Day seven is in the books and there were continue pieces of the Denver Broncos emerging as we move on to day eight on Sunday...
The Denver Broncos' depth at wide receiver seems to have generated the most buzz at Training Camp, but some could say that’s due largely to the quarterback position.
One Denver Broncos fan I spoke with today said Case Keenum appears to already have hit another gear and the signs are there. If the quarterback position is solved as evidenced in the early days of Training Camp, everything else falls into place.
As such, the trio of Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, and Courtland Sutton are on track to be the top formation for the Broncos. The Broncos need immediate impact players from day one of the preseason to the start of the regular season.
Since day one of OTAs, there’s not been one player more dominant than Sutton. He is asserting himself at the perfect time, as the Broncos needed to bolster their wide receiver depth.
One player not garnering enough attention is Jamal Carter on the defense. Carter is, in a lot of ways, similar to Will Parks and Su’a Cravens. He is capable of playing in the box becoming that dime linebacker.
He plays with his hair on fire. For a team searching to add punch on their second and third unit, Carter is the ideal guy the Broncos are looking for.
The last Broncos player that stood out is none other than “The Outlaw,” Josey Jewell.
Jewell dealt with a slight hamstring injury according to Vance Joseph earlier in the week. Jewell returned to the team and hopped on the defensive saddle for the Denver Broncos.
Inside linebacker is a weak spot on the defense not counting Brandon Marshall. The team signed Todd Davis to his extension, but that will not keep Denver from playing the best player alongside Marshall.
Let’s go a little more in-depth, looking at quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back, and linebacker.
The Denver Broncos made it the number one priority in the offseason to sign a quarterback.
Some thought Kirk Cousins was the answer, myself included. A potential first-round quarterback seemed to be thrown into the mix also in the off-season. However, despite all the rumors, the Broncos focused their attention squarely on Keenum.
On the surface, the two-year deal $36 million dollar looks standard, but the fact that Denver surrounded him with in the NFL Draft begged the question: Is this team committed to Keenum long-term?
During his stint with the Minnesota Vikings, it was clear Keenum hit another gear in his development.
In Training Camp this year, the Broncos' new quarterback did not throw an interception until day six. Keenum’s hallmark last season was accuracy. That accuracy was on display numerous times on day seven.
In red zone 11-on-11 drills, Keemun threw a pass to Austin Traylor (potentially the second tight end, by the way) in the middle of the end zone where only Traylor could catch it.
This lone play shows Keenum is an artist and one Denver has lacked since they won the Super Bowl. If the Broncos can be this proficient in the red area, then this team will be better and then some in 2018.
The Broncos finished dead last in Red Zone scoring percentage at 39.58 percent. Keenum's Vikings in 2017 ranked 13th. With a resurgent defense and improved red zone offense, the team will be in a great place this season.
By all accounts from my eyes and media at Training Camp, Case Keenum is blowing away the players with his leadership and football acumen.
The Denver Broncos were fortunate to snag Courtland Sutton in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Sutton has made highlight-reel catches that make fans reminisce of days with wide receiver Brandon Marshall in Denver and a healthy Demaryius Thomas.
Sutton is making it difficult for every cornerback he faces to cover due to size, length and pure, athleticism.
Sutton’s body control is not a trait the Denver Broncos have seen since Julius Thomas.
One play today involving Sutton came from a possession backed up on the five-yard line. He separated quite well from Bradley Roby and snagged the pass from Case Keenum. Sutton is proving to be a mismatch nightmare for even Denver Broncos cornerbacks.
The Broncos boast one of the best secondaries and cornerback trios. For Sutton to damage to all Broncos defensive backs means it is time for him to face the franchise’s top cornerback.
Chris Harris followed Sutton the majority of the day and achieved the task. However, that’s not the point here. The point is the Broncos are showing an immense amount of respect to Courtland Sutton by placing Harris on him all day.
This leaves the Broncos with a majority of options open on the offense. There were numerous plays and formations involving three wide receiver sets.
Each time, Demaryius Thomas, Sutton, and Emmanuel Sanders as the wide receivers.
The attention Sutton will attract allows Keenum to look at Thomas, Sanders, and Jake Butt more.
It is a great problem to have for Denver to see numerous threats emerge on offense.
There are players that fly under-the-radar at camp.
One player this year is Jamal Carter.
Carter was an undrafted free agent last season that spent all 16 games on the active roster. Much like Will Parks and Su’a Cravens, Carter can fill dime linebacker position. The biggest separation will be in game action.
The Denver Broncos and the fans know all too well the story of Lorenzo Doss and his exceptional play in Training Camp.
Carter is no Doss.
Carter can translate his play on the football field into the regular season. He is a dime linebacker capable of covering running backs and tight ends. Carter is not as fleet of foot as Cravens; however, he runs with a switch always turned on.
This 'hair on fire' mentality could get called for penalties in this new NFL rule scheme, but Carter should not change his game because of it.
Carter adds value to a secondary desperate for guys to emerge. He continues to solidify his spot on this roster.
As stated in the introduction, Josey Jewell dealt with a “slight hamstring” according to Vance Joseph.
Jewell returned to the practice field on a limited basis Friday. He made his presence felt immediately on Saturday, day seven of camp.
Jewell is not the most athletic guy in the world, but he possesses traits of some of the best at the position.
His instincts are like those of Luke Kuechly.
On numerous occasions in Saturday's practice, Jewell snuffed out running plays making his presence known as a run defender. This is where his true instincts and playbook memorization are paramount.
Players, when they are injured, can get their body right and forget about the playbook. Jewell appears to have done both as he was trying to recover from an injury.
A mark of a great linebacker is proving your worth in multiple situations. Jewell is a leader by example. He lets his play speak for itself and holds others accountable as all true leaders do.
Jewell is a candidate to be on the Denver Broncos' defense in passing downs. If Jewell furthers his development in both areas, which is not hard to do, then we are looking a starting linebacker quickly in Denver.