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2021 Broncos Training Camp: Day 7 news and notes

Two late interceptons sours the day for the quarterbacks.

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

Day 7 of Broncos Camp is in the books and it was their second straight day in full pads before getting Thursday off. It wasn’t a great day for the quarterbacks, but the win today went to Teddy, but slightly. We also have Courtland Sutton looking great, an injury report, news and notes, quotes, and more.

Both QBs end their days with a turnover but Teddy gets the edge

It was another day in this quarterback battle where neither Drew Lock nor Teddy Bridgewater really separated from one another. Both had their moments, their ups and downs during today’s practice, but in the end, most onlookers gave a slight edge to Teddy Bridgewater.

Even so, Head Coach Vic Fangio told reporters after practice that it was an “up and down” practice for both quarterbacks.

“It was up and down. Obviously, we’d like to not end those drives there to go win the game with interceptions, but that’s why we practice. We obviously need a lot of work, and we’ll continue to get a lot of work.”

What gave Teddy the edge today was a big 50-60 yard bomb to tight end Noah Fant who burned linebacker Justin Strnad in coverage. Teddy who has incorrectly been called a check-down-only quarterback has made some nice deep completions since his poor three-interception game.

Meanwhile, Drew Lock had the best throw of the day according to some when he hit a 20 or 25-yard pass to rookie undrafted free agent receiver DeVontres Dukes. However, Lock seemed to get not as many snaps as Teddy today which is curious and something to keep an eye on moving forward. Like Teddy, he was having a good unspectacular day under center for the Broncos.

The game-changer for both came in the final move the ball period where both quarterbacks threw tough interceptions. The first one was by Drew Lock who moved the team down into the red zone before throwing the ball right to safety Justin Simmons who picked the ball off in the end zone.

Lock himself said that he needed to make a better decision in that position next time to avoid turning the ball over in the red zone.

“First off, take care of the ball. Don’t make that decision down there. [I] was halfway between running and halfway between throwing. Just make a better decision. [WR] Jerry [Jeudy] ran a good route. Either put it over the top of him, or really chuck it into the dirt and go to the next play. Don’t go half-and-half there.”

Teddy was next up and he also was moving the ball before a miscommunication led to an interception by recently signed cornerback Rojesterman Farris II who has two interceptions in three practices. Bridgewater said after practice that it’s an easy error to fix moving forward.

“Yeah, that was a little miscommunication. We’ll work on that. I’m glad we’re making that mistake now and not in the game. We’ll get together, we’ll watch the tape later today. Defense came with the pressure. We had to get the ball out. I think we just weren’t on the same page so something we can fix easily, and it’s nothing that we’re going to panic about.”

If you want to read between the lines, it seems like the receiver ran the wrong route which led to the interception. Still, it’s an inexcusable error that needs to be cleaned up moving forward since they probably cannot afford to give the opposing team another chance to score.

Sutton looking close to 100%

Wide receiver Courtland Sutton avoided the PUP list as he returned from a torn ACL he suffered early last season. However, it appeared he wasn’t 100% just yet and hasn’t been his usual dominant self out on the practice field.

That changed today.

He was the story of the day from Broncos camp. He was making circus-like catches, using his size and strength to body corners and get the ball, and just looked a lot close to the Courtland Sutton we all know and love. It was a great confidence-building day for him.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater spoke to the media about Sutton after practice. He told them it was nice to see him on the field, especially after being on the receiving end of that circus-like catch by Sutton.

“It was great to see ‘Court’ (WR Courtland Sutton) make a couple catches today that he made. He caught an end cut; low and behind him he went to the ground. I mentioned something to ‘Court’ like last week. I said, ‘Man we’re in the same boat.’ He was like, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘Well, I happened to make the Pro Bowl my second year as well, and then my third-year, boom. I had a knee injury. So, I understand what it’s going to take for you to get back to the player that you want to be.’ So, honestly when he’s out there making plays like today—we don’t want him on the ground—but if he’s on the ground making acrobatic catches, if he’s stumbling and going to the ground, it’s honestly building confidence for him. He’s going to continue to trust his knee more and that’s exciting for us.”

Quarterback Drew Lock echoed Bridgewater’s comments on Sutton and told reporters that Sutton is beginning to look a lot more comfortable out there.

“I was really happy to see Courtland do what he did today. He’s excited to be back out here—I think—slowly but surely. Even these past couple days, you really saw him take off and just—I think he’s starting to feel a lot more comfortable out here. I mean I don’t blame him. That’s a tough injury to come back from, especially as a receiver—cutting, changing directions. I think you saw a glimpse of more of the old ‘Court’ today. It’s been fun to watch him come back to it.”

