Day 4 of Broncos camp is in the books and it was an eventful one. It was an up-tempo practice in shorts and shells before they head into the day off on Sunday. This was about as ramped up as you can get without the pads, but it was a good practice for both sides. All of this was in front of over 7,000 fans(nearly a record), and former Broncos and Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. The excitement is back in Denver.
Today we have Patrick Surtain II looking elite, two Broncos edge rushers standing out, Jerry Jeudy starting to stand out, Montrell Washington continuing to make plays, news and notes, injury updates, and more!
Patrick Surtain II Looking Dominant
Another day of practice and another day of Patrick Surtain looking like an elite cornerback. He has basically shut down whoever he is covering and he appears to be on his way to becoming a top corner in the league.
I know I’m not the first to say this but man it’s fun to watch @PatSurtainll play. He puts on a clinic out here on every freaking rep. Makes it look effortless & is almost never out of position to make a play on the ball. He’s going to have an incredible season. #BroncosCountry— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) July 30, 2022
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked about Surtain II and he told reporters that he had a “solid day” and that he is very excited about his progress.
“He had a solid day—that whole secondary back there. They are communicating really well, and they are making plays for him. Even when we were first talking in OTAs, it was great to see him from the standpoint of you could feel that confidence going through his body. Like this, it’s a little different. I’m understanding some more things now that we’re having a couple of days of practice in a row. That’s when you are going to see him becoming even more comfortable. I’m very excited for him.
Surtain II is obviously the Broncos' number one corner and defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero plans on featuring him in their defense. By the sounds of it, Evero plans on putting Surtain on the offense's best receiver and having him line up in multiple spots while mastering multiple types of coverage.
“That’s what the game is all about. You’re trying to find matchups. You’re trying to, what we call, pass the hard down. You want your best players having a heavy duty [role], covering their best players and things of that nature. So obviously, he’s one of our better players, and we’re always going to try to feature him in the best way.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it is exciting to hear that they plan on using Surtain this way. Just have him shadow the offense's top receiver and allow the rest of the secondary to handle the rest. Allow Surtain to cover the tight end Kelce, Raiders top WR Davante Adams, and Chargers WR Keenan Allen. Shut those guys down and it increases the chances of a Broncos victory.
Browning and Bonitto Looking Good
The Broncos have two young pass rushers who they need to step up and contribute this year behind the veterans Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory. Those two edge rushers being Baron Browning and rookie Nik Bonitto.
Nik Bonitto had what I think would have been sack during team period. He’s looked really good through the first few days of camp. Has a great first step. #Broncos— Summer of George (@GeorgeStoia) July 30, 2022
The Broncos selected Baron Browning in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft and he play inside linebacker for them his rookie season. However, the new coaching staff and/or GM George Paton thought his skill set would work best on the edge. So, he has spent this offseason and now Training Camp to make that transition.
Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero was asked about Browning’s transition and he told reporters that he is taking it “day by day”.
“He’s getting better each day and [he’s] another guy that has a lot of ability. Obviously, with the transition, there is going to be some growing pains, but we really, really love what he’s doing right now.”
Browning is highly athletic and his speed, athleticism, and explosiveness are on display when he plays defense. I have high hopes for Browning and I am excited to see how he progresses through the summer.
As for the rookie Bonitto, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett hyped his speed, athleticism, and bend that we all knew he had, but that he is still having a few rookie hiccups.
“He’s done a really good job. For him, there is a lot more calls, and there are a lot more things that are going on compared to what it’s been like in college football. That’s always the transition that goes on with any rookie, but you could see his speed. He has that athleticism, and you can see the ability for him to bend. There’s still some of those little hiccups here and there with all the adjustments because this game is about communication, especially with how we like to stress the guys out. We like to motion and do all kinds of stuff—slow it down, speed it up. You can’t just line up in one spot and rush. You just have to do a great job of talking to your other people and knowing what is happening. That is what he has to work on.”
Like Browning, the Broncos need Bonitto to step up and contribute during his rookie season. The two veteran starters ahead of these two have health concerns and these two will likely spell those two at times during the year.
Jerry Jeudy Looking Good
During the past two practices, Jerry Jeudy has been the focus of Russell Wilson’s passes per reports. Today, in the more up-tempo practice, things didn’t change as Jeudy continued to make plays and even made one against cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
Russell Wilson scrambled left and hit Jerry Jeudy on the left sideline on Pat Surtain for 10.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2022
A very rare catch on PS2
He has been putting the extra effort in this offseason and camp thus far. He has been working out with Wilson throughout the offseason and has been sitting in on quarterback meetings just to do that much more to help his game.
Yesterday, Jeudy was asked about his chemistry growing with Wilson and he told reporters that he feels like the two are “doing good”.
“I feel like we’re doing good. I feel like just being out there—even it started during offseason, going to his house—and just knowing where he wants me to be at and why he wants me to be there, it just adds up all the time. So I feel like [the chemistry] is good.”
Jeudy has a chance to have a break-out season with Wilson under center and I think we will continue to see this chemistry grow as we move throughout the summer and into the season.
