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2022 Broncos Training Camp: Day 12 news and notes

News and notes from day 12 of Broncos Camp.

NFL: Denver Broncos Training Camp Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos were in pads once again today during Training Camp which was a bit overshadowed by the sale of the team becoming official. Updates from camp were limited but it was another competitive day for the offense and defense.

Today we have Russ leading the Broncos to a score during a two-minute drill, Jerry Jeudy getting into a rhythm within the offense and with quarterback Russell Wilson, Albert O. improving as a blocker, news and notes, injury updates, quotes, and more.

Russ leads the offense in a two-minute drill

At the end of practice, the Broncos were working on a two-minute drill where the offense had to drive down from their own 32 to either score a field goal or touchdown. The number one offense going up against the number one defense(minus a few key players on both sides) and it ended with Brandon McManus kicking a field goal to end the period.

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked what he learns from Russ in these situations and he told reporters that he learns “a ton” from him.

“A ton. That’s been some of my favorite conversations with him—trying to figure out the different things that we can get to in those critical situations. I think that’s why I want to do that so much and continually over and over again. Just how we communicate, how we talk and how I can see what he would want in those situations, so he doesn’t have to think. Hopefully we’re thinking the exact same things, and I’m thinking more like him. You can see that. We’ve been doing a nice job moving the ball down the field. We haven’t gotten a ton of touchdowns, but we’ve done what we needed to do to get some points on the board. That’s always the hardest thing. That’s usually the last thing that happens for offense. To see the efficiency that’s going on there is really good. The mix of all the up-tempo stuff, all the different things we’re doing—it’s really good to see him operate that way.”

The offense isn’t clicking on all cylinders just yet, but it’s just August 9th. It’s good to see that the Broncos quarterback and the head coach/play-caller have a good enough relationship here that they can have these productive conversations with each other.

This is the time of the year to see what works, what doesn’t work, what needs to be improved, tinkered with, and just working on stuff. It’s going to be a process but it’s good to see they are making gains, especially against what appears to be a tough Broncos defense.

Jerry Jeudy getting into a rhythm

Courtland Sutton sat out practice, for the most part, today with a minor shoulder injury. With Patrick out for the year, and Sutton getting some rest, Jeudy was the Broncos' top receiver during practice today. This has allowed the young Broncos receiver to get into more of a rhythm in the passing game.

Hackett was asked about Jeudy and how he’s improving as the practices move on and he told reporters that Jeudy, and everyone on offense, are starting to pick up the little things in the offense and are all improving.

“Yeah, for sure. It’s funny—it’s everybody. We’ve been having—and I know it’s small things, but we’re talking just how people line up. They might line up one yard too wide or one yard too less, and it really affects the entire spacing of the play. We want to be so intricate in our details. I think what you’re seeing is everybody getting to understand the system and now getting that extra yard which now makes it even time up better. [WR] Jerry [Jeudy] had a couple of those—he had a nice one there at the end, which was great. They are definitely doing a fine job.”

As I said earlier, the Broncos are learning a new offense and are building chemistry with a new quarterback. It’s going to take time and weeks of reps to get these little things down. With the work ethic, Russell Wilson has shown during his short time with the team, I think the Broncos will be in good shape come September.

Albert Okwuegbunam improving as a blocker

With the Broncos moving to a west coast offense, this means the Broncos' tight ends will need to be solid blockers in the run game. This was an area of concern heading into camp because the Broncos' likely top two tight ends aren’t known as good blockers. However, expected starter Albert O. is improving as a run blocker according to Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett.

After practice, he was specifically asked about Albert O’s blocking skills and he told reporters that the athletic tight end is “definitely improving” as a blocker.

“Good. That’s definitely been something we’ve wanted to work on. He had a couple of past protections that we threw him in there. As a coach, you’re like, ‘Ok, what are we working on here?’ [Tight Ends Coach] Jake [Moreland], I think, has done an amazing job with him. He was able to block some people really well. He still has some things he’s got to work on, but he’s definitely improving.”

This is something we will need to see during the preseason and into the regular season, but still promising to hear. It was the one weak link in his game. As for his receiving work, Hackett said Albert O. has picked up all the things they have asked him to do and that he is playing faster out there.

