Day three of Broncos Camp is in the books and it was a rather uneventful practice. It was a glorified walk-through day today as Head Coach Nathaniel decided to take a cautious approach before ramping it up during tomorrow’s practice.
Today, we have more details on today’s relaxed practice, things ramping up tomorrow, Derek Wolfe retires as a member of the Broncos, some DeShawn Williams hype, injury updates, news and notes, quotes, and more!
A Relaxed Practiced
Today, in front of the biggest crowd so far in this Training Camp, Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver Broncos had a glorified walk-through practice today. They were still working on concepts and installing the offense, but it was at half speed. So, people expecting an exciting practice were probably disappointed, but there is a method to Hackett’s madness.
#Broncos seem to be working at a walkthrough-type pace during today’s practice.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 29, 2022
Hackett was asked if this was a mandated walkthrough sort of practice, and he told reporters that it was not. He continued by telling reporters that taking it easy on the third day of camp is something he learned while at Green Bay. That third day of practice is when something bad usually happens.
“No sir. No, my philosophy has always been—I learned this while I was with Green Bay, I thought it was awesome—it’s always about those three days. Three days is when all kinds of bad stuff happens. I have acknowledged that after all my years then all of a sudden you see those things happen. So, you want to be sure you can get them fresh, so you can go back real hard on that fourth day. So that’s what we will do continuing as we move forward. We’ll just make sure that we go nice and hard a couple days and always have a little refresher to get their legs back.”
As we know, Hackett is not an old-school-style coach. He’s intelligent, analytical, and probably will do things differently than your old school coaches. If this method has helped his previous teams avoid potentially crippling injuries during camp then I can get all behind it.
As Hackett explains here, it is all about availability.
“I go through everything scientifically, meeting with everybody here and try to figure out the best way to make the guys improve and not have any setback or anything like that. In the end, it’s about availability. You want the whole year; you want all the guy that we need. So I want to be sure they are doing everything the right way and learning how to take care of their bodies. That’s always a big thing when young guys come in—even some veterans. They need to learn every day how to take care of their bodies.”
So, hopefully, this strategy continues to be effective and the Broncos can get through training camp without suffering any potentially devastating injuries to a key member of the roster.
Things Will Ramp Up Tomorrow
Tomorrow’s practice, day 4, figures to be the most active practice of camp thus far. Today, they dialed it back to avoid injuries in preparations for tomorrow’s practice as they head into the day off on Sunday.
There will be no pads yet as the NFL rules don’t allow them to put on pads until a certain point in camp. So, while it will be a more active practice, they still will be in shorts and shells. We should see pads for the first time come next Tuesday. So prepare for that because that’s when things get real.
The #Broncos had a lighter practice today in anticipation of ramping things up tomorrow.— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) July 29, 2022
Tomorrow will be day four, and the team has the day off Sunday. Still no pads, but Nathaniel Hackett is expecting a big day tomorrow. #BroncosCountry @CBSNewsColorado pic.twitter.com/pM9RTbHQQG
Hackett told reporters after practice that “we are going to get a good one tomorrow”, so tomorrow’s practice should be fun.
The Broncos' offense and defense have both been throwing punches(metaphorically) at each other throughout camp, and that should continue. A competitive battle between both units is not something we have seen in quite awhile so hopefully the two units are indeed making each other better as we progress through training camp.
Derek Wolfe Retires a Bronco
Today we received the news that longtime Denver Broncos defensive end, Derek Wolfe, who was part of the Super Bowl 50 winning defense has decided to retire as a member of the Denver Broncos.
The 11-year pro played a total of 8 seasons with the Denver Broncos. He appeared in two Super Bowls and was a key member of that Super Bowl 50-winning defense. In his 8 seasons with the Broncos, Wolfe totaled 299 tackles, 33 sacks, 46 tackles for a loss, and 77 quarterback hits.
Wolfe met with the media after practice today and was asked how it feels to return to the Broncos and retire as a member of the team. He told reporters that doing this was “something very important to me”.