Rookie Montrell Washington Catches A Long Touchdown
The rookie, Montrell Washington continues to make a positive impression at Broncos Training Camp. Today, Washinton was running routes with the first team offense and was on the receiving end of one of Wilson’s accurate deep balls. It ended up being a 60-yard touchdown reception. However, the corner K’Waun Williams pulled up lame on this play which allowed Washington to get wide open, but the fact he’s getting these chances with Wilson is noteworthy.
Russ responds to a pick six after Courtland Sutton fell down by hitting Montrell Washington for a 60-yard TD on the very next play.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 30, 2022
Washington is basically penciled in as your starting punter and/or kick returner for the Broncos. Now, if he can add anything as a receiver it would be really beneficial and also add just another element to the Broncos' potentially explosive offense.
He was an unpopular draft selection so it is nice to see him have a strong start to camp. Hopefully, he can continue to do this once pads are on, but for now, it is exciting to see.
News and Notes
- Backup QB Brett Rypien completed a 50+ yard pass down the field to UDFA rookie WR Kaden Davis.
- Rookie CB Damarri Mathis had a near INT while covering WR Seth Williams.
- UDFA rookie WR Jalen Virgil hauled in a 60+ yard touchdown pass from Brett Rypien.
- Veteran tight end Eric Saurbet continued to make plays today as a pass catcher.
- Punter Corliss Waitman could be pushing veteran Sam Martin for a roster spot.
- Veteran CB Bless Austin has been playing well as he pushes for a roster spot.
- Running back Javonte Williams seems firmly entrenched as the Broncos starting running back while veteran Melvin Gordon appears to be the “1B”.
- Broncos DC Ejiro Evero named ILB Justin Strnad, S Caden Sterns, and IDL DeShawn Williams as players who have stood out to him.
- Hall of Fame and former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Peyton Manning attended Broncos camp today.
- Broncos had a top-5 all-time crowd attendance at Broncos Camp today.
- EDGE Rusher Randy Gregory, tackle Billy Turner, and receiver K.J. Hamler remain on the PUP list
- Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich continued to work on the side but did not participate in team drills. However, he did take part in some walk-through portions of team drills, so he appears close to hitting the practice field.
- Veteran OT Ton Compton did not practice as he rehabs a back procedure.
- Veteran cornerback K’Waun Williams pulled up on a long pass attempt by QB Russell Wilson to rookie WR Montrell Washington. Williams later walked to the locker room with a trainer. According to reports, he is receiving an MRI on his knee and we should get the findings of that MRI in the near future.
Tweets From Camp
Russell Wilson takes the field. pic.twitter.com/9s85N6wFKz— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2022
Interesting:— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 30, 2022
Broncos CB Ronald Darby is starting each practice working with the WRs catching passes off the JUGS machine.
Peyton Manning is out at Broncos practice today. pic.twitter.com/0ziQadQAo0— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 30, 2022
Working deep shots in individual QB/WR drills right now.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2022
As with last two practices, Javonte Williams gets 1st series of 1st team reps Melvin Gordon gets 2nd series.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 30, 2022
Pat Surtain II with another PBU on a deep pass.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 30, 2022
Tight coverage working against Courtland Sutton.
#Broncos secondary has had some pretty tight coverage today, forcing QBs to scramble away from pressure— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) July 30, 2022
Jeudy getting a lot of run on short passes today. Moved the chains after getting open underneath Williams and past Jewel on 3rd-and-5.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2022
Broncos 2nd team DBs getting better of second team WRs.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) July 30, 2022
Keep an eye on Bless Austin.
Russell Wilson threw an absolute bullet to Jerry Jeudy on a slant on third down to convert what started as 1st and 15.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 30, 2022
There’s definitely some budding chemistry between those two.
Corliss Waitman won the hang-time battle today. Three of his four punts had hang times of at least 4.99 seconds.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2022
D.J. Jones is creating a ton of pressure today. Very disruptive inside— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) July 30, 2022
Saubert with a catch on the sideline 15 yards downfield. He’s been good blocking, too.— Henry Chisholm (@HenryChisholm) July 30, 2022
Back to back catches for Eric Saubert from Russell Wilson. Both for first downs.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2022
Baron Browning put a dirty spin move coming off the right side of the line to get in the backfield ASAP against the second team.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) July 30, 2022
*evergreen Pat Surtain II is good tweet*— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 30, 2022
Goes up and almost picks off Wilson in coverage deep against Tim Patrick.
Albert Okwuegbunam beat Josey Jewell on a slant and caught a contested ball from Russ— Henry Chisholm (@HenryChisholm) July 30, 2022
Bonitto works inside to get the fast pressure and sack on Josh Johnson. Play didn’t have a chance— Zach Segars (@Zach_Segars) July 30, 2022
On the next rep, Browning fires off the other edge to get the quick pressure on Johnson. Forces him to fire to his checkdown— Zach Segars (@Zach_Segars) July 30, 2022
Jalen Virgil with the 60-yard TD catch-and-run from Rypien. One-handed grab.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) July 30, 2022
Good sign: Greg Dulcich participating in some brief walkthrough reps during practice.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) July 30, 2022
The #Broncos’ defensive line has been pretty dominant today. Quarterbacks have been on the run a lot.— Summer of George (@GeorgeStoia) July 30, 2022
Kaden Davis just caught a bomb from Rypien. 55 yards. A little underthrown but Davis had enough separation to slow down and slide into the catch.— Henry Chisholm (@HenryChisholm) July 30, 2022
First on the field every day paid off.
