Five Things to Watch for at Broncos Training Camp

Five Things to Watch for at Broncos Training Camp

  • Albert Okwuegbunam
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Bradley Chubb
  • Brandon McManus
  • Drew Lock
  • Jerry Jeudy
  • John Elway
  • Jurrell Casey
  • Melvin Gordon
  • Vic Fangio
By Noahsmith391 July 12, 2020 0 Comment
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Denver Broncos’ official Training Camp is right around the corner.

This will be the first time the entire team will practice together. COVID-19 has led to heavy restrictions on Organized Team Activities or OTAs. As the Broncos get together for the first time, here are five things to watch for at training camp.

How does Bradley Chubb look after an injury-plagued year two?

Bradley Chubb, selected with the fifth pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was primed for a huge year two. Head coach Vic Fangio compared Chubb’s role to that of superstar Khalil Mack with the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, a torn ACL robbed Chubb of that opportunity last year. Chubb has been rehabbing however and looks primed for a big year.

Bradley Chubb had an excellent rookie season, with 12 sacks and two forced fumbles. He generated these stats while playing under head coach Vance Joseph, who failed to meet expectations as a defensive guru.

With the addition of Jurrell Casey as an interior pass rush threat, as well as Fangio calling defensive plays, expect Bradley Chubb to have a bounce-back year three.

How do Drew Lock and the offense look?

After an offseason of hearing about the Kansas City Chiefs‘ incredible SuperBowl comeback, John Elway decided it was time to increase the fire-power in Denver. In the 2020 NFL Draft, John Elway selected three receivers, as well as Lock’s favorite target while at Missouri, tight end Albert Okwuegbunam.

On paper, this Broncos’ offense looks incredibly explosive. However, with the addition of a new offensive system, along with the lack of experience across the offense, patience is needed.

While the offense may not look pretty in the opening days of training camp, building chemistry between Drew Lock and his new targets will be the key to success. Lock also needs to show a working knowledge of the playbook, and continual improvement each day. Together, these developments will be one of the major stories to watch for at training camp.

Running back competition

One of the key pieces acquired during the offseason was running back Melvin Gordon. The former Charger brings good value to an inexperienced Broncos’ offense and signed him to a contract.

The move was questioned by the media, as Denver already had a great running back in Phillip Lindsay. However, the move to get Melvin Gordon may be one of the keys to an offensive resurgence.

Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay should split snaps and may even being on the field together at the same time. Both have versatile skill-sets who can contribute as runners and pass-catchers.

However, with the addition of Gordon, running back Royce Freeman‘s future with the Broncos could very well be in doubt. Freeman has failed to meet expectations as a third-round pick and will need a strong performance to remain with the Broncos past 2020.

How do the rookies look?

John Elway’s 2020 NFL Draft class may be his best draft haul yet. First-rounder Jerry Jeudy is considered to be a starter come training camp. Almost every pick has a feasible path to playing time this season. With offseason conditioning shortened due to COVID-19, the rookies will need to show they are in shape and ready to work.

Rookies often struggle to catch up to the speed of the NFL, mainly due to combine training. Once prospects declare, they start rigorous training for the NFL combine. This training includes 40-yard dash training, positional skills training and other tests to measure athleticism.

However, prospects often neglect their specific position training. This means when the rookies show up to training camp, their bodies are not ready for the rigorous beating of the NFL, and injuries often happen during this period. The Broncos’ rookies need to show that they are in shape, and ready to compete.

Special Teams improvement

An often forgotten unit during training camp, the Broncos’ special teams unit has struggled since their 2015 Super Bowl season. Kicker Brandon McManus has been one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL. He is a career 81.5% filed goal kicker who converted 4 of 7 field goals from 50+ yards last season.

The punting situation, however, has been anything but stable. After cutting long-time punter Britton Colquitt, the Broncos drafted Riley Dixon from Syracuse in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Dixon had a solid rookie year, making the All-Rookie team in 2016. He did not make any major improvement in his second year however, averaging an almost identical 45.6 yards per punt as his rookie year. Dixon also had two blocked punts that year. Denver traded Dixon to the New York Giants in the 2018 offseason.

Denver signed former Raiders’ punter Marquette King to a contract in 2018. King failed to play a full season with the Broncos, starting for games and averaging less than 45 yards per kick. Denver signed rookie Colby Wadman to take King’s place.

Wadman also averages less than 45 yards per kick in 2018 and 2019, and had a knack for “shanking” punts in crucial scenarios. Wadman’s notoriously bad kicks cost Denver more than one game during his time.

Elway wanted to clear up the punting job in 2020. He signed former Lions’ punter Sam Martin to a contract. Martin played seven years with the Lions and had a solid career. He averaged almost 46 yards per kick during his time, and only had one block, which came in his rookie year.

Martin looks to immediately upgrade the punting unit in Denver, and give the Broncos peace-of-mind.

In conclusion…

The Broncos’ playoff push starts with a strong training camp. As always, there are many different stories to watch for in training camp.

Whether or not the Broncos will be able to improve upon all facets of their team will be the key to whether or not the Broncos can make a playoff push. If the Broncos can show that these five things to watch for in training camp are ready to go for the season, the Broncos have a strong chance to make the playoffs.

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