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2021 Broncos Training Camp: News and notes

The Broncos put the pads back on and had a sloppy offensive practice today.

Denver Broncos Training Camp Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Day (I’ve lost track) of Training Camp are in the books and it was a sloppy one for the Broncos offense. There were drops, sub-par quarterback play, poor blocking and just lethargic play in general. We also have Surtain playing the slot, rookie Jonathon Cooper standing out, an injury report, news and notes, quotes, and more

Sloppy play from the offense

It wasn’t a great one from the Broncos offense today. We saw a numbers of drop, sub-par play from the quarterbacks and just a sluggish performance from a unit that looked stellar vs. the Vikings.

When asked about how a practice looks, coaches usually give a generic answer. However, after today’s Broncos practice, Head Coach Vic Fangio told reporters that today’s practice “might have been a little lethargic”.

“Yeah, it might have been. We have to focus. We come back and get ready to do a normal training camp type practice. We have to get locked in better. We have to catch the ball; we have to throw it better—all that.”

Reporters at practice backed this up. Neither quarterback really lit it up, there were bad drops from receivers and tight ends, and just not the type of practice you wanted to see from a team coming off a big win.

I wouldn’t sound the alarms. We’ve seen this before from the Broncos and even during the teams first scrimmage with the Vikings. They looked bad, sloppy, and the Vikings dominated them that day. They then bounced back a day later and then dominated them in the game. So, this isn’t the end of the world, but hopefully we see a bounce back day from them tomorrow.

As for who “won the day”, well, it was a wash. These practice wins and losses have lost their impact with games being played now anyways.

Jonathan Cooper making noise

One player who did stand out today was seventh round rookie pass rusher Jonathan Cooper.

He received some first-team reps and was exploding off the line today when given the chance. Head Coach Vic Fangio was asked about Cooper after practice and he talked about the obstacles he faced this offseason (multiple heart surgeries) that cost him the entire offseason and how they like where he is currently.

“He was a good player at Ohio State. He played hard, he played tough. You can tell he has a passion for the game. He’s a guy that’s very coachable and he’s fulfilled that so far. He had to overcome missing the entire offseason. We like where he’s at right now.”

The Broncos edge depth was a question coming into camp. Von was coming off a missed season, Chubb was coming off a surgery and that left Malik Reed and not much else behind these two. Cooper stepping up and proving to be potentially a seven round steal for the Broncos.

Surtain in the slot

One thing that happened today that caught the attention of the media was rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain getting first-team slot reps ahead of veteran Bryce Callahan.

He later suffered a minor injury that sidelined him for practice but it would have been interesting to see if that would continue or just something they wanted to try out.

This led some to speculate whether or not Bryce Callahan’s roster spot could be in danger and/or if he’s on the block. It would make some sense too. This would allow Surtain to see the field more, it would free up cap, and potentially give the Broncos another mid round selection to use next season. Callahan is also entering the final year of his deal as well.

I personally would rather see Callahan stick around. Keeping him on the roster likely is more valuable than an extra 4th round pick in 2022 and they really don’t need the extra cap space. Also, with the dime package expected to be used more, you need four cornerbacks out there to do that. Trading one of your better ones and a damn good slot corner makes no sense to me. Keep the cornerback position a strength, especially with Mahomes facing them twice a year at least.

Injury Report

  • Cornerback Patrick Surtain exited practice but it was only precautionary according to Head Coach Vic Fangio
  • Pass rusher Von Miller missed practice because of the birth of his child
  • Safety Trey Marshall missed practice with an ankle injury he suffered during the Vikings game
  • Running back Mike Boone remained sidelined with a quad injury
  • Wide receiver Tim Patrick remained sidelined with a groin injury
  • Rookie edge rusher Andre Mintze is sidelined with a concussion
  • Cornerback Ronald Darby (non-Covid Illness), running back Melvin Gordon (groin) , and rookie safety Caden Sterns (hip) all returned to practice

News and Notes

  • Broncos waived cornerback Rojesterman Farris, linebacker Peter Kalambayi, and defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal Jr.
  • They also waived/injured wide receiver DeVontres Dukes, running back LeVante Bellamy, and defensive tackle Deyon Sizer
  • Broncos signed WR/RB Adrian Killins, a speedster, to add depth to their backfield.

Quotes

Head Coach Vic Fangio on recent signing RB Adrian Killins

“[RB LeVante] Bellamy, his injury was going to be an extended period of time. We lost [RB Mike] Boone and [RB] Melvin [Gordon III] [is] nursing a little groin [injury]. We needed some guys in there and we brought him in. He’s a fast and quick guy, so watch out. He’s quick as a hiccup.”

Pass rusher Bradley Chubb on if he’s feels 100 percent again

“About 98 percent I would say. The other two percent is probably going to come in the next couple weeks in the preseason games and just getting into the flow of football. I feel good. My body feels good. I’m doing everything to stay on top of it.”

Pass rusher Bradley Chubb on if he’d like to play in a preseason game before the regular-season opener

“Honestly, I just want some action, man. It doesn’t matter when it comes. It could come this week, next week. I just want to be able to test out the ankle and have a clear head going into the season. I’m looking forward to whatever [Head] Coach [Vic Fangio] has in mind and whatever the trainers have in mind. I’m just trusting what they do and just doing everything that I can control.”

Pass rusher Bradley Chubb on OLB Baron Browning being back on the field

“It’s huge. I was so happy for him yesterday, even though we weren’t in pads and we were just running around in helmets. It was huge to see him out there running around, making plays and feeling comfortable again. I asked him, ‘How are you feeling? Are you thinking about it?’ He [said], ‘Nah, I’m not thinking about it at all. I’m just out here moving around and getting back to my old self.’ It was fun to see, for sure.”

Pass rusher Bradley Chubb on what the defense must do to take the next step to improve

“I feel like we have a lot of new faces on the back end. We’re getting everybody on the same page. I feel like we’re already there. With the reps and with the communication, we can always be better. It’s going to be fun just to have all those guys on the field. The DBs are making our job easier—me, [OLB] Von [Miller], ‘Dre’ (DE Dre’Mont Jones), [DE] Shelby [Harris] and [OLB] Malik [Reed] are making their job easier, too. Just having that cohesive unit and being on the same page is going to take us to the next level.”

Center Lloyd Cushenberry on the success of the run game against the Vikings

“From the first snap—I think it was an 11 or 12-yard gain. The first snap we kind of set the tone and set the tempo for the game. That opened up the play-action [and] opened up the 80-yard touchdown that [WR] KJ [Hamler] caught. That’s the goal every game—just get the run game going. If you do that, everything will be simple.”

Center Lloyd Cushenberry on what he’s seen from G Netane Muti entering his second season

“Same thing. Throwing guys around, and you just see those flashes of brute strength. We see it in practice, and we’ve been seeing it since we both got here last year. Just that Tongan strength. He brings it every day.”

Center Lloyd Cushenberry on the differences between QB Teddy Bridgewater and QB Drew Lock

“Just in the huddle. The way they call plays and cadences a little bit. Nothing too crazy, obviously, but Teddy has been around for a while. [He’s] been around a guy like [former Saints QB] Drew Brees. It’s a little different, but at the same time, they both get the job done. It should be interesting to see moving forward.”

Tweets from Camp