Broncos Training Camp Days 1-5 Recap
Day 1: Keenum Reveals Promise
Entering training camp many have questioned whether or not Case Keenum will live up to the standard he set last year. Last season, Keenum posted career highs in everything solidifying himself as the QB #1 for the Vikings. This year brings a new challenge in guiding the Broncos newly rebuilt offense with rookies and accomplished veterans.
First observations of the film, is that you see Keenum was able to avoid mistakes. He completed all, but two passes against his first-team defense. Keenum incorporated passes to nine separate targets mixing in the rookies and veterans (Phillip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, and Emmanuel Sanders). Seeing this type of chemistry on day 1 is a great sign for the Broncos. One would think that Case took over the helm years ago with his initiative and leadership.
“It’s a different speed when Case is in there,” Lindsay said. “You kind of get uptight because he’s the starting quarterback, and when you’re out there on the field, he’s expecting you to know what you’re doing. He’s expecting you to know your steps, everything, because when the ball gets there, he needs you to have it. He’s not afraid to tell you that.” Per DenverBroncos.com
Day 2: Receivers Shine Early
The second day of camp brought us some stellar plays from the offense. DeSean Hamilton, Emmanuel Sanders, and Demaryius Thomas each had immense catches on the day. The stand out stud of the group is Emmanuel Sanders, who was able to haul in a one-handed catch effortlessly.
Picking up where we left off, on the first team offense, Keenum continues to prove why Denver went out and got him. He was able to make his way downfield from his own 45-yard line to the defense’s 20-yard line on no-huddle schemes. Six plays were completed to Jeff Heuerman, Demaryius Thomas, and Royce Freeman.
“On the second day you don’t want guys to come out and not go fast. So my point there was to come out, go no-huddle and push the pace of practice early, just to get guys going after that first day of being a little sore,” Head Coach Vance Joseph said. “It worked. It was good for us and guys came out and played fast today for us.”
Other observations, Paxton Lynch (battling for QB #2) was able to pilot the offense to the defense’s 37-yard line with a couple completions and a few handoffs before moving to third team. The third-team defense had the offense’s number, as they managed to get a stop after merely three plays.
Day 3: Red Zone Action
On the 2017-2018 season, the Broncos showed up dead last in red-zone touchdowns. They managed to only push through to the end-zone on 39.6 percent of the time they made it inside the 20. Moving to their defense, which was 23rd in the league, allowed their opponents to reach the end-zone a whopping 58.5 percent of the time! If there is one thing that needs to be improved, its red-zone duties.
Day 3 didn’t go as planned for the team as a injury bug hit the team. Garett Bolles had to leave camp due to having to be evaluated for a concussion. If the injury ends up being serious (at this point it seems to have been dismissed) this a large blow to the newly rebuilt offensive line. LB Brandon Marshall also suffered an injury to his upper body.
Aside from injuries, the highlights of day 3 include: Marquette King hitting a BEAUTY of a punt for 69-yards. TE Jake Butt had multiple catches within the 20-yard line, scoring a single touchdown from Paxton Lynch.
Day 4: Defense Is Going To Have To Step Up
Due, to the injury bug spreading like wildfire, rookies are going to have to step up and fill the holes that are empty. For example, Isaac Yiadom is going to get a good amount of reps, due to the fact that Tramaine Brock tweaked his hamstring.
“He’s picking up all the coverages. He’s doing a good job competing,” cornerback Bradley Roby said. “Forcing a lot of incompletions. He surprised me because he’s another guy that I didn’t know that much about. He’s a good young guy [with] good character.”
Yiadom is turning heads amongst his players and almost intercepted Keenum’s first pass of camp, but came up a little short. If he continues to play at this caliber, you’ll definitely see him slide his way into first and second-team reps.
The first day with full pads in action as the rookies once again steal the spotlight. Royce Freeman and Dave Williams show why they belong at this playing level executing phenomenal balance and agility. Williams specifically was carving up the defense with a 15-yard run in the red zone. The duo extorted the fact they were in pads for a more physical run game, pushing their way through collecting yardage after the initial hit. Day 4 standouts include Rookie TE Troy Fumagalli (returning from an offseason hernia) who had the longest catch of camp with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Paxton Lynch.
Day: 5 Keenum Is The Answer To The Offensive Spike
Keenum is the clear-cut reason why the offense is performing so well in camp. He’s placing the ball in the right spots and working with the receivers, taking the role of leadership very seriously. If he continues to take charge and control the offense there is no doubt that the Broncos will be a threat this season.
Moving the focus from Keenum, to the offensive line. You can’t shortchange the work they have done protecting him. Since getting back a few key players from injuries, the Bronco’s O-line is coming to the form they hoped to be in last season.
“I like that way that first group looks when they’re in there,” Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave said.
When the coordinator is happy, you know things have to be going right. As, long as the offensive line is able to stay healthy, Keenum should have the protection to succeed.
To sum up, the first few days of training camp have been great. Keenum is yet to throw an interception. The rookies are performing at a level way higher than expected. The offensive line is molding into the envisioned form. Best of all, NONE of the injuries that have added up over the last week have been serious.
Make sure to check back with Sports Al Dente for continued Broncos Training Camp coverage.