Broncos Training Camp Wrap-Up Days 11-14
Day 11: Young Receivers Take Advantage Of Opportunity
It sounds repetitive talking about all these new young receivers, but many have had a chance to step up in this training camp. On Thursday, two new receivers, rookie John Diarse and reoccurring practice squad player River Cracraft, captivated the limelight.
River Cracraft had the more impressive day. To start, he made a thrilling one-handed catch from QB #3 Paxton Lynch before being forced out of bounds. The second play where River turned heads is when he and Case Keenum connected for a TD, saving a potential INT in the end zone.
Case managed to find River one more time for about a 20-yard TD for the first team. After the practice, Keenum only had delightful things to say about the up and coming receiver.
“I like throwing him the ball,” Keenum said Wednesday. “He’s a friendly target. He’s learning, too, learning the NFL game. I think you like having a guy like that, you can move inside, outside, shifty. He’s got good separation at the top of his routes. And he’s learning, too, just like a lot of those young guys.”
Towards the end of the practice, John Diarse ended up getting involved breaking downfield to score a TD from Keenum as well. Diarse and Cracraft have created a number of plays that are going to make the final 53-man roster cut tough.
Day 12: Chad Kelly Promoted
Day 12 brought change as a new depth chart was released. Chad Kelly was promoted to QB #2 after the performance he put up against the Vikings. Posting 14 of 21 on attempts and completions as well as a 104.7 passer rating to go with his 2 TD’s. Kelly had rightfully earned the job after Paxton Lynch‘s abysmal night of 6 of 11 with a 22.2 passer rating. As for Paxton, right now he will be the third-string quarterback, but the fans aren’t too pleased with him. Some extreme fans have started a “GoFundMe” to release him from the team.
— Nick Kendell (@NickKendellMHH) August 22, 2018
Immediately after being promoted to backup QB, Kelly was put to a challenge in facing the first-team defense in one on one drills. Initially, it was not planned as Chad misheard the coaches speak.
This meant Kelly found himself going up some of the games best pass-rushers in Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Derek Wolfe. Chad kept composure not cowering, moving his way down the field for a 36-yard gain. A play later the drive was concluded when Philip Lindsay was stopped after a short 7-yard run.
Kelly continued success even in the red zone period, relieving himself from pressure to convert a 15-yard TD. Keenum also did well in the same drill as he led the NO. 2 offense (since Kelly accidentally started with the No. 1). Case managed to meander his way to a second-and-goal at the 2 before the stop.
Day 13: Broncos-Bears Combined Camp
If you haven’t checked it out I already did a full blog analysis on day 13 if you want to view it here.
Day 14: Final Training Camp Practice
It was a hot start to Thursday’s joint practice as it took a minimalistic two plays to get the offense going. Royce Freeman initiated the jolt by getting a large gain upfield on a handoff from Keenum, adding to his resume of reasons why Freeman should be RB1. LT Garret Bolles administered the defense, preventing Chicago Bears LB Danny Trevathan to reach him.
“Our whole plan is to impose our will,” Bolles said. “That’s what we want to do, but we also want to be smart about it and continue to work on our craft and continue to work on our technique. And if we craft that, we have everything else going for us.”
The work shows for itself as the offense kept it rolling. TE Jeff Heuerman got in on the activity by catching a pair of TD’s, while the teams performed one-on-one work against the Bear’s players. WR Tim Patrick got himself into the mix during the special teams period. He caught a TD pass hurling over opposing LB Kyle Fuller from Chad Kelly in the red zone. Patrick also caught a pair of TD’s from Keenum.
On the other side of the drills for the defensive side, pass rushers Von Miller and Shane Ray held down the defense. Erupting into the backfield disrupting what would have been, under game conditions, sacks on opposing QB Mitch Trubisky. After, a sluggish Wednesday practice this was the right way to get the drills going.
“Better, a lot better,” Vance Joseph said. “Obviously, seeing the plays for the second day, their assignments were better. Still wasn’t perfect, but it was better.”
All in all, there is a lot of work to be done before the season starts. As long as the short term injuries sustained to a few key role players (Su’a Cravens, Chris Harris Jr., Tremaine Brock) get resolved the Broncos should be in good shape against the Redskins on the road this upcoming week! Tune in Friday to see what happens in Washington!