Denver Broncos rookie minicamp recap: News, analysis, and takeaways
By Amir Farrell
Javonte Williams expected back for camp
Following RB Javonte Williams' torn ACL in the 2022 season, there have been a lot of looming questions and doubts around his exact recovery time frame. However, head coach Sean Payton took matters into his own hands and voluntarily dropped some massive news during his Saturday press conference that could very well change the course of the off-season for the offense.
"Our current starter [RB Javonte Williams] is doing extremely well. I would tell you that we expect him to be ready for the start of training camp and that's good news. His rehab is going well. I don't want to speak for him or [Vice President of Player Health & Performance] Beau [Lowery] or anyone else, but we get the daily reports. We’re pretty tight-lipped relative to information going out, but I've read a lot and I think his rehab is going well."- Sean Payton (via Broncos PR)
Perhaps what Sean Payton read was my report from earlier this month that a source revealed to me Javonte Williams will be ready for week one and presumably that is how he discovered the news (just kidding). In all seriousness, however, the fact that Williams may potentially be even healthier than we had originally anticipated and be able to compete on day one of training camp and absorb contact is a miracle in itself.
Very rarely do we see comebacks like this not only in the NFL but in all of sports therefore, this speaks a lot to Williams' physical nature and strong mentality to overcome such a brutal and gruesome injury that would set most athletes back years. However, if the Broncos want to play this smart, they will absolutely need to have a very cautious approach to the situation and provide him with limitations all throughout camp, especially if they don't want to lose one of their best offensive players on their offense a second year in a row.
While Williams is on an incredible path towards full recovery and will be a while before he's officially back to 100%, it is important to note that Coach Payton does not expect him to be back at full speed and capacity, considering the beatings RBs endure in the NFL.
Randy Gregory making good progress
OLB Randy Gregory, who the Broncos signed to a massive 5-year, $70M contract in the 2022 off-season, has already raised a string of injury concerns in his first year with the team after suffering a knee injury last season that held him out multiple games before eventually undergoing arthroscopic surgery to trim the meniscus on the injured knee.
Gregory already had surgery on his left knee in January of 2022 before signing with the Broncos and then had surgery on his shoulder just a month after signing with the team. To say it has been a disaster injury-wise for Gregory up until this point in his career would be an understatement. However, on a positive note, Sean Payton informed the media with some rather reassuring news:
"Randy [Gregory] is doing well. We are in phase two and he's been here. He's in good health...we are doing a lot of teaching but he's doing well and looks good."- Sean Payton on Randy Gregory
As Gregory looks to finally get over the hump and move past his nagging knee injuries that have bothered him for the last two years, Payton claims Gregory looks "good" rather than "great" but does state that he's "doing well" matching the description he used for Javonte Williams' status. Only time will tell how truly healthy Gregory is and if the defense will find themselves repeating the rotation of OLBs throughout the season due to injuries.