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2021 Broncos Training Camp: Day 5 news and notes

A big bounce back day for Teddy Bridgewater.

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

Day 5 is in the books and it’s the last practice before the Broncos are able to go in full pads and give the coaches a real evaluation of what’s going on out there. Today it was a much better day for Bridgewater who was coming off a rough Saturday practice. We also have Bradley Chubb returning to team drills, rookie Patrick Surtain II continues to impress and came up with his first interception, Lloyd Cushenberry looking better and stronger, an injury report, news and notes, quotes, and more.

Teddy bounces back while Lock throws a couple of interceptions

After a really rough Saturday practice for Teddy Bridgewater where he threw three interceptions and lost out to Drew Lock in a big way, he bounced back. He did throw an interception during 7-on-7 drills but outside of that, he had himself a big day.

Teddy started off the team period with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Spencer showing the naysayers he can throw the deep ball as well. He continued this with multiple 20-yard plus strikes to Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and others throughout the period to tap off a solid bounce-back day.

As for Drew Lock, he had a pretty inconsistent day that had two interceptions. One of them was in 7-on-7 where he just completely missed Patrick Surtain roaming in the middle of the field and threw the ball right at him. The other was during the last period of the day in team drills during a screen pass or a short pass at the LOS and newly signed corner Rojesterman Farris jumped the route and the pass hit Farris right in the chest.

Teddy came away with the day as the “winner” in a battle that appears to be neck and neck. Lock had a chance to create some legitimate separation here and failed to do so. Head Coach Vic Fangio said after practice that the two quarterbacks remain “even stevens” in their competition.

“It’s still even-steven. There’s been no separation. We’re going to kind of keep the rotation these next three days the same as it has been.”

It should be noted that per reports, Lock mostly faced the first-team defense today and struggled once again. This has been the case for both quarterbacks throughout the first five practices. Whoever gets the majority of the first-team reps that day against the first-team defense struggles.

Now, a few days after Lock potentially began widening the lead from Bridgewater, they’re back basically even. I don’t think Fangio is bullshitting us when he says they’re “even stevens”. One of them will really need to step up and simply outplay the other if they want to win this battle. If it remains close, there are arguments for either of them to get the nod.

The pads come on tomorrow and I am anxious to see the results.

Bradley Chubb participates in team drills

For the first time this offseason and Training Camp, Pro Bowl edge rusher Bradley Chubb participated in the 11-on-11 team drills. He has been sitting these periods out as he rehabbed his ankle which he underwent offseason surgery on. So, seeing him out there and looking healthy is great news for the Broncos.

Coming back now gives him ample time to shake off the rust and be fully read for week one when they head east to take on the New York Giants.

After practice, Chubb was asked if he would be 100% for week one and he’s “going to be ready for September - 100%”.

“Yeah, for sure. I’m going to be ready by September—100 percent. I’m just doing what the trainers are telling me and slowly working into team drills and slowly working into the 7-on-7. I’m just getting my feet under me again. I feel like it’s going to be special when everything is full go.”

When healthy, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb give the Broncos one of the better edge-rushing pairs in the NFL. Unfortunately, injuries have limited them to just having one full season with each other during their four seasons together. They’re both hoping to get that bad taste out of their mouth from those missed opportunities and really get after it in 2021.

“I’m really confident in it, man. It’s something we talk about a lot. We’ve been here going on four years and have only gotten a chance to play with each other one full year. We have that bad taste in our mouths, and we want to make sure that we do everything to maximize the opportunity we both have playing with each other. We’re going to do it big.”

The Broncos need both of them to be healthy this year and live up to their Pro Bowl billing this season if they want to return to the postseason. With the talent in the secondary giving them time to rush the passer and Vic Fangio pulling the strings, it could be a productive season for both.

Patrick Surtain continues to impress

Like every other practice, first-round rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain earned praise from his teammates. However, this time, he has an interception to go with these praises.

During the 7-on-7 period, Surtain was roaming the middle of the field and intercepted quarterback Drew Lock who simply didn’t see him. This was the rookie's first interception of the summer and hopefully the first of many this season.

Anyone who has been asked about Surtain has raved about him and all facets of his game. This continued today with Head Coach Vic Fangio talking about how rare it is for a rookie to learn multiple positions this early into his career.

“It’s rare. It’s rare that you would ask a rookie to do that, No. 1, and it’s rare that he’s been able to handle it and do it. Now, he’s not perfected any of them yet, by any means, but we think he can and it’s not too big for him.”

Surtain is asking to do more than just play outside cornerback this year. We could see him in the slot if the matchup makes sense there. He could see time in the middle of the defense, he likely plays some traditional outside corner as well, but he’s going to be moved around. With Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and Bryce Callahan already out there, Surtain potentially could be the Broncos' answer to Kelce and Waller who dominate at tight end.

Bradley Chubb told reporters that Surtain has handled the transition to the NFL like a pro.

“He’s handled it like a pro. He’s been here. You’ve seen the guys say he’s picking up things like he’s a vet. I see nothing different. He’s carrying himself with a confidence and a swag. That’s what you love to see in a rookie, especially a DB. That position gets challenged a lot, whether it’s deep balls or guarding the best athletes in the world. He’s been doing a really good job with it and we’re excited to see him when the season comes.”

I’ve said this in just about every camp report, but it appears the Broncos got themselves a good one in Surtain II,

Lloyd Cushenberry looking better and stronger

After a rookie season that saw center Llyod Cushenberry go through some tough growing pains, it sounds like he entered his second Training Camp much improved.