Notable Quotes From Camp
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on if he saw Pro Football Hall of Famer QB Peyton Manning at Saturday’s practice
“I saw him. He was out there. I got to talk with him for a little bit. I absolutely love him being around. If that doesn’t get you fired up to practice and just be part of the game, then I don’t know what does. Just seeing them out there is pretty amazing. I know that a lot of the guys did. A lot of guys saw him, and he was talking with them. I absolutely love when he’s around. I mean, he’s Peyton Manning.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on what he’s liked through the first week of training camp
“I like how we set the standard of what we were looking for, and they executed it. I think that was important through the tempos. We are still not in pads, but just being able to watch them—how they’re able to slow it down, get a mental day, then come back and get a good, heavy day. That made me really happy. Both sides of the ball had some really good plays, while competing and taking care of each other. I think that’s what I like the best.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on his philosophy of strictly doing 11-on-11 drills during team periods
“I just want to play football. There are different philosophies across all of it. Using the two practices when we used to have two-a-days and stuff like that. For me, I just want the guys to be able to play football together. That’s the game, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re trying to jerry rig some situations. We’ll jerry rig some stipulations on both me, [Defensive Coordinator] Ejiro [Evero] and [Offensive Coordinator] [Justin] Outten to try and make it so that we can kind of jerry rig some of those other things that you might do, whether it’s a pass period, a man period, a zone period, a pressure period. Besides that, in the end, it’s about those guys being in the huddle, going out there, playing and executing together. I just want to create that as much as possible.”
Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero on why he elected to keep the defensive terminology the same
“We’re teachers, and at the end of the day as coaches, we want to make it as easy as possible for the guys. We want them to be able to go out there and play fast. There are a lot of things obviously that we want to have, like a system that is methodical and makes sense to guys. There’s a lot of things terminology-wise that were similar and there’s some things that were different. I feel like I can always learn, and I can do the extra work if I need to, to make sure I understand the concepts and some of the terminology. It’s always about the players and making it as easy as possible for them. So that’s always the starting point.”
Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero on his transition as a first-time defensive coordinator
“Yeah, it’s been good. Normally, training camp is kind of a fun time for position coaches because you’re not worried about game planning. It’s strictly about getting fundamentals and skillsets better. Now in this role, there’s a lot of administrative stuff, scripted [plays] and things of that nature which has been good. It’s good because when I first got the job, and up to this point, I feel like everything that I’m doing, I’m learning on the fly but I’m getting a lot of support from guys like [Senior Defensive Assistant] Dom [Capers]. [Head] Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett has really supported me. Everything I’m doing, I’m just really trying to build towards when we get to our game week and when we start getting to game planning. Then, calling the game. I’m ready to go do that thing at the highest level.”
Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten on what his thoughts of G/C Quinn Meinerz are at this point in training camp
“His aggressiveness. His ability to displace people—it’s hard to do in this league. His construction of his body—[he’s] built like a gap-almost body type, but he can move very well for his size. It’s really cool to see him move around. His ability—just uses length which is really important in this system and any system. He can cover up guys, and he does a pretty good job with it.”
Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten on what options RB Melvin Gordon III gives the offense due to his pass-catching ability
“Some options. Having all those running backs that will make the roster, you’re going to utilize their talents. When we were in Atlanta, we had [Jets RB] Tevin Coleman and [RB] Devonta Freeman. Two guys that could roll and do special things. We had [Packers RB] Aaron Jones and [Packers RB] AJ Dillon and [Lions RB Jamaal] Williams. Those guys are going to get their touches but they’re also going to get put out wide. We’re going to utilize them the best we can, and it’s going to keep them fresh throughout the season.”
Special Teams Coordinator Dwayne Stukes on the communication between himself, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett and the coordinators regarding reps on special teams
“Obviously, myself and Coach ‘Mal’ (Assistant Special Teams Coach Mike Mallory) will go down to the defense and offense and get a depth chart. Then, we try to base our reps off the depth chart. Obviously, you see the starting receivers aren’t going to get reps on special teams. Starting running backs aren’t going to get reps on special teams. So then we try to figure out how many reps second team guys and third team guys are going to get. Then, I try to tell those guys–and this is no disrespect to them– [that] if you’re not going to be starting on offense or defense, where is the next place to start at? Special teams. It should be important to you if you’re trying to win a job. There are only 11 guys starting on offense. There are only 11 guys starting on defense. We have 11 starters on special teams also. I really want to get this point across. Special teams is just as important as offense and defense if we want to win games around here.”