If the Broncos can get a classic Courtland Sutton performance paired with Jerry Jeudy breaking out and we could see some big things from this receiving core.

Injury Report

  • Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland sat out another practice with a bruised backside.
  • Linebacker Josey Jewell continued to miss time with a groin injury.
  • Rookie undrafted free agent cornerback Mac McCain III missed his second straight practice with a hamstring injury.
  • Veteran pass rusher Von Miller and guard Graham Glasgow were given veteran days off today.
  • Tackle Cody Conway missed practice with a knee injury and was later waived/injury to make room for newly signed cornerback Saivion Smith
  • Defensive Lineman Deyon Sizer sat out practice with a hamstring injury.
  • Nose tackle Mike Purcell sat out another practice with a sprained ankle.
  • Wide K.J. Hamler returned to practice after a brief stint in the covid protocols.
  • Reserve tackle Cameron Fleming returned to practice as did veteran safety Kareem Jackson who had a day off yesterday.

News and Notes

  • Calvin Anderson got the start at right tackle today with Bobby Massie moving to the second team.
  • Guard Netane Muti got the start at right guard today with Graham Glasgow receiving a veteran day off.
  • Linebacker Justin Strnad received another start at linebacker today in place of the injured Josey Jewell.

Quotes

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on bringing energy to the huddle before each play

“Yeah, for me it’s just all about creating that energy. When we bounce—if you think about it—a lot of times we’ll do a period or two then we go to special teams, we have a break. You think about the course of a game. You’ve got four quarters, or the offense might be on the sideline for six minutes. Hopefully they’re not, so you want to come back on the field and just get the juices flowing. The guys love it. ‘GB’ (T Garett Bolles), he talked to me about it. He said, ‘Hell yeah. Let’s get a bounce going.’ So, it’s just something that exudes confidence also on those guys like, ‘Hey man, we’re going to get some rhythm before the play even starts.’”

Quarterback Drew Lock on how his pre-snap recognition is coming along and how much better he is at it today than a year ago

“I think pre-snap—the biggest thing that I’ve made the jump for has to be in protections. [Quarterbacks] Coach [Mike] Shula made that a big emphasis for me and myself in the offseason on knowing when you’re hot, knowing when you can fix it, and knowing when you do fix it, where you can get beat after you fix it. We don’t want to get blindsided. We don’t want to not have a plan when they bring a pressure. ‘Oh, I didn’t know I was hot!’ Well, you’re supposed to know you were hot. I think that’s one of the biggest jumps I’ve made, and that honestly brings a little more comfortableness in the pocket. You know when you’re protected, you know when you’re going to be safe. ‘Hey that’s my problem. He’s not coming? OK, I’m good to go. Let’s run the play.’ I think that’s been big for me in this. It didn’t come without a lot of flash tape on what the boxes look like. How do they bring this pressure? All right, what does the defense do here? What do the defense do there? It’s been a lot of work, but it’s surely been worth it.”

Quarterback Drew Lock on if the conversations between he, Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur and Quarterbacks Coach Mike Shula have been different this year compared to last season

“Way different. The meetings end up—I thought I took a lot of notes last year in camp. Looking back on those notes now, they were pretty basic notes that I was taking. I couldn’t believe I was actually having to write those down. I’m taking a lot more this year, but it’s stuff I’ve never really heard of. It’s not big picture stuff, it’s very minor things that Coach Shula—he’s been in the game for a long time—has learned over the years. Coach Shurmur has been in the game for a long time, and he’s learned over the years. I get to sit with [Defensive Coordinator] Ed Donatell at lunch and he’ll start saying some things and you’re like, ‘Wow, I have to remember to write that down when I go back. It’s just been fun to be able to dive in a little deeper than surface level this year. It makes it a little more addicting quite honestly. It’s really fun to be a part of.”

Edge Rusher Malik Reed on the advice he’s given to OLB Jonathan Cooper

“Yeah man. Really, he had a good mindset coming in and I just told him really just stay hungry. Knowing that it’s not all going to come at once. This is the NF. It’s different from college. You have to do a lot of learning and make mistakes. You have to make mistakes; you have to fail to succeed and not to get bogged down on dang I didn’t do this play right, dang I didn’t do this right, but continue to take strides, make steps every day and keep a small focus. That’s how you get one percent better every day. That’s been something I’ve been preaching to him and really taking care of his body. That’s something else that is huge, and most people don’t realize when they’re coming into the league, but he’s been doing great so far.”

Tweets from Camp