Head Coach Vic Fangio told reporters after practice today that Cushenberry has definitely improved both physically and mentally.

“Lloyd has definitely improved. Had a great offseason both physically and mentally, got stronger, studied the game, had the OTAs, the minicamp. You always look for a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2. I think he’s in the process of doing that.”

Fangio doesn’t give out big compliments like this very often, so when he does, you take notice. A big jump from Cushenberry would really strengthen a Broncos offensive line that looks fairly solid on paper.

Cushenberry told reporters he hit the weight room this offseason and added about 5 to 10 pounds to his frame. He trained with both Graham Glasgow and Netane Muti this offseason and used that time to try to reach the strength levels that Muti is at.

“That was huge. We got after it, for sure. Just getting that bond with a guy that you play next to every snap while pushing each other every day, whether that’s running or lifting. I feel like me personally, I got a lot stronger working out with him and trying to keep up with him and even [G Netane] Muti when he was working with us and trying to get up to his strength. You know how strong Muti is. I feel like I got there a little bit.”

He’s hoping this added muscle to his body will help him play more physically and explosive. These were two areas he felt he needed to improve on from last season.

“Not playing physical enough. Not coming off the ball fast enough—kind of hesitant and still thinking a little bit. This year, having the same offense and the same guards next to me—we know each other. You can just go out there and play. I know I put in the time to learn what I had to do and learn the full picture of the offense. I can just go out there and play physical every snap and just get after it.”

Vic Fangio is expecting a big second-year jump from Cushenberry and another year working with offensive line coach Mike Munchak should bring about big things.

Injury Report

  • Rookie cornerback Kary Vincent Jr. limped off to the sideline during practice.
  • Linebacker Josey Jewell will miss at least 10-days with a groin injury.
  • Rookie linebacker Baron Browning says he’s “feeling better” so hopefully he can return to action soon.
  • Bradley Chubb returned to team drills as he recovers from an offseason ankle injury.
  • Nose tackle Mike Purcell remained sidelined with a sprained ankle.
  • Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland who has struggled with drops was sidelined for today’s practice.

News and Notes

  • Veteran right tackle Bobby Massie started at right tackle for the third straight day and appears to be the favorite for the job. Calvin Anderson has been playing second-team left tackle and appears to be the favorite for the swing tackle position.
  • Second-year linebacker Justin Strnad will receiver first-team reps at inside linebacker while linebacker Josey Jewell remains sidelined with his groin injury.
  • Wide receiver Trinity Benson received some first-team reps at receiver today and appears to be moving up on the depth chart.
  • Newly signed cornerback Rojesterman Farris intercepted Drew Lock in his first practice today.
  • Cornerback Parnell Motley has been a whipping boy for the quarterbacks throughout Training Camp thus far.
  • The Broncos wear pads for the first time this Training Camp tomorrow.

Quotables

Head Coach Vic Fangio on what he wants to learn about this team before heading to Minnesota

“It was mentioned before, we’re looking at inside linebackers, seeing who can play the run, who actually can block, taking on blocks. Everything just amps up a little bit. There are always arguments and debates as ‘did that running play breakthrough or didn’t it,’ as you’re watching it. They’ll still break through some because we’re not going to tackle, but at least it becomes a little more relevant and a little more realistic, guys don’t have to worry about hitting somebody a little too hard and trying to tempo it down. The pads are on; we’re going. We’re just not going to tackle.”

Edge rusher Bradley Chubb on if he believes this team has a sense of urgency this year

“Yeah, 100 percent. Ever since I been here, we haven’t had a winning record. That leaves a sour taste in everybody’s mouth, especially with the tradition the Broncos have of making it to Super Bowls and AFC Championship [games] and winning. We need to get back to that. Everybody has that same sense of urgency. Losing isn’t fun. It makes coming in here not as fun. It makes talking to you guys not as fun. We all want to get back on that winning trek. It’s going to start with us up front. It’s going to start with the DBs. It’s going to start with the offense. We’re just going to have to put all that together.”

Center Lloyd Cushenberry on if his offseason was centered around the physical aspect of the game

“A big part of my offseason was mental as well. Not just learning what I had to do, but [learning] the full picture of the offense. It’s helped me play faster and go out there and just play [while] not having to think and not have to process as much. I get the call, communicate what I have to communicate, and go out there and play. A big part was mental and physical—watching other centers around the league and seeing things that I can take from them and put into my own game.”

Guard Graham Glasgow on the offensive line and the run game

“I mean, whenever your number gets called on to go run the ball, whether you’re on the front side or back side, I think that there’s a lot of pride that comes into that. I think that you want to go, and you want to make sure your guy doesn’t—you don’t want him to make a tackle, you don’t want him to make the play. So, I think a lot of us are going out there—I mean so far in camp I feel like we’ve been running the ball pretty well. We’ve had some good days, particularly last week. I feel like last week we were running the ball really well. I think that a lot of our guys are stepping up whenever you have the hard block or what not, to go out there and perform, which is good.”

Guard Graham Glasgow on if he’s seen any differences in rhythm between the quarterbacks

“It seems to me like [QB] Teddy’s [Bridgewater] a little bit more thorough in the huddle. He’s getting everybody on the same page and that’s great. We get the snap count three times, which is awesome. Sometimes you forget and you ask the guy next to you like, ‘Hey, what’s the snap count?’ I usually remember, which is great. Other than that, I think that they’re pretty similar. I think they both command the huddle well. Just looking forward to seeing how that all shakes out here throughout camp.”

Tweets from Camp