Today is the final day of Broncos Camp but the Dallas Cowboys joined the Denver Broncos on the field during today’s much-anticipated scrimmage between the two squads. It was a chippy practice to end camp but it was also a very encouraging one for the Broncos as a whole.
Today we have the Broncos dominating the scrimmage, Russell Wilson looking sharp, rookie Nik Bonitto has a 4 sack day, and a bunch of fights. news and notes, injury updates, quotes, and more.
With the Broncos' offense and defense going up against each other, it is tough to figure out how good each unit actually is. However, going up against another team, you get a better idea of how each unit is doing.
Well, during today’s practice, the Broncos dominated on both sides of the ball and even a bit mentally over the Cowboys.
Don’t think there’s much of a question:— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 11, 2022
The Broncos won the day.
The Broncos' offense started out hot and never really slowed down. They scored multiple touchdowns during the red zone period against the Dallas starters of defense. Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett told reporters that the offense started out hot and is happy that they were able to get work in without any significant injuries occurring.
“I’ll tell you, it started off hot. It felt like we had a bunch of good plays early and then kind of focused a little bit more on the run game, got some runs going. We want to be able to look at this front on how we are going to run because we just don’t get enough of that action during the week. It seemed like it was good. I wish the two-minute would have been better. The redzone seemed like it went really well. I thought the guys had a couple [touchdowns], that was really great. But overall, when you come out without any injury and you can go get somebody else and get good work, it always feels great.”
Hackett was later asked how important it was to test the offense against another defense to actually see how much they are learning. He called this opportunity to be “priceless”.
“It’s priceless. It’s absolutely priceless in a situation like this. We go against our defense every day and you get only one opportunity to go verses that front structure. You talk about it a lot, you do drills about it a lot, but until you have a man trying to run right through your face, you just can’t simulate that. There is going to be a lot of great coaching stuff for us to move forward for some of the other teams, like our second opponent and third opponent this year, which is going to be a lot more like this front structure compared to us.”
Meanwhile, the Broncos' defense smothered just about everyone not named CeeDee Lamb. Multiple sacks, pressures, and plenty of would-be sacks during live action. Also, a couple of INTs as well. So, it was a promising showing for both sides today.
Cowboys offense has scored just once. Broncos have scored múltiple times— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) August 11, 2022
It was just one joint practice, but it’s exciting to see both units look strong. If they struggled or looked outmatched at times as they did against Minnesota last year, we would be concerned. So, let us celebrate this first “win” even if it’s a minor one. Also, let us hope that this continues into Saturday’s game as well. Can’t “win” the scrimmage but then get your ass handed to you during the preseason game.
Russell Wilson sharp
After some nonsense from within the Broncos media throwing red flags about Russell Wilson’s play in camp, he quieted the doubters during today’s joint practice. The Broncos' defense appears to be pretty good, so the offense's struggles at times make sense. However, going against a different defense, the Broncos offense was humming today
Russell Wilson has made several good throws to open receivers today. Just hit Hinton wide open in end zone on goal-to-go situation. Sutton a big day. Jeudy with a couple nice ones. #9sports— Mike Klis (@mikeklis) August 11, 2022
This was probably the offense's best day overall. They dominated the red zone period which has been a major area of weakness in recent years. Hackett mentioned he wished they did better during the two-minute period, as they settled for just a long field goal attempt, but overall it was a solid showing.
Quarterback Russell Wilson was asked how comfortable he felt out there during the joint practice, and he told reporters that “it was a great day for us”.
“It was a great day for us. All the work you put in since I got here and all the work we put in collectively as a group, all the early mornings, six o’clock in the morning walk-thrus together as players or 7 a.m., all the late nights and days, all the communication and work, it really showed up today. It really showed up today and we were really locked in on offense. I know the defense had a great day today, as well. We were all playing collectively together. We had a blast. Having all the fans out here, too, on both sides. Obviously, the Broncos fans but even the Cowboys fans were great. Everyone was so gracious and so loud. We had a blast. It was my first time actually doing [a joint practice]. For 10 years, I never did this before. Obviously, I played in games in the preseason and all the games I played in, but we never have done this in practice. I loved it. It was a lot fun and got a lot of great experience. There’s a lot of great players on that side of the ball with the Cowboys, so it was a blast to play out there.”
As I said earlier, after some clickbait stuff came out about Russ not looking good in camp, it’s great to hear he was solid and was making plays against another team's defense.
This offense is still working on getting more comfortable, seeing what works, and what doesn’t work, and building chemistry, so it’s only going to get better
Nik Bonitto gets 4 sacks
During the Broncos' final Training Camp practice, rookie edge rusher Nik Bonitto went off. He totaled at least would-be sacks against the Cowboys' offense. According to reports, two of them came against the Dallas starters while the other two came against the backups. So, getting production against starters and backups is promising to see.
