clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2020 Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 12 news and notes

News and notes from day 12 of Broncos Camp

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Day 12 of Broncos Camp is in the books it was time for the scrimmage at Mile High Stadium. This practice was an exercise to prepare the team for what a game day experience will be since without the preseason they will not have a chance to replicate this. During today’s scrimmage, we have the offense struggling and the defense dominating, the offensive line starters taking shape, some injury concerns, rookie tight end Albert O becoming a red zone threat, injury updates, quotes, and more.

Offense struggles

There’s a lot of hype and excitement around the Broncos young offense, but they are going through some growing pains currently and today was no different. The offense struggled with rhythm all practice, with drops, miscommunications, turnovers, blocking and pretty much everything.

The Broncos defense had their way with them today.

Quarterback Drew Lock told reporters after practice that he’s happy that these mistakes are happening now so they can have time to correct them instead of them happening during the season.

“I’ve always been the guy who’s able to learn more from mistakes rather than being all daisies, all roses out there. It will be good for us to be able to go back and look at how we struggled, look at what we did wrong, especially like you said for those young guys. It’s big to struggle early I feel like. I got told this when I was in college. I’d rather—someone was telling me this, they’d rather me struggle early and be great later on. I’d rather us struggle right now, obviously, then be great when the season comes along.”

He was then asked about his attitude after today’s rough practice for him and the team’s offense. Lock told reporters that if you find a quarterback not butt hurt after a practice like today then you have the wrong guy. He also said he’s going to really try to correct himself so he and the offense can have a better practice come Monday.

“I feel like you do find a quarterback that’s not upset and hurt to the core after a practice where you kind of get your butt kicked, then you’ve got the wrong guy leading your team. Of course, right now I’m upset. I would have rather played a lot better, but it’s a learning moment for me. That’s where you have to go after the fact, after you get out the ‘Wow, that was bad,’ upset, beating yourself up. You can do that for probably a half hour after the game. Obviously, the emotions are running high. I’m going to do that probably for the next 10 more minutes. Then I’m going to let it go. I’m going to figure out what I did wrong, watch my feet. I’m going to watch the plays. I’m going to watch what the defense did, see if they brought something different today. I’m going to just really try and correct myself over the next days until we get out there Monday.”

I’m an action over words sort of guy so I’ll wait and see, but these type of comments are comments from a leader. I hope we see a better performance from the Broncos quarterback.

I think we need to temper our expectations for this offense early on anyways. They had no OTA’s, no mini camp practices and just an abbreviated Training Camp practice to learn a brand new scheme. Add in the amount of youth you have on this offense and you’re going to see practices like this. It’s going to take awhile before this offense is humming and we may not even see the full Shurmur offense until next season. So I wouldn’t panic just yet.

Defense Dominates

We are in year two of the Vic Fangio regime and the Broncos defense is looking like a well coached Vic Fangio scheme where the players are comfortable with the scheme.

They’re creating pressure, constant pressure, creating turnovers and are just making life hell for the Broncos offense each practice.

The scheme is proven and these performances has to have Broncos fans excited about their potential.

Linebacker/edge rusher Von Miller would have had multiple sacks, possibly even a few strip sacks, we had interceptions from Justin Simmons, Devontae Harris, Trey Marshall, and P.J. Locke and they just completely dominated the offense today.

Here’s what Head Coach Vic Fangio had to say about the defensive dominance today. He says it depends on which lens you’re looking through to say how you feel about today’s practice.

“A lot of times in team meetings I have to say it all depends what lens you’re looking through. If you’re an offensive player or an offensive coach, you didn’t like it. If you’re a defensive player or a defensive coach, you liked it. Where it is for us as a team, I’m not sure, but obviously, we can’t have that many turnovers on offense. It’d be great to get that many on defense each and every week. You have to pick what side you’re on there.”

I think it’s fair to say that the team will lean of the defense early in the season while the offense gets going which should be expected in all honesty. This team has the coaching, the talent and scheme to do it so I’m excited to see this unit out there against the Titans come week one.

Offensive line taking shape

Today’s practice gave us a good look at where the position battles stand along the Broncos offensive line. The battles at center and right tackle seem to be figured out, but with a week of training camp remaining, changes could still happen. However, the starters today will likely be your starting five come Monday night vs. the Titans.

Rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry was your starting center once again today and I think we can begin penciling him as our starter at center. He has ran away with the job and hasn’t given up first-team snaps to Schlottman or Morris so he appears good to go.

