Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 2 news and notes

Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 2 news and notes

Day 2 of Denver Broncos camp is now in the books and it was another solid practice. It was another practice in shells that featured a focus on special teams and individual drills but the team period did have some fireworks.

Today we have Russell Wilson looking good, more praise for the rookie Montrell Washington, the reserve tight end Eric Saubert made plays again, Patrick Surtain II doing elite cornerback things, Justin Simmons is all over the field, Jerry Jeudy making plays, news and notes, an update on injuries, quotes and more.

Russell Wilson looks good

After a slow start, but solid offensive showing on day 1, the Broncos offense and specifically Russell Wilson started to hit their stride on day 2. On day 1 they focused on more red zone drills but today they were able to attack the field more. This led to some big plays to Jerry Jeudy, tight end Eric Saubert, Courtland Sutton, and others.

Wilson looked smooth, was dropping dimes, making plays, extending plays, and just bringing a consistency from that position that the Broncos have been lacking since Peyton(pre-decline).

Reading about the offense making plays and battling back and forth with the defense is refreshing to read. Both units are throwing punches and both, specifically the offense, aren’t really struggling. This hasn’t been the case in recent history as we continuously heard about the offense’s struggles. Excited to see how this offense grows throughout camp and the preseason.

This is exactly what General Manager George Paton was expecting from Wilson when he acquired him and that is exactly what he is getting.

Hackett praises rookie Montrell Washington

After receiving praise from quarterback Russell Wilson after day 1’s practice, rookie wide receiver Montrell Washington once again earned some praise. This time, it was from Head Coach, Nathaniel Hackett.

Yesterday, Wilson praised Washington for showing up early and putting in that extra work in the weight room, on the field, and with Wilson. Well, coach Hackett echoed these thoughts by calling Washington a “hard worker” and someone who’s grinding out there while heaping more praise on him.

“Another really hard worker. This guy is grinding non-stop and I’m grateful for that. All rookies for me—everyone gets so excited for the rookies, but when you get out there in an NFL stadium and that speed—it’s different. It really is, but up to this point, we’re only into two days right now, but up to this point, he’s doing everything that we’re asking, and I appreciate that.

Getting on the good gracious of the All-Star quarterback and the Head Coach as a rookie only two days into practice is a pretty solid start to his NFL career.

Now, it is only two days of camp, no pads, and things can go sour in the coming days and weeks, but it’s a great start for the explosive rookie.

Eric Saubert making plays

With rookie Greg Dulcich sidelined and rehabbing an injury, veteran tight end Eric Saubert has taken over as the number two tight end. Well, after two practices, the recently re-signed tight end has made some big plays and appears to have a good connection with quarterback Russell Wilson

Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked about Saubert’s play thus far. He praised his run-blocking ability and the plays he has made so far in camp and how he is a player they want to continue develop.

“He’s been great to have on this team. We’ve thrown him in there. He’s strong, he’s good at the point of attack in the run game, and then he’s done some good stuff in the pass game. It’s about teaching those details and he’s buying into all that stuff. Whenever you get a guy that’s a smart guy, a tough guy, and that’s going to buy into what we’re trying to do, you’re going to see great things happen. He had a great—it was the one on the right that he made and the route that he ran. He was wide open, but the first part was so great. That was just that understanding of how to move a defender and find a sweet spot. He’s another guy that we want to keep continually developing.”

With Albert O. and I am assuming rookie tight end Greg Dulcich playing ahead of him, Saubert has a chance to carve out a role as a run block specialist and potentially more if he continues to make play. Albert O. and Dulcich are known for their receiving play not their blocking, and blocking will be needed from that position, so we could see Saubert a good bit this upcoming season.

Patrick Surtain II doing elite corner things

Last year, General Manager George Paton and the Broncos surprised everyone when they passed on a quarterback and selected CB Patrick Surtain II with their 10th overall selection. Passing on the quarterback and selecting Surtain II was highly debated at the time. However, after a rookie season that elevated him into the conversation into one of the best corners in the league, that debate is done and over with.

Surtain II has continued his strong rookie season into camp and he displayed his shutdown ability in a third-down situational drill against Broncos’ top receiver, Courtland Sutton.

“It was a third-down period, and it was offense versus defense. It’s really a competition period. If the offense gets the first down, then they win the competition. If we stop them, then we win. I had to make a play. That goes to show how we have been competing each and every day and getting each other better.”

Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked about Patrick Surtain II and he told reporters that he is trying some new things out there and that he is starting to get the hang of these new things.

“All of the above. He is a great person to start off, he’s a smart guy, and he’s starting to get comfortable. There are some new things that he is doing out there and I think he is starting to feel good about those. Even with [Defensive Backs Coach] Christian [Parker] another year is great. Same kind of system with [Defensive Coordinator] Ejiro [Evero] . Then you add in the range, the speed, the strength, and all of those things. That was awesome because that was two big human beings competing for a ball. You love to see that. They are going to make each other better, and that what I love.”

If Surtain is able to add new things to his already potentially elite game, the Broncos corner could start showing some shades of Broncos Hall Of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey.

Like Simmons, the Broncos need Surtain to live up to his billing and potentially more if the defense and team want to achieve their lofty goals this upcoming season.

Justin Simmons making plays all over the field

Justin Simmons is one of the best players on the Broncos roster right now and arguably one of, if not the best safeties in the NFL right now. Well, he is flashing that ability in camp thus far as the Broncos’ defense appears to be allowing Simmons to play more of the field.

