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2022 Broncos Training Camp: Day 5 news and notes

News and notes from day 5 of Broncos camp!

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

The Denver Broncos put on the shells today, a day before going full pads, and we had some nearly real football go down today on day 5 of Broncos camp.

Today we have Patrick Surtain II looking elite still, a slow start by the offense but a Russ Wilson huddle gets things going in the right direction, full pads tomorrow, K.J. Hamler is bad, injury reports, news, and notes, and more!

Patrick Surtain is elite

Sure, Courtland Sutton got one on him during practice, but overall, CB Patrick Surtain II has been ruining practice a bit for the Broncos' offense. He has basically shut down whoever he has covered and has only been beat a handful of times throughout practice.

I know I have covered his play a few times now but we're witnessing the makings of an elite shutdown corner right here. Especially big when you have Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert within your division.

I don't have much else to say here that I have not said already. Surtain II has been the Broncos' best player in camp and he has taken over the role Von Miller held as the defensive player who would ruin practice.

Can't wait to see Surtain II continue to progress and watch him shut down the best receivers on opposing teams each and every week moving forward.

The offense starts slow but bounces back

Today, the Broncos' offense started off slow, so slow, that it pissed off Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett and quarterback Russell Wilson. After some false starts and good defensive play, Wilson huddled up the offense to get them going and they ended up responding.

Hackett told the media that Russ sensed his frustration with the offense and as a leader, he huddled the entire offense, not just the first team, and tried to get them back on track.

“I don’t know. I was upset because it hadn’t been going very well and he felt that. He brought them up, which was great. [He was] trying to get those guys back on track because that’s going to happen in a game. It’s about how they respond. It was a slow start, but we came back into the red zone and did a couple of good things. You just have to continuously battle. It doesn’t matter what the situation is—just keep battling.”

As Hackett mentions, the Broncos' offense came alive in the red zone period. Wilson hit Courtland Sutton for a touchdown over Patrick Surtain II, a rare victory, and another to a wide-open Jerry Jeudy because of a defensive miscommunication between Surtain and Bassey.

This huddle and regroup by Wilson is just a small example of leadership that we can expect from him moving forward. The Broncos haven't had this sort of leadership since Manning and have been sorely missing it. So, it is nice to see this sort of leadership from the Broncos' quarterback.

Full pads tomorrow!

Today, the Broncos wore shells for the first time during camp and will step it up, even more, tomorrow when they go full pads for the first time. This is when true evaluations of the Broncos roster can begin.

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett told reporters after practice that he is "excited" for tomorrow's padded practice.

“Anytime you get any form of pads on, we’re excited. You have to understand that you’re going to get touched. When you don’t have the pads on it’s just so different. Just the contact at the line—the protection looks different. The run game looks different. The play passes look different. Everything looks different when those pads are on. With the full pads—like once you put the pads on—it’s more of a mental thing for those guys. They feel like it is game day. We get a lot of good work when we are just in shorts, too. I’m excited. I’m just excited all that is over and now we can really work on the football action.”

This is when you can truly evaluate your roster for the first time during Training Camp. Sure, unpadded practices are fun, and shells are cool, but you learn the most once you're practicing exactly how you will be playing the game.

You can truly evaluate the offensive line, the defensive line, and the run game. Pretty much everything you hear prior about camp means little compared to what we will learn tomorrow.

Also, you have players who excel in unpadded practices but then fall back to earth or simply disappear once the pads come on. So, I am excited to see the developments of tomorrow's padded practice.

K.J. Hamler returns

The Denver Broncos activated speedy wide receiver, K.J. Hamler, off the PUP list after he suffered a torn ACL, a dislocated hip, and other issues early in the 2022 season.

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked by reporters why he decided to remove Hamler from the PUP today. He told reporters that it was just the right time and that he is excited that the speedy wide receiver is back on the field.

“I think with everybody—every case is different. He’s been grinding, and he’s been working so hard. It was just one of those things where it seemed like it was the right time. He’s been working really hard. Our trainers do such an amazing job. I mean, they work these guys really hard. Sometimes it might be harder over there than it is with us. He felt that it was right. We all agreed on that and brought him out so that he can do the individual and slowly work him back into practice. There is still awhile until we get him into some team reps. [We’ll] also let him do some of those walkthroughs so that he can put the [dry erase] board away. We’re excited to have him out.”

