Good morning, Broncos Country!
Yes, it’s practice.
But the highlights we’re seeing on a near daily basis from Drew Lock and his receivers ... in the words of Pepper Brooks from Dodgeball, “Effin’ A, Cotton! Effin’ A!”
We knew the potential was there. I’ve talked about it since the NFL draft when John Elway and the Denver Broncos got Jerry Jeudy in the first round and followed up with KJ Hamler in the second. You throw in Courtland Sutton and the forgotten one, Tim Patrick. Then add in Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.
We still needed to see it on the field, though.
Yes, it’s practice, but what we’re seeing and hearing is a great sign. When you consider this is the first time the Broncos have been on the field given the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more impressive.
As Lock told the media earlier this week:
“I think every day that we go out, get a little bit better with timing with receivers. The one thing — the big thing — is it’s been almost five, six months for a lot of us. That was the first pocket that the (quarterbacks) have been in in a long time. It’s the first time the O-line has had to take on guys fully rushing at them. Same thing with receivers — getting jammed up, having to run five, six routes in a row rather than routes on air where you get to chill out and have the guys in front of you take some reps. The basic thing is that this is the first time in a long time we’ve all been back out there. That’s what we’re trying to get better at — the basics, pocket fundamentals, the O-line doing their thing, receivers doing their thing. Same with the defense. We have to get back into it and get things rolling.”
Then you remember Lock and Denver’s offense has a new offensive coordinator on top of the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the offseason. The fact the Broncos offense has executed so early in training camp show this is just the start of what it can accomplish and look like. The hope is Lock and the offense gets even more motivated by this. You know Vic Fangio, Pat Shurmur and the rest of the coaches will have that expectation.
Lock to the media:
“I think it’s a testament to all the coaches on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball. The defense got us a little bit that first day, but it’s the same thing — testament to our coaches here. They didn’t have a lot of time to get us ready, and like you said, for how young we are, (it’s) the first time learning an NFL offense for a lot of these guys. This is a brand new offense for the whole offense. It’s literally been a culmination of one little baby step at a time. We’ve done a great job of prepping beforehand. We’re about to get to the point where we’re installing new plays and having to go out and run it. We’ve had install one, install two and install three ready. Keep it clean. That’s what I did last year. When we came out and ran the first couple installs, I thought I was the man. Then we got to the last couple installs and I’m like, ‘Wow, these are kind of starting to pile up.’ I think our coaches are doing a good job of keeping us ahead of schedule on these scripts and plays in general. We’ve just got to keep piling it on and not let it overwhelm us as a young offense.”
Added Fangio, on if the offense is further along than he expected:
“Yeah possibly, I think our coaches and players did a good job with the virtual aspect of the offseason. That has continued with the early phase in part of camp. Yeah, I think they’ve all done a good job in that regard.”
As for Jeudy, the rookie from Alabama continues to impress, though that’s not unsurprising. The receiver loves the game and loves to put in the work, and it shows.
“We’ll say Jerry is pretty good. We’ll put it that way. I’m not putting anything out there and establishing expectations for that young man to hold up because I know if someone would have said that I was the best thrower they’ve ever seen last year, I would have gone into games with a little bit of added pressure. Jerry has been great. I think the best thing that I’ve seen out of Jerry is how hard he comes out and works every day and just how on top of it he is — no questions asked. I pop in there and call plays out. Same with KJ, same with Albert (Okwuegbunam) and same with a lot of these guys. I’ve just been extremely impressed with how much work the guys around us have been putting in to be able to come out ready to go every single day knowing that we don’t have very many days to be ready for that Monday night game against Tennessee.”
Yes, it’s practice. But there is reason to feel excited about Lock and the Broncos offense. The potential was there, but now they’re putting it on the field.
Right tackle Elijah Wilkinson on his impressions of Lock:
“I think that he’s growing day-by-day. We’re getting more and more close — him, Sutton, Jeudy, tight ends. Everybody is honing in on their technique, really hunkering down on the details and really getting locked in to be able to execute this season, come out here firing and score some points this season.”
Added Fangio after practice on Friday:
“Yeah, I was pleased with the way that they finished practice obviously in the short-yardage and goal line, but we have to make sure we can move it well enough to get down to the goal line and move it well enough to get short yardage at times. It wasn’t our sharpest practice offensively up until the end, but like I said, I see flashes. I see the potential, but flashes and potential doesn’t win in the league. We have to feel the urgency of how close we are to this opening game and start looking really good.”
If Lock and Denver’s offense keeps this early momentum going and follows Fangio’s edict, to quote Pepper from Dodgeball again, Broncos Country might need new shorts.
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