“To retire a Bronco, it was something that was really important to me. The day I stepped foot into this building, I said to myself that I wanted to end it here. I started it here and I wanted to end it here. I didn’t get to do it the way I wanted to. Obviously, I wanted the fairy tale, come off the field for the last time, and leave my cleats out there, but that just wasn’t able to happen. When you’re playing in the trenches, you don’t really get—every day is just a blessing because it’s such a physical job. I’m just grateful, very emotional, and happy to be done with the game because the injuries were just pilling up. My wife is very happy to not have to watch me crawl into the shower every morning, come in, do it again, waking up the night before games and help me put on my underwear. It was just getting bad, so it was time to call it. I get to be a father, to be a husband, and focus on those things now. While I was playing, my wife was a building an empire, a real estate empire, so we have a ton of real estate that’s making us a ton of money. We’re doing well there. Not to brag or anything, but I’m bragging on her. She did a great job. I just did the football part; she did the harder part. I got to have all the fun and she did all the work, really. My daughter—she just turned three years old, so I get to play with her and hang out with her and get to relish in those moments that I wasn’t around for. The last two years, I was in Baltimore during COVID and stuff, [so] the family couldn’t be around. It was tough and you miss a lot of time. I’m going to make up for that now and as soon as I came home, my wife was like, ‘Here, baby (laughs).’ I was like, ‘Okay, what do I do?’ She’s good at planning things out for me and making a list for me. I’m a football player, so everything has to be scheduled out for me or else who knows what’s going to happen. She does a great job of keeping me on track, so I’m really grateful for that. I’m grateful for the opportunity to stand up here and talk to you guys and express my gratitude to the organization, the city and the fans. I had a lot of great times here, played a lot of good football, won a lot of games, won a Super Bowl. What else do you guys have?”
Wolfe was a key member of the Broncos roster during their two Super Bowl runs as he added a good deal of intensity to the defense. Also, former Broncos great edge rusher Von Miller talked about how important Wolfe was to him specifically. Basically, Wolfe made life easier for Von as he ate up blockers which would allow Miller to do his thing and get after the passer. If we did not have Wolfe on the roster during Von’s time with the team, who knows how things would have gone?
In the end, Wolfe was a great member of the Broncos and I am glad to see him retire as a member of the Denver Broncos.
DeShawn Williams impresses
With veteran defensive lineman Shelby Harris now in Seattle, the Broncos need someone to step up and replace his role and snaps on defense. It appears, that guy could very well be veteran DeShawn Williams.
DeShawn Williams has “blown away” Nathaniel Hackett.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 29, 2022
“His ability to disturb on the defensive line is unbelievable”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked what about DeShawn Williams stands out to him. Hackett answered by saying that “I’ve been really blown away by him.”.
“I’ll tell you, he’s one of those guys—especially when you meet him for the first time—you’re a little surprised. His ability to disturb and obstruct on that line of scrimmage is unbelievable. He’s got a low center of gravity, he has that ability to use his hands and disrupt is just unbelievable. I’ve been really blown away by him. Watching how he fights off blocks—he had one that was very controversial in our competition where he had an unbelievable swim move inside on a pass rush. It was impressive watching him move. He’s done a good job. He fights all the time, and I’m just really happy with where he is going.”
Williams has been a solid and versatile reserve for the Broncos these past few seasons. He has played all over the line for the defense but now has a chance to play significant snaps for them this upcoming season.
He figures to be the other starter opposite of Dre’Mont Jones during the 3-4 looks in Ejiro Evero’s defense. We could also see him in some of the Broncos sub-packages when he’s spelling one of the Jones’s.
The Broncos' depth behind D.J. Jones and Dre’Mont Jones is suspect at best, so if Williams continues to impress Hackett, we could have better depth than we initially thought.
News and Notes
- Longtime Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe signed a one-day contract with the team today as he announced his retirement.
- Quinn Meinerz received the first rep at right guard today.
- Broncos will first wear pads next Tuesday
- UDFA rookie edge rusher Christopher Allen passed his physical and is off the NFI list. He was out at practice today.
- Edge rusher Randy Gregory, OT Billy Turner, and WR K.J. Hamler remained on the PUP list. All three were out attending practice, just not participating.
- Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich took part in individual drills but worked on the side during team period.
- OT Tom Compton did not participate in practice today as he heals from a back procedure. He has not yet been officially placed on the PUP list.
