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Offense looks sharp but defense impresses

The second day of Broncos’ training camp was exactly what a fan would hope for - good football all around.

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Good morning, Broncos Country, WOO HOO!

The Broncos are not just playing football; they are playing good football.

And although “it’s just practice” - as the head coach himself noted - it’s still showcasing what we’ve all been desperately waiting for.

Improvement.

“I think they made some really good plays—I think the defense made some incredible plays,” Nathaniel Hackett said. “It’s just everyday getting better on both sides. What you’re always hoping to see—every day you’re out there—is both teams doing good things. All the way from special teams, to offense, to defense; you just always want to see that improvement.”

As is typical early on in training camps, the defense tends to get the better of the offense, but Aric DiLalla of denverbroncos.com noted on the “Broncos Now” podcast that the offense looked “crisp and efficient” on Day 2, Russell Wilson looked in control and he got the ball out quick - something he hasn’t always been known to do.

That’s the good news.

But the better news is that the secondary doesn’t seem to have lost a step as both Justin Simmons and Patrick Surtain II have had themselves a day (or two!) against this offense.

Despite a perfect pass to Courtland Sutton, who had the ball in his hands, Surtain went up to knock the ball out with his left hand, couldn’t get it so switched mid-air to knock it out with his right.

Even Sutton had to clap for that play.

In fact, Surtain’s pass breakup was so amazing, Hackett was ecstatic - even though it meant his offense lost the “third-down competition.”

“I get so excited when there is a great play. I love the game of football,” Hackett said, admitting he’s technically on the offensive side but practice can’t be an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. “That [play] was awesome because that was two big human beings competing for a ball. You love to see that. They are going to make each other better, and that’s what I love.”

Simmons, building off his big day Wednesday, also came across the field to break up a pass headed right for Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy was stride for stride with Kareem Jackson as Wilson’s deep spiral hung in the air before Simmons just appeared and knocked it away.

That one earned a compliment from the head coach.

“That one right there was pretty dramatic,” Hackett said. “I think we were actually trying to pick on somebody else, and then he came over and helped out, so that was an amazing play. That was unbelievable.”

‘Good on good’

An interesting difference in Hackett’s approach early in training camp is that the first-team offense is playing against the first-team defense - Sutton v. Surtain; Garett Bolles v. Bradley Chubb, etc.

Hackett believes this is the best way to get improvement on both sides of the ball.

It’s good on good, and we want to make each other better,” he said. “You always want everyone rolling. Then every now and then, you get to sprinkle those other guys in and see if they can step it up—whether that would be on offense or defense. It’s about making the team better. You want everyone to compete together.”

It only makes sense that the Broncos’ defense that will have to face Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Derek Carr, Lamar Jackson, etc., should go against Russell Wilson in practice to improve their chances against other elite QBs.

“I think they love it,” Hackett said of the defense having to go up against Wilson. “One, you never know when he’s going to break the pocket because he is very mobile back there.”

Surtain certainly loves going against Wilson - and not just because he beat him on a play. Because he knows what covering Wilson can do for his own craft.

“It makes me better all-around as far as a player—going in each and every day competing against a guy like him.” Surtain said. “He makes tremendous throws each and every day. When you go against a guy like that—a high-caliber QB like that—it just makes you better all around.”

And it’s not just defending well-thrown passes; it’s learning from a quarterback who relishes the good play from his defenders...but will compete just as hard not to let a good defensive play happen again.

“Those great leaders are about making as many people around them better,” the head coach added. “I think ‘Russ’ does that by being as accurate as he is, as smart as he is, changing the tempos back and forth, and all of those different things that he’s going to do, [while] at the same time, love them up, talk a little bit back to them, and all that stuff.”

Poll

What do you think of 1s vs. 1s throughout training camp?

  • 97%
    Love it. What a no-brainer.
    (483 votes)
  • 2%
    Hate it. Too many chances to get first string players hurt.
    (11 votes)
494 votes total Vote Now

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