The Denver Broncos’ first week of training camp was mostly dominated by the defense. The offense and QB Joe Flacco finally shined on day 10.
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio assured everyone after practice he was going to go back and make sure it wasn’t just ‘crappy’ play by the defense, but the Broncos’ offense finally had a better day of practice than their counterparts.
That includes Joe Flacco, who was apparently on fire during one particular 11-on-11 period.
Flacco was spreading the ball around to Broncos receivers, even though many of his top targets are currently sidelined with injuries.
Courtland Sutton was available, doing Courtland Sutton-like things.
The Broncos’ offense has been working to install the new system from offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. That kind of thing certainly takes time and doesn’t come without hitches along the way.
The more pressing issues for the Broncos have been dropped passes and bad snap exchanges between the center and quarterback, whether it’s starter Connor McGovern or the backups.
While those issues lingered into day 10 of training camp (the ninth practice session) a little bit, the Broncos’ offense saw its most successful day on the heels of what some thought was the best day from the offense on Thursday.
In addition to Flacco having a great day of camp, the Broncos continued to see improvement from their young wide receiver group. Kelvin McKnight has been popping up in practice reports just about every day.
Fangio noted after practice the Broncos have needed some help in the slot department, and McKnight has ideal slot receiver traits. He’s been catching just about everything from Flacco, from the sounds of it, and the Broncos have given him extended reps with the top offense.
He, like Trinity Benson before him, seems to be taking advantage of those opportunities.
Speaking of slot receiver help, the Broncos signed slot receiver Nick Williams, a player who has played in just about every iteration of the Mike Shanahan offense from the elder Shanahan himself in his rookie year with Washington to Atlanta with Kyle Shanahan, to Tennessee with Matt LaFleur, to Los Angeles with Sean McVay, and now to Denver with Rich Scangarello.
Fangio joked that the Broncos were ‘low’ at the slot receiver position, but not low enough to bring Brandon Stokley out of retirement. Stokley was standing right there after taking in practice with Peyton Manning.
Fangio went on to say of Williams, “He’s a guy that doesn’t meet your height, weight, speed things that all the personnel people like, but he looks like a pretty damn (good) football player to me out there. Maybe all he needed was an opportunity, and he’s got one now. We’ll see.”
Fangio rarely gives guys compliments like that, especially after day one, so this could be a situation worth watching.
One of the players of practice, according to Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright, was rookie wide receiver Juwann Winfree. The sixth-round pick has been making plays literally since day one of camp, and he hasn’t slowed down.
Again, we can’t stress enough that no one was talking about Winfree heading into the draft. He was not even really mentioned much at the Broncos’ local pro day or the CU pro day or anything. NFL.com considered him an undrafted free agent type with a chance to crack an NFL roster.
He now appears entrenched on Denver’s roster and looks like he will have a significant role on gamedays.
Defensively, former second-round pick DeMarcus Walker continued his strong camp by reportedly receiving reps with the first-team defense.
Walker has bulked up this offseason (in a good way) and has been making plays. That’s great to see for him heading into year three, as his emergence could be a huge factor for the Broncos.
Edwards and Allbright, in the video above, also noted some positive things about Drew Lock. The Broncos’ rookie quarterback has been out of the spotlight a bit since Vic Fangio said he’s ‘not an NFL quarterback yet’.
Mission accomplished for Vic.
The Broncos gave Lock increased reps with the second-team offense on Friday, and that’s all according to plan, per Fangio.
The Broncos practice again on Saturday before an off day on Sunday, then practices on Monday and Tuesday before leaving for Canton, OH for the Hall of Fame game on Thursday.