Day 3 of Broncos camp is in the books and we had a bounce-back performance by Drew Lock, the best pass of camp thus far, a quarterback battle update, a big pancake block by Cushenberry, news and notes, an injury update, quotes, and more.
Jerry Jeudy continues his great Training Camp
The rise of second-year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy continues. He has probably been the Broncos' best player in camp thus far and that continued today as he continued to separate and get open today.
Jeudy looks like he’s becoming a WR1 before our eyes.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
His route running has always been top-notch, his explosive ability has always been there, the hands weren’t great but so far, they have looked great. Now, it appears he has put it all together and is pushing to be the Broncos' number one receiver.
Head Coach Vic Fangio mentioned after practice that Jeudy looked more polished entering into his second year with the Broncos.
“Yeah, he’s a lot more polished and better and more prepared to play right now then he was last year. He knows the game better. He’s got a feel of what NFL football is like—making the adjustment from college to pro. He had limited time to do that last year—no preseason games. He had an up and down rookie year; some great moments, some bad moments. I think those have really helped shape him. He’s had a really great offseason and it’s carried over to camp.
Jeudy being more comfortable is evident on the practice field. He’s not dropping the ball, not thinking too much, and just playing football and it’s showing on the field.
Broncos cornerback Ronald Darby battles Jeudy every practice and was asked if he’s enjoying his battles with the electric receiver. He responded by praising the Broncos receiver’s entire game and explaining how it motivates him as well.
“He’s going to get you right. He’s a great route runner. He knows how to sell his routes. He has speed, quickness. He can get in and out of his breaks. He comes out here and competes every day. Like, he’s one of the first people out here every morning. He’s ready to work every day. So that wakes me up and has me ready to go. It helps me.”
It appears that Jeudy may be on the verge of a big breakout season this year. Both quarterbacks are targeting him in practice and I would imagine that would continue throughout the season as well.
Drew Lock with the throw of camp thus far
After a pretty rough day yesterday for Drew Lock, he had a bounce-back day today and was considered the “winner” of the day by all reporters in attendance. The notable play and likely the best throw so far in camp happened today by Lock when he completed a 50-yard bomb to K.J. Hamler. It was a great play by both parties and Hamler burned the second-team defensive corner Parnell Motley for the touchdown.
It was during 7-on-7 and against the second team, but still a good throw and catch by the two. Fangio was asked if these sorts of plays during 7-on-7 mean less to him and he responded “Yeah, to me they do.” so, let’s not get too carried away with this.
As for the overall picture, Lock was the better quarterback today. He was more consistent, made the bigger splash plays, and had the better competition percentage. This doesn’t mean that Teddy Bridgewater was bad today. He was just even-keeled as he has been so far in camp and didn’t have the highest of highs that Drew had today but has not had the lowest of lows that Drew had yesterday.
Also, the Broncos defense was without Von Miller, Shelby Harris, and Kareem Jackson today and the pressure wasn’t coming like it was yesterday, so things were easier for them as a whole as well.
At the end of the day, these two quarterbacks are playing like advertised. Drew Lock will have the big splash plays and periods of high-level play then turnovers and periods of below-average play. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater checks the ball down more, doesn’t have the highest of highs that Lock has but also won’t have the long periods of below-average play. So basically, Teddy won’t run away with this job unless Drew Lock loses it.
Head Coach Vic Fangio basically echoed these sentiments after practice when he met with the media.
“Pretty much the same coming in as I had. They’ve been pretty consistent, both of them. I see no separation if that’s what you’re asking.”
I don’t know the right answer here and I am interested to see how this plays out moving forward. The padded practices and scrimmages will be key in this quarterback battle.
Second-year center Llyod Cushenberry made the block heard around the practice field during today’s practice. He absolutely pancaked starting inside linebacker Alexander Johnson during a swing pass from Drew Lock to Melvin Gordon.
Cushenberry flattened Alexander Johnson on a swing pass from Lock to Gordon. Mercy— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
This play fired up guard Dalton Risner who talked about how the competition between both lines is making both sides better as they proceed through Training Camp.
“Yeah man. That’s football right there. That’s football. You’re at a practice and of course you want to stay up. Our main priority is taking care of each other out there on the football field but, at the same time we’re trying to get better. D-Line does that to us as well, linebackers do that to us as well, and that was one of the plays where [C] Lloyd [Cushenberry III] did his job and he got ‘A.J.’ (ILB Alexander Johnson). You heard ‘A.J.’ after, he went up to him and he said, ‘Not again. You messed up now. I’m coming after you now,’ and that’s football. That’s what I’m saying. We didn’t have any pads on out there today and look what we were doing. We’re working now. So you can gauge a lot. You can gauge a lot off what we’re doing out there. We’re working. I love it, and let’s just hope it’s never the offensive line that’s on the ground but, today we got the linebackers.”