Tweets From Camp
Long lines to get in today. The buzz is definitely building. pic.twitter.com/FElk9aKPiB— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 29, 2022
Quinn Meinerz getting first reps at RG today— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) July 29, 2022
Russell Wilson to Jerry Jeudy for a TOUCHDOWN.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 29, 2022
Great ball and Jeudy made a great catch.
Sutton with a touchdown past Simmons. This isn’t full-speed yet, though. Not reading much into it.— Henry Chisholm (@HenryChisholm) July 29, 2022
Wilson seems determined to destroy the “Russ doesn’t use tight ends” narrative early in camp. Threads the needle up the seam for new TE Eric Tomlinson for a TD.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) July 29, 2022
Russell Wilson sure likes those big body WRs on the outside.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 29, 2022
The way Russell Wilson greets and pumps up his teammates prior to individual drills is something you love to see. Encouragement and hand slaps for everyone. pic.twitter.com/9xjCpfboF6— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 29, 2022
Jerry Jeudy spends time in the QB meeting room to get as much information on the offense as possible.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 29, 2022
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on how he likes the energy, focus, and enthusiasm as camp continues
“What was even better was that we did a jog-through today. That was kind of a test for me because to be able to get through this entire season you have to learn how to practice with that jog-through mentality. We want a little bit more than our typical walks at night, so this was truly a test. We’ve never done that before with helmets on and see that. Everybody was nervous about tempo violators. We had a little incident with [DT] D.J. [Jones] early—he tried to bat the ball down—but I’m unbelievably impressed on how locked in they were. We didn’t have many mental errors at all. The guys were ready to communicate and talk—which is what you are trying to create in that environment. Going two days with the conditioning tests, we want to be sure that they’re ready to rock and roll tomorrow.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on how critical tight ends are in the offensive system
“It’s always first about [how] we want to get the best 11 out there and we want to always have as much mix as we possibly can. When you have a bunch of good tight ends that can do a lot of different things, it makes you very, very multiple. I think that’s the fun thing. I remember when I was younger, watching the New England Patriots when they had those two tight ends they were in the backfield, they were all over, they were split out. The Niners [49ers] use a lot of stuff with ‘Juice’ (FB Kyle Juszczyk), things like that. It’s really about having multiple kinds of players that can do a lot of different things. It creates some unique characteristics to your offense.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on the progress of LB Baron Browning
“He’s done a good job. He had a couple of good plays yesterday that I think really stood out. A couple of up-and-unders and being able to play off the tackle, so I think he’s doing a fine job. I’m excited to see him continue to develop.
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on why he wanted RB Melvin Gordon III back
“Because he is [RB] Melvin Gordon [III]. I’ve been watching [RB] Melvin [Gordon III] forever. He’s just a downhill, skilled player. He can catch from the back field, pass protect, and all those things. Just getting to know him now, I’m even more happy that he’s here. Everything that I have witnessed, which was just off tape, watching him run for all those yards, run people over, and utilize speed. So now getting to know him it’s even better. He’s got a little swag to him, and he’s been doing this for a while, so it’s always great to have a veteran leader around.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on how he teaches his WR players to be versatile
“That’s a great question. I will tell you this—probably some of the people might be upset—but I would say that’s probably the most difficult position to learn in this offense. Again, it’s because we want them to be multiple. We don’t want just one guy to do one thing, we don’t want a one motion guy, we don’t want one outside guy. We want to be able to try to put them in as many different spots as possible and just kind of build all of their route trees. Whether it’s in the slot, whether it’s in the super tight, whether it’s out wide, whether it’s off play-action, whether it’s deep down the field. I think having all the guys that we’ve had—they’ve done a great job. We just throw them in there and they have to learn it. That’s a given. It’s just giving how much credibility I give those guys for what they’ve been able to do picking up this offense. They have been working and that’s why it’s great to have ‘Russ’ (QB Russell Wilson) here, quarterbacks here because they’re grinding and pushing because we want to do a lot of different stuff.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on how he thinks WR Jerry Jeudy has been doing in the learning process
“I think he is doing a really good job. I love the one catch that he had earlier. He had the exact same play the day before. He ran a good route, but yesterday was an even better route. So, he was able to take that coaching from Day 1 to Day 2, and I think that’s always what you’re looking for, for all the players—to be able to talk to them and let them understand what we’re trying to accomplish. Once you see that come out on the field, it makes you really happy. So he’s doing a good job picking it all up.”