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2023 Broncos Training Camp: Day 2 News and Notes

Day two of Broncos camp is officially in the books!

NFL: Denver Broncos Training Camp Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Day two of Denver Broncos camp is in the books and it was back together weekend today. The team was showing off their new white helmets today as well as putting on another practice in front of the fans.

Today, we had a bounce-back day for quarterback Russell Wilson, Sean Payton putting an emphasis on the run game, the defense creating pressure, news and notes, injury updates, quotes, and more!

Russell Wilson has a bounce-back day

After a down day as a passer on day one of Broncos camp, Wilson looked sharper today and put together a much better practice than the one he did yesterday

Russ hit Tim Patrick and Samaje Perine during the 7-on-7 early on for big plays. He would have been perfect if it were not for a Jerry Jeudy drop. However, on the very next throw, Russ went right back to Jeudy for a big 20-yard gain. In team drills, Wilson hit Courtland Sutton for a big play down the field for about a 15-yard gain. Late in practice, Wilson was almost intercepted by Patrick Surtain II after a deep attempt to Jerry Jeudy, but he did not come down with it. It was smothering coverage by Surtain II who is displaying his elite coverage skills throughout practice.

The defensive pressure was on him throughout practice which limited his upside. Garett Bolles was back at practice, but he was still down Mike McGlinchey on the right side. It wasn’t a perfect day for Russ, but it was a better overall practice than the one he had yesterday.

Running the ball has to be part of the Broncos' DNA

During the offseason, the Broncos put an emphasis on improving their run game and added players who should do just that. They signed two maulers in Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers, a stud run-blocking tight end, a lead-blocking fullback, and a powerful do it all runner in Samaje Perine. Now, we are starting to see all that come together on the field.

After today’s practice, head coach Sean Payton was asked about his commitment to running the ball this season. He told the reporters that running the ball has to be a part of the Broncos' DNA this season.

“I think it has to be part of our DNA, and we felt that way in New Orleans, as well. I think the two greatest allies for a good quarterback player are a running game and good defense. I think it’s a tough position to play if you’re not running the ball well, and then obviously it becomes tougher if you’re not stopping anyone. That’s going to be important to what we do as long as I’m here. I just think it’s that important to winning in our league.”

As previously mentioned, the Broncos signed tight end Chris Manhertz this offseason to be their run-blocking specialist this year. Sean Payton was about him after practice today and raved about him. He called him one of the better run-blocking tight ends in the league and said it is hard to run the ball without a blocking tight end.

“I think in order to run the ball, it’s hard to do without a blocking tight end or someone that can handle the ‘D-gap.’ We found Chris in New Orleans on a free agent tryout with no football experience. He was a basketball player. A close friend of mine sent me a little video on my phone, and we brought him in. Our vision when we worked him out was that receiving, Jimmy Graham-type tight end. It actually was interesting because he developed into a really, really physical player at the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately for us then, Carolina picked him up off our practice squad, and then he went to Jacksonville. I would say within the last five years, he has been one of the better run-blocking tight ends. That and then his makeup, his character and he’s a tremendous guy. You can have a lot of things going for you relative to running the football, but you end up playing jumbo tackles, maybe, if you don’t have a blocking tight end. He just does a lot of those things well. You know exactly what you’re getting from him which allows you to gameplan easier on Wednesday and Thursday nights.”

As expected, the Broncos appear to be a team that is going to be a run-first offense, or at least, a team that wants an effective run game. Also, with Payton’s raving about tight end Chris Manhertz, we can lock him into a roster spot. Not that was ever in doubt, but clearly, he figures to be an important factor in the Broncos run game.

The defense brought the pressure again today

For a second straight practice, the Broncos' defense pressured the offense early and often throughout practice. Yesterday, they were down both starting tackles, but today, they at least had left tackle, Garett Bolles, back. However,

Defensive end Zach Allen continued to be mentioned as a disruptive player. Jonathon Cooper continued to get mentioned and is having a strong offseason per reports. One name that was mentioned a few times today was second-year pass rusher Nik Bonitto. The explosive edge rusher would have had a sack today and beat left tackle Garett Bolles a few times today. Last year, we barely mentioned Bonitto during camp and he didn’t really show much during the season, so this is the progress we need to see and is hopefully something that continues throughout the summer.

With that said, all this was without pads on, so we need to take that into account when reacting to this. Pads come on Monday, so we shall see who stands out and who doesn’t during that practice.

News and Notes

Injury Report/Attendance Update

Notable Quotes

Head Coach Sean Payton on the most significant things the team has accomplished during the first few days of training camp

“I think constantly bringing everyone up to speed as to what we’re wanting. In the same way with the coaching staff, the expectation with how we want practice to look, the tempo and then the installation obviously is important. These guys learning in the meetings, watching the tape and trying to avoid the repeated mistakes, that kind of thing. It’s their first time and it’s our first time as a staff together. We all like routine, eliminating distractions and trying to do all of that, but trying to get these guys into that practice that we’re looking for, tempo-wise and organizationally.”

Head Coach Sean Payton on how quickly the separation between players becomes when pads come on

“We’re evaluating everything. The key is not to come to the conclusions right away. All of these snaps, reps and stuff that we’re seeing, it’s all going into the evaluation process. Certainly, it helps the player when he can perform when he knows what he’s doing; but I’ve seen it a lot when the pads come on, where certain guys that can kind of define them sometimes in a positive way. We have a lot of time here, and there is a sense of urgency to what we’re doing, but we’re really right at the beginning.”

Head Coach Sean Payton on what he will try to accomplish during the players’ day off tomorrow

“We go ahead and map out the next seven days of practice with the scripts and practice schedules. At some point, I’m going to be talking with [Rams Head Coach] Sean McVay relative to the joint practice here in a few weeks. We have time. When we were in the spring, for instance, we planned these first six practices—scripted, all of it—so that it was ready when camp began and then went until—we actually have it scripted through Monday. Tomorrow, we will get another seven days of practice planning, we’ll look at cutups, we’ll talk about the first four or five days and look at the depth chart. We’ll have those types of meetings. It’s really planning ahead.”

Head Coach Sean Payton on what he is looking to see from the kick returners

“The first thing is reliability and ball security. There is nothing worse than when the ball is in the air and you have that, ‘I hope he catches it’ [feeling]. That is something where the preseason will help show its hand a little bit. I kind of get back to [Assistant Head Coach Mike] Westhoff, [Special Teams Coordinator Ben] Kotwica and even [Assistant Special Teams Coach Chris] Banjo, but the investment we’ve made in our special teams, both on the field and upstairs, is significant. We’re going to have the opportunity to return in the kickoff and hopefully—I know it’s tough here because of the altitude—when we get those return opportunities in the punt game, we’re going to have great schemes and designs to give these guys a chance. The key is then—we have a great producer, let’s find someone that can take advantage of that. That will be important.”

Tweets from Camp