If the Broncos can get better play from the middle of their line, it would go a long way towards improving this offense in 2021. I think the offense is going to be very run-oriented this upcoming season, so we’ll need the best out of this group.
Rookie Patrick Surtain looking like a veteran
The Denver Broncos selected cornerback Patrick Surtain II with their 9th overall selection in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. It was a bit of a surprise pick with many expecting a quarterback, but so far, Surtain isn’t making many regret the selection. Despite entering his first Training Camp in the NFL and with the Broncos, he’s out there playing and acting like a veteran according to his teammates.
Bryce Callahan says Patrick Surtain has adjusted to the NFL and picked up the Broncos defense quicker than he’s ever seen a rookie. Says he looks like he’s been in the NFL a few years. WOW.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2021
When asked about how Surtain is acclimating to the NFL, fellow cornerback Bryce Callahan stated that he’s acclimating quicker than probably any other rookie he has seen.
“Oh yeah. Probably one of the quickest I’ve seen a rookie acclimate to a defense and pick up multiple spots. It’s pretty impressive.”
Callahan continued to compliment Surtain’s technique which was a strength of his coming out of Alabama and how calm, cool, and collected he has been despite being a rookie.
“His press technique. He kind of looks like he’s been in the league for a couple of years already. Real calm. He’s got a lot going for him.”
Fellow cornerback Ronald Darby echoed this sentiment as well. He stated that Surtain II is already showing a bunch of natural abilities that most young corners need to learn and that he is working hard to continue to improve.
“He is for sure. He has a lot of natural abilities like getting his head back for the ball, playing the ball, just focusing on the ball. He gets up there, compete, press, play off the ball. [He’s] patient, willing to learn, doesn’t complain. He works hard.”
It sounds like the Broncos got themselves another good former Alabama prospect. I expect us to see a lot of Surtain this season with the Broncos using more dime packages and moving him around in the defense.
- Nose tackle Mike Purcell went to the locker room under his own power after suffering an apparent right leg injury. According to Head Coach Vic Fangio, the early prognosis is a sprained ankle.
- Edge rusher Bradley Chubb continued to be held out of team drills.
- Wide receiver Tim Patrick was held out of practice today because of soreness in his leg. It’s nothing serious and Fangio said he could have practiced and played today.
- Rookie linebacker Baron Browning, cornerback Essang Bassey, and defensive back Duke Dawson remain on the PUP.
- Rookie cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. and safety Jamar Johnson remain on the Covid-19 list.
News and Notes
- It was a veteran day off day for edge rusher Von Miller and safety Kareem Jackson.
- Veteran Bobby Massie received the first-team reps at right tackle today after Calvin Anderson received them the past two practices.
- The Broncos were in shells for the first time this Training Camp.
- The Broncos will put on the pads for the first time on Tuesday.
- Running back Mike Boone’s explosiveness has been noticeable per reports from camp and is a name to watch during the preseason.
- Running back Melvin Gordon has looked really good throughout camp as well.
- Rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain has looked like a veteran out on the field which is good news for us Broncos fans.
- Broncos visited with tight end Deon Yelder recently after he was waived by Washington Football Team.
Head Coach Vic Fangio on DL McTelvin Agim’s growth entering Year 2 of his career
“Good. He’s a lot better player right now then he was on this date a year ago, which he should be. But he’s worked extremely hard in the offseason. He had the benefit of the OTAs and the minicamp and all the meetings. He had the benefit of learning what he doesn’t know last year when he did get to play. So, he’s going through the natural progression, but he did a great job this offseason to speed that up.”
Head Coach Vic Fangio On the joint practices in Minnesota potentially meaning more in the evaluation process with one less preseason game
“No, I don’t think—I mean, it weighs heavy, but these practices weigh heavy. When we go to Minnesota it’s going to be like these practices, just we’re going against Minnesota. So, it’s going to be nice. The atmosphere will be amped up a little bit. It’ll be nice to see how the guys react, so it is a little different but it’s still just practice.”
Cornerback Ronald Darby on his overall impressions of the Broncos’ wide receiving core
“Great, great. You have speed and size. That’s all you can ask for: speed and size. Every day they’re out here ready to work. I don’t hear any complaining; they’re going full speed—even when it’s a run play, they try to block me. They work hard every day.”
Tight end Noah Fant on his impressions of TE Albert Okwuegbunam at this stage of his rehab
“He’s doing good. He and [WR] Courtland [Sutton] both coming back from those ACL [injuries] isn’t a very easy recovery, so they’re both doing great. Albert is exactly where he needs to be in his ACL recovery. He’s been doing really good things on the field. I think he should be good to go depending on how he feels. Obviously, you don’t want to rush back too soon or take too much time. We’re excited to have him, and I think that he’s going to do good things.”
