Broncos Training Camp: Who’s lighting it up and who’s disappointing?

  • Bryce Callahan
  • Denver Broncos
  • Drew Lock
  • Jerry Jeudy
  • Jurrell Casey
  • K.J. Hamler
  • Kareem Jackson
  • Von Miller
By Noahsmith391 August 23, 2020 0 Comment
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After one week of Broncos Training Camp, we’ve seen some good, and some bad out of the young team. Here’s what we’ve learned so far.

Denver Broncos Training Camp is in full swing at Dove Valley, and it comes at a much needed time. The sports world has been in doubt for the past five months due to COVID-19. However, NFL Training Camp has brought a sense of normalcy to all of our lives in the form of sports. Here’s what we’ve learned so far through one week of Broncos Training Camp.

Jeudy Justifies his Draft Hype

Jerry Jeudy has easily been one of the biggest stories for the Broncos. The Broncos have the youngest offense in the NFL, and their biggest question was whether they would be able to get their young stars up to speed. In just seven days, Jerry Jeudy has silenced the critics. Here’s what we’ve learned about Jerry Jeudy.

Jeudy’s route running has drawn rave reviews from the elite members of the Broncos defense. “It’s going to be a challenge for opposing defenses and guys in the secondary”, said Kareem Jackson, a ten year NFL veteran. Jackson wasn’t the only Bronco defender to go public with high opinions of the rookie. Along with making the comparison to Amari Cooper of the Dallas Cowboys, A.J. Bouye said he enjoys covering Jeudy because “…it forces me to be on point.”

Broncos fans should look forward to Jerry Jeudy working with Drew Lock for years to come. Jeudy’s quick feet allow him to get off the line of scrimmage, and provide an open throw for Lock. Jerry Jeudy will be a huge part of the Broncos offense early in the 2020 NFL Season.

How do the rest of the “rooks” look?

The Broncos rookies are making an impact early in training camp. Second round pick K.J. Hamler has seen time with the 1st team offense, and has made the most of his time.

Hamler has shown the explosiveness that made him a second round draft pick in April, as well as impressive route running. In one viral video, Hamler runs a “Post-Corner” route, where he uses speed to quickly stack the defender, then gets the corner to bite on the Post fake.

Other rookies who have seen occasional time with their 1st team units include center Lloyd Cushenberry, cornerback Michael Ojemudia, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, and linebacker Justin Strnad. Wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland has also impressed when given opportunities with the second and third team units. Cleveland was expected to be a practice squad candidate, but may end up playing his way into a roster spot with his impressive play.

Can the defense take the next step in year two?

Yes… more than a step. According to Pro Football Focus, the Broncos ranked fifth last year in total defense. Many expect them to be top three, and would not be shocked if they end up as the best defense in football.

Secondary Scheme fits

The Broncos secondary last year was an odd fit for Vic Fangio’s defense. Long time starter Chris Harris, who primarily played slot cornerback in his career, was asked to play outside cornerback. Harris played well, but not up to his typical standards, which led to his departure this off-season in free agency. Here’s what we’ve learned about the secondary in the first week of camp.

As a replacement, A.J. Bouye was brought in to man one side of the field at outside cornerback. At 6″ tall, Bouye provides the Broncos with a bigger cornerback to play on the outside. Bouye has the length to be able to match up with the bigger receivers in the NFL more consistently than Chris Harris did last year. Along with size, Bouye brings excellent skills to the Broncos secondary. Bouye reads route concepts well, and has the athleticism to play sticky man coverage. Bouye will serve as an excellent replacement for Chris Harris Jr.

The opposite side of the defensive secondary will be just as good as Bouye’s side. Bryce Callahan was signed in 2019, and brought knowledge of Fangio’s scheme to the Broncos. Unfortunately, a foot injury sidelined Callahan for the entire 2019 season. However, Callahan is back and healthy now, and looks fantastic at Broncos Training Camp.

The third cornerback spot is still an open competition. However, De’Vante Bausby out of small school Pittsburgh State University has shown that he is well equipped to handle that roll. Bausby has looked consistently excellent in the first week of training camp. Look for Bausby to grab the third cornerback spot come week one against the Tennessee Titans.

Can the pass rush live up to expectations?

As of week one of Broncos Training Camp, the Broncos pass rush has been as advertised: a problem. Here’s what we’ve learned about the pass rush from week one.

We’ve already seen the pass rush duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb in 2018, but Chubb was a rookie, and was still catching up to the speed of the NFL. Now as a third year player, expect Bradley Chubb to be disruptive on the opposite side of Von Miller.

While we saw what Miller and Chubb could look like in 2018, the Broncos were missing a key ingredient to a complete pass rush that season. Jurrell Casey solves that problem immediately.

A five time Pro Bowler, Jurrell Casey is exactly what the Broncos needed to be an elite pass rush unit this season. Over the past three years, Casey has 18 sacks as an interior defensive lineman. He also has 28 tackles for loss in that same time frame. Casey is an elite player, and will give the Broncos an elite trio of pass rushers to throw at opposing offenses.

The Broncos defense has a chance to be special this year. Historically, Vic Fangio defenses take their biggest step in year two of the system. Not only have the Broncos retained players in key positions, Vic Fangio has hand-picked players to fit his scheme through the draft, as well as free agency and the trade market. There is no reason this Broncos defense shouldn’t be top five again, and the Broncos could once again find themselves with the best defense in the NFL.

Finally, how does Drew Lock look?

Drew Lock looks comfortable in his first year as the undisputed starter. Despite the constant barrage of Miller, Chubb and Casey in his face, despite the defensive secondary being incredibly stingy, Lock looks comfortable. And more importantly, Lock is fearless. Here’s what we’ve learned about Drew Lock after one week of training camp.

One of the biggest positives to take from Drew Lock’s first week of training camp is his footwork. Footwork was a big question for Lock coming out of college, and it appears he has emphasized his footwork this off-season. Lock also looks much more comfortable throwing the deep ball than in his five games of starting last year.

Perhaps the biggest thing to take from Drew Lock’s first week of camp is his leadership. In interviews, Drew Lock looks composed, giving well thought out answers to each question. When asked about the reality of playing an NFL Season with the threat of COVID-19, Drew said “We should be able to sacrifice”.

Drew continued by saying, “It’s my responsibility to remind us that this is a very important season for all of us and an important season for everybody. It’s also very important for us to stay healthy and realize that if we really do love the game as much as we say we do, we should be willing to sacrifice a little bit of free time and some time out of football. I know personally I love it enough to be able to give that up.”

So, here’s what we’ve learned

The Broncos have finished week one of training camp, and there are promising signs so far. The defense looks ready to contend for the best defense in the league, the rookies are acclimating to the NFL, and Drew Lock looks ready to lead his team. The Broncos offense has looked consistently better throughout the first week against a suffocating defense. If week one is any indication of the 2020 season, the Broncos are off to a great start.

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