that he will be. He’s got that going for him. He’s also got going for him that he played a lot of big games at LSU especially last year where they won it all on the big stage. I think that helped him too. We’re encouraged by him. It’s a good battle between him and [G/C] Austin [Schlottmann] and [C] Pat [Morris]. “
Schlottmann still started today as the starting center for the third straight day so he has the edge here, but it’s exciting to see Cushenberry get his feet wet with the first-team offense. Add in Fangio’s compliments about his intelligence and you can see why they view him as the future at center for this team.
Third cornerback remains tight per Fangio
Again, this is probably the most competitive positional battle ongoing in camp right now an according to Vic Fangio, the battle is tight.
Vic Fangio: No one has pulled away for the No. 3 CB. It's still "tight" among Bausby, Yiadom and Harris.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
He told the media that no one(Bausby, Harris, and Yiadom) has pulled away from each other.
Those three guys are tight. I can honestly say none of them have pulled away from the other two yet. It’s a real tight battle. We’re going to need at least two of those guys to surface and be a good part of this team and not just be part of the team by default. That’s going to be critical for us.”
All three have shined at times throughout camp per reports. Bausby has been the most consistent of the three it sounds like and was the better player last season, but Harris and Yiadom have made positive notes throughout the first five days of camp.
I still think it’s going to be Bausby because he has the size and ability to play outside and allow Callahan play the slot. Also, when healthy, he has been the better player of the three. I think Harris and potentially Yiadom have roles on this team, but Bausby should win this battle.
- Tight end Austin Fort remained sidelined and will miss all of Training Camp
- Tight end Nick Vannett is in the concussion protocol and will be out “ a few days” according to Head Coach Vic Fangio
- Tight end Noah Fant missed practice because he’s sick but it’s NOT Covid related
- Cornerback Devontae Harris has a knee contusion was working off the side today
- Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb was given the day off today as he returns from ACL surgery
News and Notes
- Broncos are planning on having a practice at the Stadium sometime next week per Vic Fangio
Tweets From Camp
DeMarcus Walker is today’s Griswold, because he’s the first one here. pic.twitter.com/XOnsyPU5Xw— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Welcome to #Broncos Camp Day 5. Coach Fangio getting in his morning steps. One thing noticed is that he’s more conversational this year with players across the roster. He’s not just DC running team. #Denver7 pic.twitter.com/k8fKSTGx2c— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) August 19, 2020
Bradley Chubb and Davontae Harris are standing off to the side during the stretching period.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
Should get clarity after practice when HC Vic Fangio addresses the media.
Shells for #Broncos today after two days in pads.— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 19, 2020
Don’t see Vannett or Fant.
With Nick Vannett and Noah Fant not out here, Jake Butt and Troy Fumagalli filled in for them the first OL in the offense takeoff to start the individual period.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Shelby Harris, Jurrell Casey and Mike Purcell lead the defensive line through an individual drill. pic.twitter.com/9u1nagxfB6— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
It is a small thing that can lead to something big. #Broncos @VonMiller has been leading drills in camp. This follows his promise to lead differently. He is bigger and stronger and taking on a larger leadership role. #Denver7 pic.twitter.com/xYamVFjRZF— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) August 19, 2020
Without Noah Fant or Nick Vannett at practice, Jake Butt will get plenty of reps to show his stuff— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 19, 2020
“I think we have a one-two-three punch. … I think all three of them — Royce, Phillip & Melvin — are really competing hard.”— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 19, 2020
We checked in with RBs Coach Curtis Modkins prior to Day 5 of #BroncosCamp: pic.twitter.com/cztPlbmrCJ
Cushenberry helps seal a lane for Phillip Lindsay for a nice gain.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
Juwann Winfree is participating in team period today.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
He was back in individual drills yesterday but didn’t do 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 work.
Lindsay with nice cutback off Risner/Schlottmann blocks. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) August 19, 2020
Cushenberry rotating onto the first team.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
More early pressure from this defense this morning. Malik Reed and Todd Davis among those making plays up the middle.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
Lloyd Cushenberry got his first reps with the first-team offense a moment ago.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
HC Vic Fangio said yesterday that Cushenberry, Schlottmann and Morris are all in the mix to start at center.
Lloyd Cushenberry got some run as Drew Lock's center doing the opening team period. Believe it's the first time we've seen him get that first-team run. Lock said the other day he likes the idea of all three players — Cushenberry, Schlottmann and Morris — shuffling in.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
Lock looks deep for DaeSean Hamilton, but didn’t really have a chance.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
A.J. Bouye was all over it.
Troy Fumagali has had a nice string of practices. Uphill battle he's facing in a very crowded TE room, but he's making the most of his chances.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
Ooof ... nice chance for Trinity Benson for a deep catch. Had to turn for Rypien's pass, but he was past two defenders, it was easily catchable. Off his hands.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Jake Butt with the end-zone drop of a potential Drew Lock TD pass. The drops are contagious today— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Lock to Jeudy in the red zone.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
Would’ve been stopped short of the end zone.
I’m a lot less concerned about the Broncos’ cornerback group than I was entering camp.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan have both been impressive, and I feel better about the No. 3 corner spot.
