TRAINING CAMP 2022
Broncos Training Camp Day 13 Report: Prepping for the Dallas Cowboys
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Wednesday’s practice was more about Thursday than anything else.
Thursday, of course, is when the Dallas Cowboys roll in for a joint practice. It’s not ideal to have just one joint practice; usually when teams gather, they get two. That was the case for the Broncos in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 with the San Francisco 49ers — on three occasions — and the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.
The Broncos won’t get that.
“That’s something [Dallas] coach [Mike] McCarthy and I worked out,” Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “We wanted to for sure fit something in, and when the one day worked out the best, that’s what we went with.”
It’s a lot of effort for one day of work. But it’s the only joint practice the Broncos will get this summer — which means the Broncos are preparing like it’s a game.
“Yeah, you have to. If you’re not, you’re not a pro,” left tackle Garett Bolles said. “… You’ve got to game-plan regardless. What it is, it doesn’t really matter, because the most important thing is to know your job, know your assignments, go through what you need to go through.
“But at the same time, you’re always looking at the opponent coming in here — if not, then, why are you playing in this league? You want to be the best. You’ve got to know the defense, you’ve got to know their personnel, you’ve got to know what’s going to happen.”
In preparing to face a collection of pass rushers headlined by Micah Parsons and Demarcus Lawrence, Bolles can lean on his prep work for the Cowboys last November, even though an ankle injury kept him from playing.
“So, just going through those studies that I did last year, I sort of understand them a little bit,” he said.
But Bolles still took the time to watch Cowboys film this week.
So did his fellow offensive tackle, Calvin Anderson.
“I think at offensive tackle, you always want to prepare like you’re playing a game, so, any practice we play against somebody else is an opportunity to get better,” he said. “We’re going to face those guys, so, I think that with the game coming up this Saturday, you want to get in the season mentality, anyway.
“And that’s what we do every week at tackle. We’re always preparing for the rushers, preparing for how they play games, preparing for how they’re going to handle our double-teams, etc. So, every single opportunity we get to play another person, another jersey, we’re preparing like it’s the game. I think that’s how you become a championship-mentality team.”
IT’S NOT WHETHER YOU FALL … IT’S HOW YOU GET BACK UP
Or so the cliche goes. And for Anderson, he had that experience Monday after struggling — particularly in his matchups against edge rusher Malik Reed.
“I feel like I’ve been having a really good camp, and [Monday], I had a rough day mentally,” Anderson said. “And I talked to Russ [Wilson] about this; I talked to Garett and Quinn [Meinerz]. It’s about, ‘How are you going to respond?'”
This is part of the test of training camp. As the repetitions accumulate, even the best players cannot avoid some ragged days. But just as the players are trying to master the offense and work into game-time shape, so are they trying to hone the cerebral side — and learning how to overcome bad days is crucial.
“Because that’s always going to happen, throughout the season, you’re going to have ups and downs, and when you do have a down, how are you going to respond? Are you going to bounce back? Are you going to be able to jump back up to the level that you know you can play?
“And I think being able to do that as quickly as possible is what the position calls for, what being a starter at any position on the line calls for — is how quickly you can bounce back to the level that you know you can play at when you do have a down rep or a down day.”
“It’s a mental game, and I think I have a good season for how I bounce back, and I’m going to be practicing that all season.”
- As expected, the practice took place at a jog-through tempo. “The tempo is right about perfect,” Hackett said. “Sometimes, there are some tempo violators because they get excited, but they’re doing a fine job.”
- Fourth-round CB Damarri Mathis rotated in on the north field with the first-teamers.
- Hackett said Tuesday that he didn’t know whether he would use his starters in Saturday’s preseason opener, and Wednesday added that he is “slowly working through” his decision. “We’re going to treat everyone a little bit different and see what works best for us,” he added. “In the end, all I care about is the season. Preseason is a great time to evaluate the other people and see who can help us throughout this season.”
- RB Melvin Gordon sat out the day with a foot issue. “We’re just taking care of his foot, and we’re making sure he’s good,” Hackett said. “He’s another one of those older guys. We want to make sure he’s primed and ready for the season.”
- WR Courtland Sutton practiced. He was limited to running on the side Tuesday with a shoulder issue.
- RB Tyriek McAllister was placed on the waived/injured list after being hurt during practice Tuesday.
- CB Ronald Darby remained sidelined with a chest contusion suffered on the last final play of practice Monday.
- Edge rusher Christopher Allen was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Allen came off the non-football injury list last week. He started camp there as he continued his recovery from a Lisfranc injury suffered at Alabama last season. But his work in recent practices was limited; by Tuesday he was back on the rehab field. With the Broncos’ young depth on the edge doing well, the Broncos opted to end Allen’s season before it began.
- DL D.J. Jones took part and got plenty of first-team repetitions during the jog-through team periods.
It was another warm day at UCHealth Training Center, with temperatures rising from 83°F to 90°F during the practice.
The Broncos close the open-to-general-public portion of training camp Thursday in a joint practice with the Dallas Cowboys. The practice begins at 11 a.m. MDT.