Where things stand for Russell Wilson and Jarrett Stidham at Broncos training camp
Aug 1, 2023, 7:34 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2023, 6:10 pm
(Photo by Andrew Mason / DenverSports.com)
ENGLEWOOOD, Colo. — Every interception has a story. Even in practice.
The pick Russell Wilson threw during a team period Tuesday wasn’t exactly like others tossed Monday and Saturday. On Monday, the interception followed what appeared to be a sack, which caused a wisp of hesitation that disrupted the timing. And Wilson’s pick two days earlier — which ended in a diving grab by safety Caden Sterns — was the product of testing second-year tight end Greg Dulcich, who ran down the seam against Justin Simmons. Some interceptions happen because you’re trying to test the limits of the offense — and the players.
But Wilson’s throw into traffic Monday that ended up in Simmons’ hands was clearly a play one would want to have back.
That’s part of camp. It’s also part of throwing into the teeth of one of the NFL’s best secondaries — with Simmons recording his second interception in as many days. But Simmons also ended up gesturing to protest one of the best plays of training camp, when Wilson hit Courtland Sutton past Pat Surtain II during a team period late in practice. Wilson threw a well-placed ball to the outside, and Sutton made the kind of elegant, leaping catch for which he became known in his first two NFL seasons.
Wilson also saw a third-down pass knocked down by Zach Allen at the line of scrimmage Tuesday. But he also had periods in earlier practices where he found a nice rhythm.
So, the truth about Wilson? It rests in between the extremes evaluating his work to date.
“We are really focused on what he is doing within the offense,” Payton said. “Obviously, he is moving around well, his weight is down, he is in really good shape and he’s working really hard.
“here are a lot of nuances still we are working through. There were some good things in the running game today. Each day, you kind of look at the film and you start again with the corrections. I have been pleased with his progress and where he is at dating back to the offseason and to where we are now into our first full week.”
Progress is the key. It holds true for Jarrett Stidham, too, who also found himself on the business end of an interception earlier in training camp — a seven-on-seven theft for CB Faion Hicks — but also found a good rhythm Tuesday.
“I think he’s getting more and more familiar with what we are doing offensively,” Payton said. “He made a couple of good throws today on third down. He can beat you with his feet a little bit as well. I think it’s just getting the system down and the timing with the other receivers. He’s handling the installs well. He’s smart.”
* 9-on-7 and 1-on-1 returns to training camp
* Russell Wilson: a mixed bag
* Jerry Jeudy, Faion Hicks stand out in 1-on-1s
* Montrell Washington with a big play
* Brett Maher talks
Watch now: pic.twitter.com/GorcOJhM7Y
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 1, 2023
In the wake of Tim Patrick’s season-ending left Achilles-tendon tear, the first “next man up” is second-year wide receiver Brandon Johnson. His route-running remains crisp, and he does well coming back to the football, making him a valuable potential third-and-short-to-intermediate target.
But he has some work to do before the snap.
“He’s made some plays, but then he’ll line up two yards too wide and we have to get it corrected,” Payton said. “We’re at that point where we keep talking about eliminating the repeated mistakes.”
But on balance, the ledger remains positive.
“He’s getting more work now with the ones,” Payton said. “He can run.”
PLAY OF THE DAY:
Sutton’s play provided a needed boost for the No. 1 offense. But the longest connection belonged to Ben DiNucci and Montrell Washington. The two connected on a 70-yard touchdown that saw Washington get behind cornerback Devon Key, find separation and grab a well-placed ball that sailed approximately 50 yards in the air.
- The Broncos had their first 9-on-7 training-camp practice period in multiple years Tuesday. “You will see a lot of it in this camp,” Payton said. “It’s just something that I am familiar with.”
- While most of the team worked in 9-on-7, the wide receivers and defensive backs had one-on-one drills. Two standouts were CB Faion Hicks, who broke up multiple passes with some aggressive coverage, and WR Jerry Jeudy, whose cut allowed him to separate from CB Damarri Mathis for a wide-open catch.
- RB Jaleel McLaughlin stood out again. He logged another explosive run — his third such gallop in two days of full-pad practice.
- Edge rushers Nik Bonitto and Jonathon Cooper both posted sacks in team-period work.
- TE Greg Dulcich had perhaps his best reception of camp, leaping for a grab in the flat and turning it upfield for a long gain.
- Edge rusher Frank Clark and CB Riley Moss did not practice for a second consecutive day.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“A coach that has our back, coach that loves us, [and] a coach that wants what’s best for each and every single person…It’s just a great time to be Bronco.” — LT Garett Bolles, on what he likes about Payton
With humidity lingering around 50 percent, temperatures rose from 76°F to 81°F during the practice.