Hamler was out with Russell Wilson during the offseason and running routes and catching passes, so he's obviously in a good place. Now, the Broncos will just ease Hamler back into action throughout camp. Hamler himself said he doesn't know if he will play in any of the three Broncos preseason games. He thinks he's ready, but it's up to the trainers and "Mr. P.".

I don’t know with preseason what those plans are, yet. Just have to talk to the trainers and talk to ‘Mr. P’ (General Manager George Paton) about all that stuff and where he wants me to play. I think I’m ready, I think I’m fine.”

Either way, it sounds like the Broncos will have their speedy deep threat in time for the Broncos' week one matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. He may not play a ton of snaps early on, but expect him to get a few deep shots from Russell Wilson.

News and Notes

  • Broncos were in shells today for the first time (shoulder pads)
  • WR K.J. Hamler was activated off the PUP while rookie TE Greg Dulcich returned to practice for the time during camp as well. Two explosive players added back to the practice field for the Broncos offense.

Injury Report

  • Wide receiver K.J. Hamler has been activated off the PUP list and is eligible to begin practicing with the team.
  • EDGE Randy Gregory and OT Billy Turner remained on the PUP list.
  • Veteran slot cornerback K'Waun Williams sat out practice after suffering a minor knee injury during Saturday's practice. He is considered day-to-day.
  • Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich is participating in individual drills for the first time as he recovers from a naggy hamstring injury. However, he worked on the side during team drills as the Broncos continue to ease him back into action.
  • WR Tyrie Cleveland was escorted to the locker room by a trainer. Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said that he was hit in the throat and they wanted to get that evaluated.

Tweets from Camp

Notable Quotes

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on C Lloyd Cushenberry III

“It’s funny because, for a center, he’s so quiet and he doesn’t talk much. Then when he’s out there, his control and command of the offense has been really good. He understands the fronts, he understands the declarations, he understands the pass offs. He’s an unbelievably smart player and his physicality is pretty impressive, too. He’s probably having one of the hardest battles out on this field going against [DL] Mike [Purcell], going against [DT] D.J. [Jones], [DE] Dre’Mont [Jones]. There are so many people and some really good players. He is tested nonstop. Our whole offensive line is getting some great work against that d-line. I really like him understanding the system. He’s still making a run and winning all those Cahoots and stuff like that. He’s doing a fine job, and he’s really good.”

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on the importance of 11-on-11 team periods during practice

“Yeah, that is why I do that period at the end. Since there is not as much football—less practices—I think that 11-on-11 is so critical. It’s more important than anything. Since there is not a lot of times that you line up, unless it’s two minutes—we’ll start working those situations here very soon, but you just don’t line up with any rush. Everybody runs seven guys for seven guys. I think more 11-of-11—with the lack of practice that we have—I think it’s so important.”

Wide receiver K.J. Hamler on if he plans to race WR Montrell Washington

“Yeah, [WR] Montrell [Washington] is a competitor. We’ll do it just for fun. Montrell is my boy—he’s learning from me. I’ve kind of taken him under my wing because as a rookie, I came in thinking too much and worried about the plays. He’s done way better of just asking questions, being a sponge and just absorbing stuff. I’ve kind of been a bigger brother in this whole process.”

Guard Dalton Risner on if he believes there’s a heightened sense of urgency and accountability thus far compared to previous seasons

“I think the accountability factor here at the Denver Broncos has changed dramatically. There has been a sense of urgency since I showed up in April. I think everyone can feel that sense of urgency during the 10-week period of OTAs. That was crazy, man. The amount of work that we got in and the strides we made in the OTA period was because of urgency and accountability. That starts with [QB] Russell [Wilson]. That starts with QB1. He’s done a great job ever since he’s stepped foot in here of holding everyone accountable. The thing he does best is he holds himself accountable first, and I have a lot of respect for that.”

Guard Dalton Risner on DT D.J. Jones

“[DT] D.J. Jones is a good football player. I love that we got him because he’s going to continue to make our interior offensive line a lot better. The dude has power, and that’s what you see right [away]. He’s a little but shorter and a little bit stockier, but he’s going to be powerful, and you have to get underneath him. At the same time, he has really quick feet. He’s quick off the ball. That dude shoots off the ball and he makes it really hard for guards and centers to get their feet into the ground. He’s going to be super valuable. Russell was talking about him yesterday and how many years he went against D.J. and how D.J. is one of the best that do it. I think we have a really good player there with him. We’ve been together 12 weeks now, and he’s impressed me a ton—not that he has to impress me. I sure do love going up against him, and he’s made me a lot better. I’m excited that we got him.”