Now, at right tackle, Elijah Wilkinson was the man again a day after Head Coach Vic Fangio said it was his job to lose. If he performs well, he’ll keep it, if not? Veteran Demar Dotson will be placed in there. If today’s practice was any indication of what to expect, I think this battle might not be over just yet.

It’s obviously a tough assignment to line up against a future Hall Of Famer and arguably the best pass rusher in the league day in and day out but Von owned Wilkinson today. He would have had multiple sacks, strip sacks and was consistently in the backfield. Again, it’s tough to fairly judge him here but it’s not what you want. Add in he has struggled against Malik Reed at times as well and you have some red flags about that right tackle position...again.

I wouldn’t be shocked if we see Demar Dotson get more run with the first-team offense this week before the coaches making a decision of who’ll start there come week one. They brought in Dotson for a reason and Wilkinson hasn’t done enough to win the job, so it’s time to make the change in my opinon.

Bradley Chubb’s knee and Graham Glasgow’s ankle

The Broncos practice had a few scary injury moments. The first one came early into practice when starting right guard Graham Glasgow went down and was helped off the field while he was limping. He eventually went to the locker room and never returned and was replaced by Austin Schlottman at right guard.

Thankfully, it sounds like it’s a minor sprain of the ankle according to General Manager John Elway who spoke with Dave Logan and Rick Lewis after practice. We’ll have to await the official word to know the exact severity of his sprained ankle.

The next scary moment was when edge rusher Bradley Chubb who is recovering from a torn ACL left practice and sat on the bench for the rest of practice with an ice pack on his recovering knee. It was concerning to see him still dealing with pain in that knee, but it was quickly downplayed after practice as pre-cautionary.

Here is what Head Coach Vic Fangio had to say about these two injuries after practice.

“Graham tweaked his ankle early on. Don’t know the extent of it. He hurt his ankle and I don’t know the seriousness of it yet. Bradley just didn’t feel right out there, so for precautionary [reasons], we took him out.”

It doesn’t sound like Glasgow’s sprain is a serious one, but again, we don’t know the extent of it just yet, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of concern over it.

As for Chubb, I’m glad it’s just pre-cautionary and that there’s nothing seriously wrong with his surgically repaired knee. It’s still concerning, but Von Miller also downplayed the injury and told reporters that he’ll be ready to go week one.

“It’s tough. I don’t think it’s a serious injury. We talked on the sideline and stuff, and just be cautionary. Now is not the time to push it and go all out. We didn’t have a lot of time to go through our full routine. I was telling him, we’re Ferraris. Ferraris, sometimes the check engine light comes on. That doesn’t mean the car is broken or anything like that. We just have to get back into the lab, figure out what’s going on and get back at it. Bradley is good. He was kind of disappointed not to be out there in the scrimmage, but that’s just part of it. He’s still working his way back. He’ll be ready to go for the first game. I have all of the faith in mind.”

So hopefully we continue to get good news from both of these two players injuries going forward and come Monday.

Albert O. becoming a red zone weapon

One thing has become a constant during this Broncos camp and that has been rookie tight end Albert O. being a weapon in the red zone. That continued today where he caught two touchdowns today from quarterback’s Jeff Driskell and Brett Rypien.

Quarterback Drew Lock played with Albert O. at Missouri and the two had great chemistry and Drew knows him well. So here’s what Lock had to say about his impressions of big Albert O. so far in camp.

“The guy’s a monster. He just has a really good feel for the 20-and-in. He just really does. You throw him up a ball he’s going to go get it. He’s sneaky. He’s slippery fast down there. We’ll put it that way. Open field, he’s going to blow by you. In the red zone it’s just kind of a sneaky fast. It doesn’t look like he’s moving very quick then all of a sudden he’s two yards behind the guy or slipped underneath the guy somehow. He’s doing a really good job right now. Just like we all do, we all need to keep focusing on the little things and just trying to be perfect. I’ve been really impressed with Albert since he’s been here. He’s definitely more of a grown man than the last time I saw him two years ago.”

With 2019 first-round pick Noah Fant entrenched as the Broncos starter at tight end, Albert O. has the potential to give the Broncos two big athletic tight ends to work with in the red zone. Fant showed off some of his big play ability last season and Albert O. is proving to be productive in the red zone so this can add an effective extra element to the Broncos offense.

