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2023 Broncos Training Camp: Day 7 news and notes

The news and notes from today’s padded practice from Day 7 of Denver Broncos training camp.

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

Day 7 of Denver Broncos Camp is officially in the books. After having a closed practice with no fans and minimal media reporting on Thursday, the fans are back and the pads were back on for today’s practice.

Today we have, Russell Wilson had his best overall day, an up-and-down two-minute period by the offense, Nik Bonitto standing out, news and notes, injury/attendance updates, notable quotes, and more.

Russell Wilson has his best day of camp

While today was not a great day for Russell Wilson, it was a good day for the quarterback and arguably his best day overall. He was coming off a few iffy practices with multiple turnovers, but today he was mostly mistake-free and moved the ball down the field.

He was perfect during 7-on-7s and hit a 30-40 yard pass to Greg Dulcich down the seam for a potential touchdown. He looked confident, was accurate, and just the sharpest he has looked during all of camp. The offense is supposed to look good during these drills so we cannot make too much out of it, but still good to see.

Now, that first two-minute drill did end with an interception, but that’s a bad luck interception in my book. Deflections happen, and it was a lucky play for the defense, but still not a great drill for the entire offense. In the second one, Russell Wilson looked in control of the offense, made the quick passes, did not turn the ball over, moved the ball down the field, and got the offense in position for a field goal.

Again, not a great day for Russell Wilson, but still, a good day for him and something we need to see from him more often as we progress through camp. Again, they are still in the installation period of camp and are learning a new offense so there figures to be some growing pains.

Two-Minute Drill

The Broncos practiced a two-minute scenario to end practice today and it was a mixed bag from the offense. The first attempt at this did not go well for the offense but they bounced back in the second drill and redeemed themselves a bit.

The first drill was killed from the start by two false start penalties by Mike McGlinchey and Greg Dulich which put the offense in a 1st and 20. However, the drill ended when Russell Wilson’s pass was deflected by Jonathan Harris and intercepted by Randy Gregory intercepted for a touchdown. Not great, and the interception on top of that left a sour taste in people’s mouths after Russ was coming off a strong 7-on-7 series.

What upset Sean Payton the most about this first drill was the pre-snap penalties that set the offense back from the start. He told reporters that it is something we have the improve on moving forward.

“I just finished talking about it. We had too many fouls there with the officials here. Before you ever really get going, you put yourself in a hole. It’s something we have to improve on.”

The first-team offense got another crack at it and did a better job this time around. For this scenario, the offense needed to drive down the field, starting on their own 38 to get a game-tying field goal with under two minutes left. Russ and the offense drove down the field and got kicker Brett Maher in range for a field goal attempt. Maher nailed a 52-yard field goal which would have sent the game to overtime and the offense ended up winning this drill.

While the second drill was successful, the pre-snap penalties clearly upset Payton and he addressed that again when meeting with the media.

“We had two different—typically, we will do a couple of different situations. The first situation was, ‘Neat Seven.’ [We had] one minute and 58 seconds with two timeouts. I think the second round was ‘Neat Three,’ [with] less time and one timeout. There will be some good and bad when you watch it. Obviously the first roll was difficult because of the penalties.”

So, it was a mixed bag overall for the Broncos offense. The pre-snap penalties that hindered the team last year continued, but unlike Hackett, Payton is acting on this trend and working to fix it. If they continue, Payton said the only other thing to do is pull that player off the field.

“There is a point at which you pull the player out. There is an emphasis to it, but it has to be more than just that. It has to go away.”

We did not see this type of accountability from the Broncos coaches last season, but Sean Payton is an old-school coach who will not put up with these pre-snap errors. It’s still early into camp and we should see these errors slowly stop, and if they do not, Sean Payton will do what he has to do to limit these penalities.

Nik Bonitto having a strong camp

Last year, we barely heard much from the explosive edge rusher, but through a week or so of camp this year, Nik Bonitto is having himself a very strong training camp. Today, he had multiple pressures, a few sacks, and was just being a menace off the edge of the Broncos' defense.

It has not been just today either, his name has been mentioned throughout camp as a standout player on the defensive side of the ball. He has been beating Mike McGlinchey, Bolles, Cam Fleming, and the tight ends so it has been against everyone. This consistency is what we needed to see from Bonitto and I am happy to see we are getting it.

