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2023 Broncos Training Camp: Day 10 news and notes

Day 10 of Broncos camp is in the books. Today, we have Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense putting together another solid day and more!

Denver Broncos 2023 training camp Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Day 10 of Broncos camp is officially in the books. We are back after a day off on Sunday and a closed practice on Monday with a practice today and tomorrow before the Broncos have their first preseason game on Friday vs. the Cardinals.

Today we have quarterback Russell Wilson having yet another strong day, rookie Marvin Mims Jr. making plays, Vance Joseph talking defense, fake punts, news and notes, injury updates, quotes, and more.

Russell Wilson has another great day of practice

Late last week, we saw quarterback Russell Wilson begin to string together back-to-back good practices before heading into an off day. Well, he followed it up with another great day during Monday’s closed practice and did it yet again during today’s practice.

During a two-minute drill to end practice, Wilson led the first-team offense down the field and concluded it with a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Courtland Sutton. The big play during this period was a 37-yard strike to rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr.

Prior to this drill, the Broncos were working in the red zone, and Wilson was cooking during this drill as well. On third down again, Wilson floated a pass over a defender right into the arms of wide receiver Kendall Hinton for a touchdown pass. It was another strong practice by Wilson who has been finding the end zone a lot more in recent practices.

After practice, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi met with the media and was asked about Wilson’s progress throughout the offseason. He told the media that it has been good and that he has not been around many people who work as hard as Wilson does. He finished by saying Wilson is always positive, fun to be around, and that he is currently in a “good spot”.

“It’s been good. I haven’t been around many people who work any harder than him. He loves football, he’s always positive every day and he’s fun to be around. For August 8th, I think he’s in a really good spot.”

With a number of the Broncos defensive backs missing the last few practices, many have pointed to that being the reason for Wilson’s recent run of good practices. While that likely has some impact, it could also be true that the Broncos offense is starting to pick it up. Patrick Surtain and Damarri Mathis are still out there and most teams do not have a safety at the level of Justin Simmons on their roster. So, it is encouraging to see Wilson and the Broncos offense starting to do well.

Rookie Marvin Mims Jr. makes a big play

After a slow start to training camp because of a naggy hamstring injury, we saw rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. make his first standout play of camp thus far. This standout play came during a third down during a two-minute period to end practice. Quarterback Russell Wilson was scrambling to buy time and found rookie Marvin Mims down the field for a 37-yard gain. (You can see a video of play here)

After Brandon Johnson went down with what appears to be a minor injury and left practice, we saw Marvin Mims get more of an opportunity. The fact he was on the field for an important two-minute drill and able to make what would have been a game-changing play for the offense, is pretty big.

The Broncos traded up and drafted him in the second round for a reason and likely have big plans for him this upcoming season. Heading into the draft, he was known as a deep threat specialist, so seeing him making plays downfield in training camp is also encouraging.

Hopefully, this is the beginning of some big things for the Broncos rookie this upcoming season.

Vance Joseph talks defense

Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph met with the media today and gave us some interesting insights into the Broncos' defense. We have not heard much from Vance since he was hired back with the team, so it was enlightening to hear what he had to say.

Joseph was asked about his evaluation of the defense so far throughout camp and he told reporters that it has been a “good camp” for the Broncos defense thus far.

“It’s been a good camp. It’s an installation plan, so it’s not purposely being aggressive or playing a zone defense or rushing four or five. It’s just a part of the plan. The players are playing fast and they’re playing clean. It’s a good group. It’s a fully engaged group and they love to play.”

One player who has stood out on defense thus far throughout camp has been veteran safety, Justin Simmons. He is currently sidelined by a groin injury, but before that, he was routinely intercepting passes and making life difficult for the Broncos first-team offense.

Joseph was asked about how much Simmons has grown since he last coached him during his first stint with the team. He replied by raving to reporters about Simmons’s intelligence and how he can coach the room. He even explained that Simmons has corrected him a few times as Vance is still learning the defense they ran last season and has been helping him create the system they will be running this season.

“I think the current player, his football IQ is so high. I mean, he can coach the room right now. He’s having a great camp, obviously, but his IQ is super high. He’s actually fixed about three or four things for me in the last four days because I haven’t been in the system and there are certain calls that I was not used to those guys making last year. He explained it to me and we kind of came together and made it right for both sides. He’s done a good job helping me put in the systems. It’s been special to watch his growth.”

The big thing we have learned recently is that Joseph is not bringing his system to Denver. Instead, he is going to run something very similar to what they have run in the past and he is the one learning the terminology and calls, not the players. So, hopefully, with not much changing on the defensive side of the ball this season, the Broncos defense stays strong.

Could we see punter Riley Dixon fake some punts?

This offseason, the Broncos brought back punter Riley Dixon who they initially drafted a few years back before moving on from him. Coming out of college, he was known as an athletic punter who could be utilized in fakes at times. Well, according to special teams coach Ben Kotwica, we could see Dixon throwing the ball some this upcoming season.

Kotwica told reporters that Riley’s ability to throw the football it opens “the field space up” and is something they have practiced over the past weeks. He continued by saying that Dixon has completed these passes at a high percentage rate and is a luxury they are fortunate to have.

As for punting the ball, Kotwica has been impressed by him there as well. He told reporters he is punting the ball as well as he has ever seen a punter kick it during his 16-year coaching career.