“Earlier on in OTAs, picking up the system took him a while. He’s been absolutely splendid going out there right now. He’s been going out there and we’ve been putting him all over the place, from motioning, playing wide, playing ‘F’ and doing all kinds of different things. He’s really picked it up and I think that’s been exciting because now we can evaluate him as a player, and he can play faster.”

With Tim Patrick out, the Broncos' big tight end will likely pick up a bigger role in the offense, specifically within the red zone. So, it is great to hear he is doing well this summer and improving in all facets of his game.

News and Notes

Injury Report

  • Wide receiver K.J. Hamler is working on the side with rookie defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike(ankle) and nose tackle D.J. Jones
  • Cornerback Ronald Darby sat out practice. He was shaken up during the final play of Monday’s practice. He suffered a chest contusion according to Hackett and is considered day to day
  • Veteran safety Kareem Jackson was given a veteran day off
  • Tight end Greg Dulcich continues to be eased back into action and is sitting out today’s practice
  • Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (throat) continued to sit out practice
  • Guard Netane Muti sat out practice with a knee injury
  • EDGE Christopher Allen sat out practice as well
  • EDGE Randy Gregory and OT’s Billy Turner and Tom Compton remain on the PUP
  • Guard Ben Braden left practice with a trainer. He has a back issue.
  • Rookie running back Tyreik McAllister left practice with a hamstring injury
  • Wide receiver Courtland Sutton has a “shoulder thing” per Hackett but it doesn’t seem anything significant
  • CB Patrick Surtain II sat out the second half of practice but he’s “just fine” according to Nathaniel Hackett

Tweets From Camp

Notable Quotes

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on the evaluation of the offense during Tuesday’s practice

“I thought they did some good stuff. I never think about it too much. I was a little emotional yesterday, but once you watch the tape, it’s never as good as you think or as bad as you think. There was some better stuff. There was just a couple of major plays that didn’t go right, which upset me yesterday. I think today—overall was good. We actually changed up how we did some things. They responded pretty well for that. I thought we had some good explosive plays and some efficient plays, and I thought the defense was able to hang in tight there, too.”

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on Wide Receivers Coach Zach Azzanni lobbied for the 1-on-1 drill in Tuesday’s practice

“That was by popular demand, for sure (laughs). I told him, ‘Hey, if you guys want that, we can go’. It’s good for some of those young guys to get those reps against each other. The crowd loves it. It really starts with the running back and inside linebackers. They wanted to get a couple routes, and they want to get a little past protection. I figured, since we’re going to do that, let’s get a nice, short period and see what happens. It’s been pretty efficient.”

Offensive Tackle Calvin Anderson on if there is something special about watching QB Russell Wilson operate the two-minute drill

“We’re all trying to always get better, but what I think is really special in two-minute is just getting to watch ‘Russ’ (QB Russell Wilson) work because he makes a lot happen with very little. Our goal is always going to be to give him as much time as we possibly can so he can make as many—or have as many options as possible because we know he’s going to make a play at the end of the day. As an offensive unit, we’re just trying to make sure we’re keeping the pocket solidified and give him some time because if he has some time, he’s going to make something special happen.”

Offensive Tackle Calvin Anderson on what impresses him the most about QB Russell Wilson

“I would say his presence. It’s something I noticed immediately when I first met ‘Russ’. His presence is different. He has the presence of somebody who has just been to the Super Bowl and won and has been to the Pro Bowl. He walks into a room, and you feel his energy immediately. I think that’s really helpful coming from a leadership position because he affects everyone else around him. When we’re on the field and we see that, we hear that, we feel that and we can sense that, then it affects all of us in a positive way so we can be more like ‘Russ’. It is really helpful. He brings us up to a championship mentality.”

Defensive Lineman DeShawn Williams on who has improved the most among the offensive line

“[C] Lloyd [Cushenberry]. [The] MVP of that offensive line so far is Lloyd because of his flexibility. He’s stronger, and he’s commanding the calls of the front. I think him traveling with ‘Russ’ (QB Russell Wilson) really helped and whatever the talk was about him losing his spot kind of pushed him to solidify that spot. We’ve seen him get much better.”