Injury Report

  • Rookie wide receiver K.J. Hamler sat out practice with a hamstring injury
  • Inside linebacker Todd Davis will sit out practice with a calf injury but he should be returning to the practice field sooner rather than later according to Head Coach Vic Fangio
  • Wide receiver Juwaan Winfree remained sidelined with a groin injury
  • Safety Alijah Holder has a soft-tissue injury and will remained sidelined for today’s practice
  • Rookie cornerback Michael Ojemudia has a quad injury and is considered week to week for now.
  • Tight end Troy Fumagalli missed practice with a “medical issue” and the team will know more on Monday
  • Guard Graham Glasgow left practice after tweaking his ankle, the severity is unknown at this point
  • Linebacker Bradley Chubb left practice for precautionary reasons after his knee did not feel right
  • Quarterback Drew Lock was looked at for a short period of time after having his foot stepped on but he returned and will be fine

Tweets from Camp

Quotables

Head Coach Vic Fangio On if QB Drew Lock is doing a good job of not making the same mistake twice

“I do think so, and I think today will be a very good learning experience for him and for the entire offense. You know, there were some interceptions out there. There’s a story behind every interception, whether it be a poor read on his part, poor throw on his part, poor route on someone else’s part or a route not being run exactly the way he’s anticipating it. We’ll get to the bottom of those and get to the story behind each and every one. I do think it’s something he can correct, but I thought today was a very valuable day for him.”

Head Coach Vic Fangio On where the team is at this point

“I like our team. I like where we’re at. Obviously, I wish some of the guys that have been missing time with the nagging injuries were practicing, but I like where we’re at. It’s a little uncomfortable comparing it to all the other years in the NFL with the lack of time and no preseason games, but all 32 of us are in the same boat. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. We have to do well. We have five days of practice this coming week before we get into Tennessee week. These are probably the most valuable practices we’ll have through camp. We have to take advantage of them to iron out some things, get sharp and get ready for our opener.”

Quarterback Drew Lock on On how he gets the passing game gaining traction with five practices left before a game week

“I think it’s just focusing on the little things. It’s the minor details in the passing game. It always has been whether that’s my footwork, whether that’s the amount of steps in the route, whether that’s the pass game. That’s why passing in this league is so hard. There are three units that have to work together and be great at the same time. They have to be precise. We all have to be on the right page. I think it’s just going to be honing in on what we’re going to be running against Tennessee. Another thing about training camp is this is never an excuse because it’s your playbook and you better master it, but you’ve got the whole thing. You have to be ready for every single play where when you go into a game week you know what plays you’re about to run. You’ve practiced those plays the whole week. You’ve drawn the plays up multiple times to where maybe having just a little extra practice, keep pushing the practice, keep being perfect in practices it will come together by Tennessee week.”

Linebacker Von Miller On how he looks at the defense forcing four turnovers and the offense struggling today from the perspective of a team leader

“It’s just how it is sometimes. We didn’t play a full game. We just had little snippets of the game. We just had little snippets of offense. That’s just how it is. You give the offense a couple of drives or two or three drives to get started, I’m betting on them all day. We’ve got too many weapons over there. We have [TE] Noah Fant, [TE] Albert [Okwuegbunam], [TE] Jake Butt; we have [RB] Melvin Gordon, [RB] Phillip Lindsay, [WR] Courtland Sutton, [WR] Jerry Jeudy. We have all of these guys. It doesn’t concern me. We were just able to go out there and play defense. It was really just the start of the game. We couldn’t really get into the full momentum of what it should be. I have all of the faith in the offense. We have too many weapons.”

Linebacker Von Miller On players like WR Jerry Jeudy not having experience getting tackled without preseason

“Jerry Jeudy went to Alabama. I’m not concerned about Jerry Jeudy taking a hit or his physicality or anything like that. At the end of the day, we’re all pros and these are the cards that we’re given. We can’t tackle everybody and risk injury in practice. We just have to wait for the game. I’m sure other teams are doing it as well. These are cards we’re dealt, and this is what we have to do. For me, I get to tackle the most unathletic guy on the football field. I’m not too concerned about me tackling the quarterback or a running back at an angle. For the guys off the ball like [S] Kareem [Jackson] and [S] Justin [Simmons], [ILBs] Todd [Davis], A.J. (Alexander Johnson) and Josey Jewell, those guys have to hit. I don’t think it will be a big deal.”