“I’ve seen a punter that has hit some balls—I’ve been in the league for 16 years—that has been as good as I’ve seen. Not only hangtime and distance but direction. One of the things that we’re continuing to work with Riley on is transferring the things that we’re seeing on the side into the team period. If you guys were out here yesterday, he had a fantastic team period. That’s the bar that we’ve set, and that’s what we’re looking forward to seeing as we move forward, especially on Friday night.”

With an emphasis on improving the special teams, it is encouraging to hear that Dixon is doing this well. Last season, punter Corliss Waitman struggled at times and was very inconsistent as a punter, so getting some more consistency and improving as a whole there should be beneficial.

News and Notes

  • Reserve offensive tackle Isaiah Prince replaced Mike McGlinchey with the 1st team offense during team drills.
  • Veteran swing tackle Cam Fleming was at left tackle today while Garett Bolles was given a day off.
  • Caden Sterns and P.J. Locke were the Broncos' starting safeties in today’s practice with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson sitting out.

Injury/Attendance Update

Notable Quotes

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph onn the outside linebacker room

“It’s the best room I’ve had from one to six in a very long time. Having a bunch of rushers with different traits has been fun to watch. Having a plan for each guys to get enough reps to be effective during the game is going to be important for me. Having [OLB] Randy [Gregory], [OLB] Frank [Clark], ‘Coop’ (OLB Jonathon Cooper) and [OLB Nik] Bonitto and then when [OLB] Baron [Browning] comes back, that’s a really good room. We’ve got two young guys breaking glass also. It’s a good room.”

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph on if he empowers players to come to him with ideas

“Absolutely. You want the players to have ownership, especially now and what we are doing right now. Guys who were here last year, they did some good stuff on tape, so I don’t want to dismiss that. Pressures they like—[ILB] Josey [Jewell] likes this one pressure that we put in yesterday. The guys have ideas of what has been good for them in the past, so let’s put it in. I’m willing to learn and listen to the veteran players who work at it and have really good ideas. Absolutely, it’s been a back and forth with those veteran players here.

Special Teams coach Ben Kotwica on if he plans to take the kicking competition all the way to cut-down day, or if there is a benefit to making the decision early

“The good thing is that both guys have done a tremendous job. Both [K] Brett [Maher] and [K] Elliott [Fry] have been really good. In the charted kicks, both are over 90 percent. We hit the two-minute ones the other day. I think that will work itself out as we move down. As I shared with the guys the other day, these guys are so good you could put them on the sticks on the side and they could knock them all. There’s going to be key kicks coming up here, whether it’s in a team period, or in a two-minute, or on Friday against Arizona. There will definitely be—kind of like the ‘Moneyball’ in the 3-point contest, there are going to be some key kicks here as we go down the stretch.

Special Teams coach Ben Kotwica on what WR Montrell Washington has shown so far in training camp

“He’s done an excellent job. I see a returner that’s growing. He’s catching the ball much easier. As a matter of fact, we just finished up—we’re going to play Arizona on Friday night, they’ve got a left-footed guy, [Cardinals P] Matt Haack, that’s going to be there, so [it is the] first time catching some left-footed spins and such. He’s definitely got enough athletic ability to do it. We did almost a full punt and punt return, and he ended up hitting a move on a guy. I think I see a player who’s growing in his confidence at that position.”

Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi on what he has seen from the guards on the offensive line

“Those two guards are really strong. I think they do a good job of consistently winning the line of scrimmage and denting the line of scrimmage. Our inside runs for the most part, there is a lot of room for the running backs in there. Just the strength that they have and, again, they are smart guys. [They are] just throwbacks that love football, are tough and are just in there every play. The strength in the run game is obviously an asset and their ability to hold the line of scrimmage in the passing game and not get pushed back, those are huge for us. They are two guys we are really encouraged with.”

Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi on the benefit of practicing tempo during training camp

“There are different kinds of tempo. There is no huddle, which we will do a little bit but it certainly, in my history with [Head Coach] Sean [Payton], hasn’t been a major part of it. But the tempo of getting guys in and out of the huddle. Off the sidelines, getting into the huddle quickly, getting the play call, breaking the huddle and up to the line of scrimmage. No. 1, I think it puts pressure on the defense. They’re trying to figure out who is in the huddle and getting their personnel in. Also, [they are] figuring out which receivers are in, which tight ends are in, what play call do I want to make defensively based on who we have in the huddle? I think that puts pressure on them and also giving the quarterback more time at the line of scrimmage if he needs it to make protection checks or run checks, whatever we need to do. It’s helps us, makes it more calm at the line of scrimmage and also puts pressure on the defense.”

Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi on the progress of RB Tyler Badie and RB Jaleel McLaughlin

“I think those two are doing—first of all, they have really good vision. I think you guys have probably seen it. [RB] Jaleel [McLaughlin] seems to break a big run at least once a day. He’s got really good vision and sets up his blocks really well. Same way with [RB] Tyler [Badie]. I’ve been encouraged with both of them in the passing game. They both run pretty good routes and catch the ball well. Hopefully, we can keep developing that. They are two really smart players that work really hard and have been good in the run game and good in the pass game. It will be good to see in the preseason games with some live rushes coming how they do in protection. That’ll give us a more complete look at them.”

Tweets From Camp