Reports coming out of camp are that Simmons is able to cover sideline to sideline in Ejiro Evero’s defense instead of only half the field as he did most of the time in Vic Fangio’s defense. This is allowing Simmons to make more plays in the secondary like the one he did earlier today against a Russell Wilson deep ball targeting Jerry Jeudy.

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked about this play after practice and he told reporters “that was unbelievable”.

“I haven’t gone against him a lot—since about three years ago. It shows up at times in OTAs and stuff like that, but that one right there was pretty dramatic. I think we were actually trying to pick on somebody else, and then he came over and helped out, so that was an amazing play. That was unbelievable.”

This type of play just showcases Justin Simmons’s play-making ability. He read and reacted to the play correctly and has the range and athleticism to get over there and make a play on the ball.

This is the sort of play we need to see from Simmons once again this season, and maybe even more than he traditionally does. The Broncos should be playing with the lead more and this means opposing quarterbacks are going to be chasing points with big throws down the field. If he is able to roam the middle of the field and defend passes, that will be a big addition to the defense. This is especially the case with the deep throw experts in the AFC West.

Jerry Jeudy making plays

One player who figured to benefit the most from the Russell Wilson acquisition was the former first-round pick, Jerry Jeudy. He had his struggles here and there throughout his career, but he did show that he could consistently get open against NFL defenses. However, the Broncos’ sub-par quarterback play either threw an inaccurate ball or just simply missed him during their read.

Now with Russell Wilson under center, Jeudy is ready to eat and we saw a flash of that potential during practice today.

Jeudy flashed his potential once again today and Coach Hackett praised how he has “attacked” training camp thus far.

“I love the way he has attacked this training camp up to this point. I know it is early and it’s a long ways away, but he’s been really great. Just seeing him around more, working harder throughout everything he has been doing. He is just a very focused person. He asks great questions at coaches meetings—he calls me out a couple of times, which is awesome. I love that, and that’s just going to show that he’s going to grow more and more. He’s definitely capable of doing a lot of different things.”

Jeudy has a chance to explode this upcoming season. He has a skill set that the other two receivers starting do not have and has shown in the past that he can use his elite route running skills to get open. Pairing this with a quarterback of the caliber of Russell Wilson should be the makings of a breakout year for Jeudy.

News and Notes

  • Javonte Williams appears to have the edge in the running back battle because he has been out there first for two-straight practices. However, both backs are seeing fairly even reps with the first team according to reports. Javonte 1A, Gordon 1B.
  • The right guard battle is still ongoing with guard Netane Muti receiving first-team reps ahead of Quinn Meinerz per reports. I would assume Meinerz has the edge in that battle, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Injury Report

  • EDGE Randy Gregory, WR K.J. Hamler, and OT’s Billy Turner and Tom Compton remain on the PUP while UDFA rookie Christopher Allen remained on the NFI.
  • Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich remained sidelined with a hamstring issue. The plan is to continue to ease him back into action.

Tweets From Camp

Notable Quotes

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on starting first team versus first team during practice

It good on good, and we want to make each other better. Watching [OLB Bradley] Chubb go against [T] Garret [Bolles] and [OLB] Malik [Reed], all those guys—you always want everyone rolling. Then every now and then, you get to sprinkle those other guys in and see if they can step it up—whether that would be on offense or defense. It’s about making the team better. You want everyone to compete together.”

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on utilizing running backs in the passing game

“If you look at the past, the experience that I’ve had with any running back—when you want to run the ball, that’s important because it helps so many different things across the board to attack a defense. But when you add them into the pass game, they’re so integral. A lot of people don’t know how integral they are because they open up holes for other people and when holes close, they’re the ones that get the ball. When you get the ball to a back in space, we’re all very excited for that. I think it’s just about the quarterbacks understanding their progressions, their reads and being able to make an efficient decision to be able to get a completion. If it’s to a back, it’s usually in space and I love that.”

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on the intricacies for an offensive line trying to run the outside zone

“Trust. Trust and run off the ball. I think that’s always the big thing as I got to learn more about this. I remember when I was younger being able to watch [former Broncos Offensive Line Coach] Alex Gibbs when he was really the starting point of it, and actually feeling that and hearing and seeing [it]. Then being a part of that the last three years at Green Bay and watching [Packers Offensive Coordinator Adam] Stenavich and how he coached it and how preached it. Now [Offensive Coordinator Justin] Outten because he was in Atlanta and all those [other places] and really get that feel. It is really a full commitment, and I think that’s the difference. There is no if, ands or butts. It’s simple, but you have to truly commit to truly running. That’s the thing that we’re going to continually emphasize.”

Head Coach Nathaniel Hacket on the challenges of blocking for a mobile quarterback

“That’s something I’ve seen offensive line get a little freaked out about because we always say, ‘Block until the ball is out.’ That is sometimes a little bit longer because people extend the play. It’s going to be something they have to get used to, but I am very excited about this line. They’ve done a fine job, especially since coming in and introducing a new system. That outside zone system and the pass protection system—there are a lot of things that are different. They’ve really bought in up to this point. There have been a couple of guys that have been big surprises—not because they’re not good, but because of how much they’ve bought in and how much better they’re getting every day. I appreciate that from them and I’m excited for them.”

Cornerback Patrick Surtain II on how he will benefit from going against QB Russell Wilson on a daily basis

“It makes me better all-around as far as a player—going in each and every day competing against a guy like him. He makes tremendous throws each and every day. When you go against a guy like that—a high-caliber QB like that—it just makes you better all around.”

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