Court is in session.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 19, 2020
Judge Jeudy presiding. pic.twitter.com/boJMpVzTVr
Jeff Driskel had three plays in the 7-on-7 period, and twice he couldn't get a throw off because the whistle blew. Good coverage, obviously, but you want your QB to make a decision there and take a shot with the best chance of success.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Nice strong catch over the middle from Albert Okwuegbunam, another TE who is taking advantage of some extra reps today.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
Josey Jewell picks off a batted ball in the red zone. Jeff Driskel had completed a few nice balls to get inside the 20, but another nice play from the third-year inside linebacker, who is putting together a strong camp.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
Pretty, pretty pass from Lock to Sutton.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
Probably 40ish yards in the air, if I had to guess.
Cushenberry and Schlottmann both working with 1s at Center. Jeudy, Albert O also with Lock. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) August 19, 2020
Sutton once again shakes loose from Callahan and catches a touchdown pass from Lock, another dime that he dropped in between the cornerback and the closing safety, Kareem Jackson.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
30-yard TD from Lock to Sutton.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
Those two are picking up where they left off last year.
NICE catch by Troy Fumagalli ... back left of the end zone in first-and-goal from the 10, with Yiadom in coverage, Lock locates him and Fumagalli reaches up to pluck the ball for the score.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Bouye has been everything the Broncos hoped in camp thus far.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) August 19, 2020
Defense bounces back with consecutive end-zone pass break ups from Justin Simmons and A.J. Bouye. Players were really into that sequence. Good competitive back-and-forth.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
So after Sutton beats Callahan twice deep in the move-the-ball period, Lock looks for Sutton against Bouye in the red-zone period on third and goal near the right sideline, and Bouye gets his hands up and deflects the pass away.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 19, 2020
Nice catch and run from Tyrie Cleveland to get into the end zone. Really turned on the burners. Seems like every time you look up, No. 86 is making a play.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
Fangio on Albert O: “Albert has done good. Obviously he’s got some good receiving abilities. We’ve got to find out what type of blocker he is”— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 19, 2020
Fangio on Justin Strnad: “I like Justin so far. He shows ability in the pass defense”— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 19, 2020
Vic Fangio complimentary of fifth-round pick Justin Strnad.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 19, 2020
"We've got to speed up the process, but overall I think he's doing good. I like what I see."
Said the ILBs will suffer from the lack of preseason games, but he sees things from Strnad that suggest he'll be good.
Jake Butt is feeling healthy. Said he felt good to go midway through last year. He got meniscus clean up last year.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 19, 2020
Alexander Johnson says he’s working on the small things to continue to improve.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 19, 2020
Says his success last year wasn’t a surprise to him and his family.
Alexander Johnson on his goals Year 2: "If you trying to play football and you ain't trying to be a Pro Bowler, why are you playing?" Says other goal is to try to force more fumbles.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 19, 2020
Alexander Johnson says Jurrell Casey isn’t just going to help his game, but the entire defense.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 19, 2020
Alexander Johnson says Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon will put “CRAZY pressure” on opposing defenses.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 19, 2020
Head Coach Vic Fangio on his impressions of TE Albert Okwuegbunam
“Albert’s done well. Obviously, he’s got some good receiving abilities. We have to find out what kind of blocker he is. A big part of being a competent blocker is a mentality to want to block. As a tight end, a lot of times when you do block you’re having to block good players. A good bit of that is want to and toughness. We’re trying to figure that out with him to see if he has that part of his game.”
Head Coach Vic Fangio on how undrafted rookies can catch his eye with no preseason games
“They’re going to have to do it on the practice field. The one thing that is in their favor a little bit—and it’s just a crumb, by no means is it a big thing—is we are down to 80 guys. Of those 80, four of them are snappers and kickers. You’re down to 76 football players. They are getting more reps that if we had 90 here. The reps are coming for them. They’re just going to have to show it on the field quicker than guys in the past have. Obviously, those guys would get a lot of playing time in preseason games. That’s not going to happen. We’ll have some—we’ll practice as long as we can according to the CBA and get as many reps as we can. They’re going to have to speed it up. Like I told them, there’s no redshirt years. We want you to play.”
Linebacker Alexander Johnson on what his approach is now after being “a surprise” last season
“Where I take my own game, working on the little things, staying consistent, just working on the small things—I know you said I was a surprise. It might have been a surprise to some, but me and my family, a lot of other people knew it wasn’t a surprise. I love playing ball. I’m going to go out there and try and do the best I can do, do my job right and have fun and bring a lot of enthusiasm. Where I can take my game, you always can take your game higher. Whatever goals I had made or accomplished last year, I just want to keep increasing and being a better player for the team.”
Linebacker Alexander Johnson on what he is seeing from RB Melvin Gordon III and RB Phillip Lindsay in practice
“They’re going to be putting crazy pressure. They’re both athletic, both fast, know how to read, know how to cut. Those are—that’s a perfect lineup of running backs. I’m excited to watch them play this season because it’s going to be very exciting to watch them play. Both of them play with each other. You can bring them in and out and do all different things with them. It’s just going to make our offense and make our team a better team having them.”