Good morning, Broncos Country!
The first five days of Training Camp have gone better than expected, primarily because the offense looks like a formidable force in the NFL this year.
And that is primarily thanks to Case Keenum.
“He’s better, in my opinion, than what I saw on tape,” coach Vance Joseph said earlier this week. “His accuracy, his command, his smarts, his feel...he’s better now than he was last year, in my opinion.”
But better than the coach loving what he sees from his quarterback is what the quarterback’s team sees.
And they are totally on board with No. 4.
Every single player who is asked about Keenum has a genuinely interesting and positive reaction to the new quarterback - not just a canned talking point.
Which is such a relief heading into the new season.
It feels amazing to be excited about a quarterback again. #BroncosCamp https://t.co/pKRSg4yL8x— Doctor of Words (and tights) (@docllv) August 1, 2018
But don’t listen to me, listen to the players and coaches.
Offensive guard Ron Leary says No. 4 “brings a lot with him” - and that’s just good for everybody.
“He’s a really confident guy,” Leary said. “He knows this game, and he’s played a lot of ball so having him back there on the center is a big help for all because I think it’s going to really show come Week 1.”
Veteran offensive tackle Jared Veldheer sees a true leader who has fun playing the game - which is rubbing off on the entire offense.
“It’s awesome,” Veldheer said. “He’s a guy who brings his ‘A’ game every day, does his job, and it’s up to us to protect him and keep him in there all year healthy.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is noticing that too.
“I think our players are rallying around him. He’s got a terrific work ethic,” Musgrave said, noting that Keenum’s ability to anticipate the right throw for different receivers is key. “He knows when to change speeds to make it more catchable for receivers on various routes. He knows when to have to really frozen rope it and drill it on there. Those are innate qualities.”
Emmanuel Sanders has definitely liked that quality as he and his fellow receivers have seen Keenum spread the ball around to everyone - from receivers to backs to tight ends - with great success.
“I’m out here having fun and [Case] is dropping some dimes,” Sanders said Tuesday. “Musgrave is calling all the plays, and he’s trying to spread the ball around. It smells like football. It doesn’t seem like it’s so hard. It’s easy, and it’s fun.”
Keenum also has some versatility that has not been typical of Broncos quarterbacks of late.
“The thing about Case, even though he’s not a 6’5 guy, he still throws well from under center which good because we want to run the ball from under center. But we don’t want to be predictable when we’re under center that we’re 99 percent run and 1 percent pass,” Musgrave added. “And then he can throw on the run really well — on the move, on the run. He can process what he sees and make good decisions. That’s been consistent, and you love that trait.”
So it’s also worth noting that Keenum has yet to throw an INT in camp.
Five practices in now and Case Keenum STILL has not thrown an interception— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) August 1, 2018
But it’s not just the offense noticing a nice change of pace. It’s the defense too. And if this defense is noticing, it’s worth paying attention.
Domata Peko said Keenum is “exactly what we needed.”
“I’m really loving Case,” Peko said. “He takes care of the ball, he’s not going to make those wild, crazy throws, trying to force plays. He’s going to maintain the game, and he can sling that thing. Him and Emmanuel hooked up a lot yesterday. I’m excited for them this season -and I’m excited for our offense.”
Bradley Roby says the vibe is a lot different on that side of the ball this season.
“Case is a great leader, a great manager. How he commands the huddle and gets those guys set up and lined up getting the ball to them, his accuracy, everything, his decision making,” he said. “We’re going to be so much better than we have been the past two years, so I’m excited.”
Todd Davis gets the same sense about the offense.
“Absolutely. It’s a totally different feel. They have a different swag to them. They play with a lot more confidence, and that’s all coming from No. 4,” the linebacker said. “When you have somebody behind you that you know is going to come in and do his job and do a great job, it really allows you to play hard.”
Perfect pass by CASE KEENUM to EMMANUEL SANDERS. Just over the reach of Chris Harris Jr. #Broncos pic.twitter.com/kizHrENOTW— PirateLife Football (@PirateLifeFF) August 1, 2018
Chris Harris Jr. - one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL - got burned this week by a sweet pass from Keenum to Sanders. That bodes well for the new quarterback - and Harris is all for it.
“That’s just a quarterback,” Harris said. “If he keeps throwing like that, we’re going to win.”
Sounds amazing to me.
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