The Broncos finally do 1-on-1 drills and we got our first scuffle of camp
The Denver Broncos had a much tougher practice on Saturday. After doing a jog through on Friday, it was known they would be in full pads and getting after it on their lone weekend practice.
The old school football fan in me wishes most days were like Saturday. We got to see a competitive practice with both sides of the ball taking shots at each other – with some of them landing!
Here are some of my notes from Day 10 of training camp.
After saying the Broncos weren’t doing 1-on-1 drills because that’s not real football, the Broncos finally went through those drills where wide receivers were pitted against cornerbacks. I know it’s not real football, but neither are the jog through practices the Broncos have had in two days out of ten. It was good to see 1-on-1 drills back for the Broncos on Saturday as players get to work against an opponent at full speed.
You got to see wide receivers try new moves to get open. Sometimes these moves worked, and sometimes they did not. The crowd was in for a show with some of the deep passes launched down the sidelines – again, with varying results. In addition to working at full speed and taking deep shots, the receivers were able to build on that all-important timing with quarterback Russell Wilson. The Broncos didn’t do it that long, but they did it enough and I hope they continue 1-on-1 drills from here on out.
It took until day 10 for the Broncos to have a dust up in practice. There have not been any fights in Broncos camp so far this year, and there have been only a few times where things looked like they were heated on the field. That all changed on Saturday.
Broncos defensive lineman McTelvin Agim and offensive lineman Ben Braden got into it. Agim ended up swinging on Braden, who had his helmet on, and things were broken up quickly. Both were removed from the practice field when Hackett went over to talk to them. Afterwards, the three men shared a group hug and got back to practice.
The player I’m watching the most must be wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. He’s got the skill to be one of the best receivers in the NFL, but to this date Jeudy has not played up to his potential. So far in training camp, Jeudy seems to be one of the most inconsistent players on the field.
Jeudy can make plays that others on this team simply can’t. He’s a skilled player who works hard, but I’d like to see him make these ‘wow’ plays more often. Too many times, Jeudy will follow up a great play with a couple of drops the rest of the day. On Saturday, I think Jeudy may have had the most complete day of camp. He made big plays for Wilson, and Jeudy didn’t really have those bad plays that have plagued him in camp this year. Hopefully, Jeudy can continue to build momentum as this team prepares for the start of the regular season.
I want to write about running back Mike Boone every day. There is so much to write about, especially on days that aren’t jog throughs, so I don’t get to scratch that itch. Even on a full day like Saturday, I have to finally write about Boone and his performance.
Boone can make plays quickly. I like his patience as a runner, and Boone does a good job of allowing his blocks to fully develop before hitting the entry point quickly. I also like his no-nonsense style as a receiver out of the backfield. Boone can gather in the pass, then he is decisive when turning up field to gash a defense for yards after the catch. I don’t know how much of a role he’ll have with Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon in front of him on the depth chart. However, Boone can thrive with more work, and I know he’ll be ready if the opportunity arises.
It’s interesting to watch starting center Lloyd Cushenberry on the practice field. Over the last two seasons, Cushenberry has not quite looked like the player I thought he would be when he was coming out of LSU. I am giving Cushenberry this season to flash his big-time ability, as it usually takes three years for centers to really ‘hit’ from a scouting standpoint. Also, Cushenberry is in the right system for his skill set this year after two seasons in an awful Pat Shurmur offense.
In training camp so far this offseason, Cushenberry has looked like the player I thought he was when I gave him a late first-round grade. His athleticism is on full display, and he looks good staying on tracks as a blocker. The wide zone system is perfect for a player like Cushenberry, and he is thriving with this new opportunity. On Saturday, there were a couple of quarterback/center exchanges that seemed to get away from him. I’ve seen that from rookie center Luke Wattenberg, but Cushenberry’s snaps have been mostly clean. I’m sure these gaffes are small hiccups during camp that can be corrected. In fact, if Cushenberry plays at a Pro Bowl level in 2022 I wouldn’t be surprised.