I arrived to my spot at the top of the Field 2 berm a little later than usual due to massive traffic on southbound Parker Road due to summer construction work. Thankfully, I did not miss any of yesterday’s action, as I arrived just as the players were midway through stretching. The sun beaming down made it much hotter than it actually was.
There were also a lot of individuals in attendance wearing other teams’ gear, including Chiefs, Steelers, and Vikings garb. I could somewhat understand why some Vikings’ fans were in attendance with the upcoming preseason game, but the others either wanted to troll, to scout a 2018 opponent, or legitimately like any professional football that they can witness in person.
The distinction worst football article of August 2018 is an important one. There were hundreds of worse articles than the misbegotten dreck I’m about to review written just over the last two days, but I’m confident you’re not going to find a worse article about football.
Rarely do I read anything so bad it inspires a point by point refutation, but Mark Madden’s self-serving hit piece on JuJu Smith-Schuster encouraged me to get my Fisk on this morning.
For fun, and to gain perspective, I thought I’d look back at the Broncos training camp cuts with two years of hindsight. Like every year, roster cut downs were a contentious topic, with fan favorites who emerged with strong performances in the preseason who didn’t make the cut.
I went back to our predict the roster competition, and listed everyone who received votes at some point along the way, yet who didn’t make the team. I listed the final # of votes each player received in the final round of voting, shortly before the 4th preseason game (IE 10 of 12 participants thought Sanchez would make the team). I italicized players who made the practice squad, and bolded players who are still in the league
First one out was Kelly. He made plenty of mistakes but he wants to be there and he has a good attitude. He was the first to each drill and really hustled.
Will Parks is a goof ball, I saw him dancing and laughing with teammates every chance he got. He’s also getting the first team reps over Cravens right now. Also saw Chubb dancing during warm ups. Shane Ray does not take warm ups seriously, he spent more time adjusting his helmet than the dynamic stretching. Josey Jewell worked harder and that bothered me.
Crowd loves Von. He’s the face of Denver sports.
VJ is a lot more hands on this Training camp. He was a lot more vocal than last year and really got in it, he seems like this is a different coach, hopefully it translates to Sunday’s. I mentioned earlier, he blew up at Booker when he didn’t hit a hole on a stretch play. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Booker in the doghouse before long.
Chubb is huge and I saw him playing a lot with his hand in the dirt and Ray next to him. They spent a lot of time in their Nascar package with Gotsis, Harris, and Chubb on the line with Von and Ray on the outside. Brady and other QB’s won’t like seeing that lineup.
Primary focus on the beginning of the practice was winning the turnover battle. Defense circled through turnover drills, including punching the ball out than scooping it up, and tip drill. Offense worked on ball security, all of them from lineman to QB.
I was surprised to see as many zone scheme runs in drills and scrimmages. A lot of stretch plays and it did not look pretty. Booker was not good in these but I liked Freeman, Williams, and Lindsay. They also worked through zone reads quite a bit. Look for Keenum to do a little running and some RPO’s.
Lindsay had a fumble on a kickoff and had to do push-ups. McKenzie was fantastic in this drill, he is so fast and explosive. They also worked him into some offensive plays. Lindsay was great as a runner, he’s so shifty and goes inside-out better than any of the other backs. Hamilton and Langley also got some chances.
My biggest takeaway from today is I really hope we sign another TE. Outside of Butt, the others looked bad. They ran bad routes, were slow, and could not get open. Keenum loves throwing there and was trying to get them the ball he would have had to force it. Traylor in particular looked bad. There were a few plays where Keenum threw a different route or the TE did not get proper depth. I didn’t get a good vantage point on their blocking but I was disappointed with the pass game aspect of this group.
Oline really struggled in pass pro, I saw Chubb, Von, Ray, Gotsis, and Harris just dominate. They got to the QB so fast. Could be just a dominate pass rush, hard to say. I will say I liked watching Bolles today. He looks much improved, had some very nice blocks against Von and Chubb.
Watch out for the Keenum-Sanders connection. They are going to have some pretty big fireworks this year! Harris got beat a couple of times and he was in perfect coverage. I’m thinking of targeting Sanders in Fantasy over DT.
DT looked just as big and strong, Sutton was fun to watch but definitely raw. I like how he uses his body to box out the defender on contested throws. Hamilton seemed slow but he always seemed to get open and made some nice catches. f I was surprised how much Tim Patrick got with the first team but he looked the part. Also saw McKenzie catch a pass on an out pattern and get a hand off jet sweep play. That WR battle is going to be a good one.
I saw King throw more passes than punt. This has to be the first time I’ve ever left camp disappointed I didn’t get to see the punter punt!
Wolfe came back pretty quickly after he was reported in the locker room.
Lynch is still Lynch, I didn’t see much improvement from last year, I hope Kelly at least gets a chance with the second team.
Finally, because I could keep going, the practice was so crisp and well put together. There was not a lot of downtime and it was a marked improvement over the practices from last year. All VJ talked about last year during that losing streak was how great the practices are, so expect to hear that said throughout this year!
Winners of the day: Freeman, Sanders, and all the pass rushers
Losers of the day: Lynch, Booker, and all the TE’s except Butt
With training camp just a couple days away, it’s that time again to take your guess on what the 2018 Broncos could look like. Post your 53-player rosters in the comments below. Entries for this will remain open through the weekend, and come approximately Monday, the results will be parsed to see where there are differences of opinion among this community. These results can also be compared to the actual roster that the Broncos themselves build at the end of preseason.
Over the past three days, I have laid out cases for possible Broncos extensions for Bradley Roby, Matt Paradis, and one of Shane Ray or Shaq Barrett. Should these extensions come to a reality, what will that mean for the Broncos, not just financially but also from a roster building standpoint? Continue reading Summer 2018 Possible Broncos Extensions – Conclusion
Von Miller is the Broncos’ best and highest paid player. The team also used this year’s 5th overall pick on Bradley Chubb. If all goes to plan, they will be the starting edge rushers in Denver for many years to come. Is there room for Shane Ray or Shaq Barrett on a vested veteran deal to play the #3 position? I believe there is, but doing so will have to be on terms that may not be fully satisfactory to either player. Continue reading Examining A Possible Contract Extension For Shane Ray Or Shaq Barrett
Matt Paradis has not missed a single snap in his first three accrued seasons in the NFL, and has been a bright spot amid generally subpar offensive line play in Denver during that time. What would be an appropriate offer to get a player of Paradis’s reliability to remain in Denver for more years to come? Continue reading Examining A Possible Contract Extension For Matt Paradis