Nik Bonitto had his coming out party today.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 11, 2022
Bonitto had four sacks against the Cowboys. He had two against the starters and two against the backups, per @HenryChisholm.
The Broncos' defense came out to today’s scrimmage ready to fight, and they made sure they achieved just that. There was nearly a skirmish after every play between the Broncos defense and the Cowboys' offense including a few big ones.
I know fights are never good, but I love seeing this intensity from the Broncos’ defense. They figuratively and literally punched the Cowboys in the face and never really got punched back.
You can spin this as undisciplined and a concerning thing to see, but I love this energy. They dominated them on the field and dominated them mentally as well. The Broncos Super Bowl 50 defense had that similar energy and I hope this unit appears to be a very good sign of things to come.
Now, if this continues during Saturday’s game then we can have concerns, but I love seeing this from the Broncos' defense on the practice field.
News and Notes
- Don’t expect to see Russell Wilson or many of the Broncos' notable starters play during the preseason
- WR K.J. Hamler missed today's practice but it’s just a way to ease him back into action and he’s set for week one
- WR Tyrie Cleveland continued to miss practice with a throat injury
- CB Ronald Darby has a chest contusion and continued to sit out practice
- RB Melvin Gordon has a foot contusion and the injury is not considered serious. He sat out his second straight practice
- Guard Netane Muti has a knee injury and missed practice once again as well
- Guard Ben Braden has a back injury that sidelined him from practice
- Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich had a “minor setback” with his hamstring and missed another practice
Tweets From Camp
Russell Wilson’s first pass of the day is for about 20 yards to Courtland Sutton, who caught it with Kelvin Joseph in coverage.— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) August 11, 2022
Javonte Williams with a fantastic cutback. Play going left and he cutback right for a big gain. Great vision.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 11, 2022
Russell Wilson carved up the Cowboys D on the first series.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 11, 2022
3 for 3, all for first-down yardage or more.
Dre’Mont Jones has been destructive so far in the Cowboys’ backfield. Just had a TFL on Elliot.— Summer of George (@GeorgeStoia) August 11, 2022
And as I typed this, CeeDee Lamb beats Ojemudia for a big gain over the middle. #Broncos
Kareem Jackson with a touchdown-saving PBU. Dak found a man open receiver deep middle and KJack sprinted to break it up.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 11, 2022
Justin Simmons intercepts Dak Prescott in the redzone— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) August 11, 2022
Russell Wilson with a DART to Kendall Hinton near the end zone for a touchdown.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 11, 2022
Dak nearly picked by Justin Simmons down the seam pic.twitter.com/ko8bYDwSL6— Billy M (@BillyM_91) August 11, 2022
Russ hits Jeudy in the flat on a nice design for the offenses first TD of the day from the 10.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 11, 2022
Bradley Chubb with the hit stick on Zeke Elliott pic.twitter.com/yHorLAfdN3— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 11, 2022
Broncos offense DOMINATED the red zone period scoring many TDs.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) August 11, 2022
Broncos defense DOMINATED the red zone period, holding the offense to No TDs.
Russ threw three TDs on 5 plays from inside the 10.— RK (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 11, 2022
One to JJ, on to Albert O, one to Hinton.
The rare 18-point possession.
Matt Henningsen blows through the line for a TFL with the 2s— Henry Chisholm (@HenryChisholm) August 11, 2022
The rookie heated up this week.
Brett Rypien to Jalen Virgil for a deep TD. #Broncos— Summer of George (@GeorgeStoia) August 11, 2022
Looks like the Cowboys lost the scrimmage and the fights— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) August 11, 2022
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on the running game and how critical is it for the success of the offense
“It’s always critical to be able to run the ball. I think that’s the number one thing to be able to help yourself, protect the quarterback, set up the shots down the field and all the things that we want to accomplish. From where we’re at right now, you’re really never going to know until you have to tackle somebody. I thought we did some really good combination blocks and that’s what we’re trying to hunt as we put that all together. Then get their backs up to the line of scrimmage or pass them before they have to bounce somebody off or make somebody move. It means to that you’re going to be successful in the run game.”
Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on if QB Russell Wilson was running off a script during practice
“Primarily, it was a script. We had things—in these situations you can’t spend a typical week on it like you would to be able to get ready for a game. So, we’re trying to do things that we know are going to be all purpose. Things that are going be able to attack the font structure. But besides that, you just wanted to work the plays. You want to get a feel for it. I think ‘Russ’ (QB Russell Wilson), he knows kind of what we were trying to accomplish, what we were trying to do and he was just playing ball. I think that’s great. You see that system come alive over there when he’s going through his progressions, going through his reads and feeling confident the guys are getting in the right spots, which is what we’re searching for. We just have to continue to do it over and over again.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson on if the offense is where he expected it to be at this point
“Yeah, I think our offense is exactly where I thought it would be—honestly, probably further. We’re really far along. It’s impressive to see how much—again, I give credit to the guys. The investment they’ve put into it every day, every moment, it’s all about them and what they’ve done. It’s been a joy to work with them every day and just put in the extra work, put in the extra work, put in the extra work. It’s added up to us looking really sharp, playing really clean football and executing in every way throughout the day. We made some great big plays. I thought that [WR] Courtland [Sutton] looked amazing today. [WR] Jerry Jeudy had a nice little touchdown down the sideline there. A few other guys made some really spectacular plays. It was really just a really exceptional—[TE Eric] Saubert had a great play, a few of those. [WR Kendall] Hinton caught the touchdown, again. We had a bunch of touchdowns on a bunch of plays. It was really cool. ‘Albert O’ (TE Albert Okwuegbunam) looked really good. He caught his touchdown, made a play across the field. The line blocked extremely well. Those guys up front, they make everything happen and we were able to run the ball and throw the ball extremely well. It was a cool day.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson on what kind of mismatches TE Albert Okwuegbunam can create when you move him outside
“[TE] Albert [Okwuegbunam] looked exceptional today. His ability to run away and he’s been working at his craft every day. I’ve been pretty hard on him. We’ve been pushing, he’s been receiving the information and working his butt off every day. For him, his ability to get open, his ability to read concepts and understand what he’s trying to do right now. There was a play today that we talked about, for example, and I told him in the early morning walk-thru that we had at seven o’clock in the morning or whatever time it was, and it was like, ‘ On this play today, if you get this, I want you to do this.’ And he did it. It was like, ‘Boom, there it is, ‘ and he ran for 40 yards down the sidelines. Those little details are everything. He’s working on his craft and I’m really proud of him. He’s going to have an exceptional year, I believe. And then [TE] Eric Saubert, he’s doing extremely well, too. You saw him make some big plays down the field and how physical he is blocking as well. It’s been really cool to see.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson on how WR Courtland Sutton has stepped up as a leader both on and off the field
“[WR] Courtland [Sutton] has been exceptional. He’s got an amazing skill set, in terms of his ability to catch the football down the field. He’s extremely bright. This guy—I’m not sure if you guys have seen him throw a football, but he could play quarterback if he wanted to. He’s that smart. He takes all the information in and he understands what the defense is doing. He’s one of the best receivers I’ve seen, in terms of understanding the game and what’s going on. I’ve played with some amazing receivers. [Seattle WR] D.K. [Metcalf] is special and [Seattle WR] Tyler [Lockett] is special. I would put Courtland up there as well. Those guys are amazing. It’s really cool to see how much he’s put into it, his investment into his craft. I think his investment into other guys though is what’s really cool. He has really stepped up as a leader. He gets in the front of the line, he pushes the guys throughout the meetings, he holds guys accountable, he loves the game, he loves his craft and he loves his teammates. Also, what’s been a huge bright light to see is [WR] Jerry Jeudy step up in a beautiful way. He’s going to have a really amazing year. He’s so confident right now. He’s playing his best football that I’ve seen. He’s really sharp, he understands every concept of what we’re trying to do and how to get there. Every route is just perfect and he’s been really great for us. I put that back to his work ethic. He sits in the front of the room right next to me. Him and [WR] KJ Hamler, they’re always gaining information, always asking questions, always there early and ready to work and there’s never a moment they’re not ready to put the extra work in and it shows on the field.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson on how effective RB Javonte Williams and the running backs can be this year
“When I turn on the film and watch [RB] Javonte [Williams], I am like, ‘Wow, this guy is amazing. He’s special.’ Just watching his decision making, his cuts and his vision—I know he’s a Tar Heel, so I don’t know if I can brag about him too much (Laughing). He’s been amazing just to watch and he’s a true pro. He’s in there every morning focused, ready to roll and ready to do any extra work. I’m excited for him. He’s got to keep pushing and I’m going to keep pushing him. We’re going to have a lot of fun. [RB] Melvin [Gordon III] is special, too. He wasn’t out there today, but he’s been unbelievable. I’ve known Melvin for years since Wisconsin. Having that stable of running backs and then you add in [RB Mike] Boone, it’s tough back there. Those guys are really special. I’m excited about it and it should be great.”