clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021 Broncos Training Camp: Day 1 news and notes

The Broncos kicked off their 2021 season today with their first Training Camp practice.

DENVER BRONCOS, NFL Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Our Denver Broncos returned to the field for the first time this summer to take part in their first Training Camp practice of the 2021 NFL season.

We have an update on the quarterback battle, the second-year receivers stepping up, Von Miller looking dominant as usual, get ready to see plenty of dime packages, injury updates, news and notes, quotes, and more.

Both Lock and Bridgewater look good today

Today we got our first real look into the Broncos quarterback competition and both came away with “good” days, according to Head Coach Vic Fangio.

“It was good. I prefer to watch the tape first to give you a better answer. From my point of view out there, I thought they both did well.”

Drew Lock threw two touchdowns today. One of them was to Jerry Jeudy, who was an explosive weapon throughout practice, and the other was to a wide-open Trinity Benson, who also hauled in two touchdowns as well. Lock was the flashier of the two today, but it’s good to see him out there making some plays.

As for Teddy Bridgewater, he was more consistent, looked better in the pocket but didn’t have the flash plays that Lock did. He had a dropped long reception by Tyrie Cleveland but outside of that, he looked like steady Teddy.

If you’re looking for a “winner,” it appears it was more of a wash today. Some give Lock the edge because of the touchdowns, but they’ll also say Teddy was more consistent and looked better in the pocket.

The battle will continue tomorrow!

Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler looking great

The Broncos spent their first two picks in the 2020 NFL Draft on wide receivers, and both showed up today and played well during the first day of Training Camp. Jerry Jeudy looks ready to break out while Hamler proved his speed makes him dangerous whenever he has the ball in his hands.

Jeudy created separation throughout practice, caught everything, ran crisp routes, and just looked like the player we all thought we were getting when the Broncos selected him in the first round last year.

Broncos Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons told reporters after practice he think Jeudy could have an All-Pro/Pro Bowl type year this season for the Broncos.

“No, I don’t think that’s an overreaction at all. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jeudy can have an All-Pro, Pro Bowl season this year. He’s just that good. Everyone wants to talk about what happened last year, but I’m not worried about it one bit. I’ve seen the work that he’s been putting in during the offseason. I saw what he did in OTAs. We only got a snippet of it today [of him] snagging passes out of the air way outside his body frame. That’s just the beginning. Competition is something he never shies from, and I know he’s going to be tremendous for us this year. He’s going to be big.”

If the Broncos can get consistent quarterback play this year, we could see Jeudy breakout in a huge way.

As for Hamler, he also looked good today. His speed was evident and he figures to be a playmaker wherever the Broncos line him up this season.

Quarterback Drew Lock heaped some praise towards Hamler after practice today when he met with the media.

“First off, if you’re under 10 yards, he’ll be able to shake you and he’ll be able to get open in man-to-man. I think when he gets into press situations and press-man, he doesn’t shy [away] from it either. Most of the time when you get a semi undersized guy, they can’t get off press, or they aren’t physical enough. KJ is super physical. When you get past the 10 yards, I don’t know. There’s not a lot of people that can hang with him when he has the jets going and he’s a 100 percent healthy. As long as we can keep him healthy, I think he’s big for us.”

With Courtland Sutton coming back healthy with Jeudy and Hamler beginning to come into their own, we could see some exciting things this season from the Broncos' receivers.

Von looking like normal

After missing the entire 2020 NFL season, Von Miller, now 32 years old, looked like his usual dominant self during day one of Denver Broncos Training Camp, which is great news for the Broncos.

Miller was back out there pumping up the crowd, being the character that he is and making life hell for the right tackle and the quarterback. He had a few would-be sacks today and just looked like his dominant self. As for Von potentially ruining a practice for the offense, Head Coach Vic Fangio said that “I won’t keep him from doing that. That’s the defense’s job to do that.”

If the Broncos can get a full healthy season from both Von Miller and Bradley Chubb that could go a long way toward the Broncos making it back to the postseason.

Dime package

With the NFL changing and getting more pass-happy, nickel and dime defenses are becoming the team's base defenses and that appears to be the case with the Broncos in 2021.

This really isn’t a surprise, but we saw a lot of dime package during today’s practices which allow the Broncos deep and talented secondary to be on the field all at once. Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby on the outside, Bryce Callahan in the slot, and first-round pick Patrick Surtain being that matchup guy. All four of these guys are interchangeable and gives the Broncos plenty of flexibility with their secondary.