Tight End Noah Fant on if he saw Lock’s touchdown pass to WR KJ Hamler
“I did, I did see that. That was a very—I went up to him after he threw that and told him that was a really good pass—on the money, down the field, touchdown. You can’t ask for better than that. He deserves all the credit, and then KJ deserves a lot of credit for catching it. He made a diving catch in the end zone. [I’ve] definitely been really impressed with KJ coming out here. He’s shown a lot of really good things. The guy can run. He’s going to be really good for us.”
Guard Dalton Risner on C Quinn Meinerz as he takes on his first NFL training camp
“He’s done a great job. I mean, [C] Quinn Meinerz is a guy that comes from D-III football and got drafted in the third round. You have so much respect for his story, and he’s working his tail off day in and day out. I think he’s going to be a great attribution to our team. I think he’s going to end up doing really well. Of course, he’s learning right now. He’s getting better each and every day. He’s doing well with the two’s right now, but he’s going to continue to compete for jobs. Whether that’s at guard, center, whatever it is, and I think he’s going to be a great player for us. Just like when I showed up to where I’m at now, there’s a lot of growing to be done and a lot of maturing to be done. A lot of figuring out techniques and plays, and preseason games. We’re so early in this. It’s great to talk to you, but we’re also still early. We haven’t even played a preseason game. Quinn is doing an extremely good job, very proud of him as well as the rest of my offensive line.”
Tweets From Camp
WR Tyrie Cleveland has been plagued by the drops through first three days of camp.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 30, 2021
Pat Surtain II with nice, tight coverage in 7-on-7 and records a PBU.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 30, 2021
Lock has all the splash throws among the two QBs so far today.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
Cushenberry flattened Alexander Johnson on a swing pass from Lock to Gordon. Mercy— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
Jerry Jeudy looks infinitely more comfortable out here this year. Looks like he owns the place.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 30, 2021
Really cool to see.
Jerry Jeudy is always open.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2021
Teddy Bridgewater with a couple of nice completions down the field to Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 30, 2021
Showing he can push the ball in this offense.
Jerry Jeudy is slicing and dicing CBs today…nearly broke Bryce Callahans ankles on a fake inside that he took up the sideline for a big play and then blazed past Surtain a few plays later on a crossing route for a 25 yard completion. #Broncos @KOAColorado— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) July 30, 2021
Trinity Benson has some burners. Deep touchdown grab after a nice go ball from Brett Rypien.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) July 30, 2021
In the last period it was good to see Teddy make solid throws down the field.— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) July 30, 2021
Ok. So by far the most interesting team period of camp. From the 50. ALL THREE qbs had great moments. Teddy throwing deep. Drew hitting Jeudy putting Callahan in the spin cycle. Rypien hitting Benson deep for TD. Offense totally dominating. #teddyvsdrew #Broncoscamp also Cush— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) July 30, 2021
Not a pretty deep ball for Teddy, looking for Jeudy downfield with Darby in coverage. Bit of a duck for the ex-Minnesota QB— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
Ronald Darby with a great PBU down the sideline covering Jerry Jeudy. Teddy’s pass was wobbly, but still make it to a Jeudy, but Darby jumped up and batted it away at the goal line— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2021
Good day for the offense. Both quarterbacks got it going in the back half of practice. Jerry Jeudy was everywhere. Ronald Darby showcased speed with some tight coverage on a couple deep throws. Offensive line protection was better today.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) July 30, 2021
“Checkdowns are good, but you need more than checkdowns.” — Vic Fangio— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
I’m giving the edge to Drew Lock today. Both QBs were extremely accurate, but Drew was slightly more accurate and had the bigger splash plays.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 30, 2021
It wasn’t until late in the practice that Teddy had his first completion over 10 yards.
We’ve got a nice little battle going here.
Bryce Callahan says the Broncos defense is “loaded.”— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2021
Bryce Callahan on Pat Surtain II: “He kind of looks like he’s been in the league for a couple years.”— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 30, 2021
Noah Fant says the QB competition is going well.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2021
“Dra is showing some really good things.”
“Teddy is being a leader.”
“I like catching passes from both.”
Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater stayed after practice to get in more work.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2021
The day goes to Lock. Downfield connection to Jeudy early in practice (v. Motley) & Teddy missing his shot for Jeudy deep left is the difference (v. Darby, but bad throw) Both QBs set up Fant and Jeudy for good gains; both had a fair amount of checkdowns — Teddy more than Lock.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
“This is the best I’ve felt about the offensive-line unit since I’ve been here.” — Dalton Risner— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2021
Ronald Darby said Jerry Jeudy is fast, quick and gets out of his break really quick. Says going up against Jeudy helps him.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2021
Jeudy has consistently looked like a star. Hamler’s talent has popped every day.— Joey Richards (@JRDrafts) July 30, 2021
Both look like 1st and 2nd round guys entering year two.