The Broncos hired Jamar Cain to be their pass rush specialist coach this offseason and he was Nik Bonitto’s coach back during his time at Oklahoma. Earlier in camp, Payton noted this hire when asked about Bonitto and told reporters “This will be a big training camp for him”.

“We have his college coach. Obviously sometimes there’s a bigger learning curve for guys. It’s a production position, right. It’s one in which you’re getting to the quarterback, you’re affecting him—doesn’t mean you have to be sacking him—and then you’re holding up in the running game. This will be a big training camp for him.”

Bonitto instantly becomes a player I am most excited to see during training camp. He may never be a great edge setter or run defender, but his explosion and pass rush ability have the potential to be very good. I hope we see this type of play continue and he dominates during the preseason. if he can become a productive situational pass rusher that would be huge for this defense.

News and Notes

  • Head Coach Sean Payton told reporters defensive lineman Jonathan Harris has “opened some eyes”. He had a deflection of QB Russell Wilson today that resulted in a Randy Gregory pick-six.
  • Sean Payton said he would like to see more out of wide receivers Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
  • Rookie running back Jaleel McLaughlin continued to show off his explosiveness and flashed once again during today’s practice.
  • Kicker Brett Maher kicked a 52-yard field goal to end a two-minute drill to tie the game in that scenario
  • Undrafted rookie Taylor Grimes continues to shine during one-on-one drills and is a name to watch as we progress through the summer

Injury/Attendance Report

Notable Quotes

Head Coach Sean Payton what goes into game planning and installing a two-minute offense

“When you get into game planning—right now, you put in a library of two-minute calls. When you get into an opponent—in a two minute drive, there are generally maybe two or three calls per drive that are done at the line. The clock stops a lot. So, let’s say you have eight two-minute routes that are in per game. That can vary a little bit. You kind of find out what the opponent does and then maybe things that we do—or within the framework of what we do and what we think we do well. We put those in. More than anything, it’s the mechanics of getting the ball to the official, not rolling it on the ground and getting set if we have to clock it. There are so many other nuances—getting out of bounds, valuing the clock more than two yards gained if that makes sense. [It’s] really understanding that we want to move the ball, but the clock is important. All of that—we went through it in a walk through, and we’ll keep working on it.”

Head Coach Sean Payton on why the team signed WR Marquez Callaway and WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey in free agency

“They have size, they understand the offense, and they are guys that have played for us for different reasons. [WR] Marquez [Callaway] played when [WR] Michael Thomas got injured and was out. [WR] Lil’Jordan [Humphrey] played quite a bit. He was one of those players on the practice squad that would come up in the event of an injury. They are familiar with the system. They’re big, but they are still getting through it right now. I’m waiting to see something from both of those two guys. I’m expecting to see a little bit more. [It was] just from an experience standpoint.”

Head Coach Sean Payton on balancing the defensive line’s disruptiveness while still being able to effectively practice different offensive concepts

“It’s kind of back and forth. You have to stop them in protection. The drills will have an ebb and flow to them, and that’s not unusual for training camp. We just have to keep emphasizing the things that are important. The thing I mentioned—in every game we watched, and at the end of every half, there is a two-minute drill at the end of every half. Someone is [running] two-minute to get a field goal before halftime and maybe a touchdown. At the end of most games, there is a two minute drill because most games end within seven points. When the season is over and you look at that cutup, there are over 120, 130, 150 snaps with two-minute offense and defense and there may be 12 snaps of goal line on both offense and defense. You have to practice it a little bit proportionately. The games are fast, and you are in this quite a bit when you look at the course of a game. I think it’s important, and it’s something we emphasis. We will be on the same install schedule tomorrow.”

Head Coach Sean Payton if he has mile-markers or benchmarks he’d like the offense to hit throughout training camp

“You come in off the drills and you say, ‘What are we doing well? What aren’t we doing well?’ That’s every period, and specifically, when it gets to the preseason and you’re playing a game. I think the easier thing for us is to look at what we’re doing well and what we’re not and the reason [why] as opposed to the sum total all the time. Especially in the red zone. Yesterday’s red zone period was average at best, so we’ll be back in the red zone again. I think there’s a little bit more of a journey to it. It’s not daily thing where you’re coming in and you have a crisis.”

Tweets from Camp