If the Broncos are dime heavy this year, we could see some interesting roster decisions at the linebacker and defensive line position. Dime asks for one linebacker, so which of Josey Jewell or Alexander Johnson would get those reps? As for the defensive line, where does Mike Purcell factor into this? A run plugging nose tackle would see his snaps get cut just a bit

Injury Updates

  • Edge Rusher Bradley Chubb was held out of team drills (ankle). This likely continues for a few more days before they unleash him.
  • Tight End Albert Okwuegbunam was a limited participant during today’s practice (ACL).
  • Wide receiver Courtland Sutton participated fully but will wear a knee brace throughout the year. Tight End Albert O. also participated fully after tearing his ACL last year but both will be eased into action
  • Wide Receiver K.J. Hamler left practice late because of “a little tightness” but Head Coach Vic Fangio did not seem concerned about it at all.

News and Notes

Quotables

Tackle Garett Bolles on OLB Von Miller calling him the best left tackle in football

“Hey man, I take the compliment. I’ve got a long way to go. I love [OLB] Von [Miller] dearly, we work hard together, but I feel like I’m on the right track. I had a great season last year, but that’s last year. I’ve got to do it again this year. Everyone’s doubted me my whole career so, I’m going to let the doubter’s doubt. I’m just going to do my job, and I’m just going to put in on paper and let everyone else decide who the best is.”

Tackle Garett Bolles on what makes him think T Calvin Anderson is on the next step of his career

“[T] Calvin [Anderson] is on that step. I love Calvin dearly, he’s like my little brother. He lived with me all last year, we train together, we talk all the time, we text all the time, we watch film all the time. So he has it, and it’s up to him. So if he wants that job he going to go out and get it. I’m excited for him. He brings a whole strong side to that right side, so I’m really looking forward to seeing his improvement every day as we talk. We’re like big brother little brother, so I love that relationship, and I’m grateful he’s here.”

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on his chemistry with Jeudy

“The thing about these guys—we can sit here and talk about Jerry all day. That entire room, they embrace each other. They’re brothers, and that’s what you love to see. It’s a group that pushes each other. So now, when Jerry is out there, Jerry is making a play, but there are 10 other guys who are doing their job, and there are three other guys on the route, or four other guys on the route who are helping Jerry get open. Jerry, he made a great play today. He put his foot in the ground. It was third down and he went up and made a tough catch and came down with it. Those are some of the things that we’re excited about. That entire room—those guys can make plays, and we expect that from them.”

Quarterback Drew Lock On the benefits of continuity among the offense

“Yeah, it helps you breathe a little a bit—literally and mentally at the same time. It’s been nice to have those guys, especially when you walk into a huddle and you look around and it’s all guys you’ve seen before. There’s a certain sense of feeling comfortable in the huddle, and it’s not just me. I feel like Jerry, KJ, and any of those guys—Noah, Albert, [TE] Eric [Saubert]. Any time they get next to [each other]—they’ve grinded with these guys, they’ve worked with these guys and they’ve sweated with these guys. It brings us all close. Sure, it’s comfortable being around the same people, but I think it brings us together when those guys get to stay around, and they get to have the same group and make relationships with [each other]. They’ve been through some rough times and they all want the good times to come. When you bring someone new in, it’s like maybe they came from a really good spot, and maybe they don’t know what it’s like to push through this stuff. Us having that similar group and realizing that now is the time to roll, we have to roll, we have to start winning, we have to start playing well and we have to start playing smart. Being able to have those guys in there that have gone through those same things helps a lot.”

Safety Justin Simmons On how the new additions to the secondary have adjusted so far

“It’s great. Honestly, [CB Ronald] Darby is so athletically gifted that a lot of this is kind of seamless for him. With any type of defense, it’s just the verbiage that changes. Conceptually, everything is almost the same. There’s only so many coverages that you can run. The verbiage is what changes. Once we get that communication down from a secondary standpoint, it’ll be great. [CB] Kyle [Fuller] is amazing. Kyle has already been in this defense. He’s been in since Day 1 and he’s already talked about how things are different. Here’s how they ran it in Chicago, and this is what’s a little bit different now. This is what he prefers, and this is what ‘Jack’ (S Kareem Jackson) and I prefer. That’s the biggest thing—just communication. How can we all make this thing work so we can be the best in the league. It’s been great. It helps having [CB] Bryce [Callahan] because Bryce knows us really well and he knows Kyle really well. He’s kind of that bridge that’s kind of helped bring everything together. It’s really a great room, and I’m really excited for us and what we can do this year.”

Tweets From Camp