MILE HIGH MONDAY

Sutton developing chemistry with Nix is the big story of minicamp

Jun 10, 2024, 6:07 AM

The Denver Broncos have one week of practice left, and I will be there every day for mandatory minicamp! With voluntary offseason training activities wrapped up, it’s time for more work in preparation for training camp later this summer.

I like this final week before the break. First, the media gets to see all the practices. Second, a break is coming – my only time in the entire year to take some time off (and fire up the Shelby).

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

In the Mix?

All eyes in practice are on the quarterbacks. Jarrett Stidham is the incumbent, and he’s been the steadiest performer at the position during OTAs. Bo Nix is the first-round pick, and he has been performing well in practice. Zach Wilson is the former No. 2 overall pick, and he has a chance to start if he responds in the football rehab HC Sean Payton is giving him.

Wilson has not looked impressive, something I’ve written about during the last three weeks of OTAs. He’s holding onto the ball too long, he’s throwing interceptions, and Wilson is running during passing drills. It’s clear that he has a strong arm, but he is a long way from the starting lineup. Wilson has a lot more rehab to undergo than some may think.

Is he “in the mix” for the job? Sure, at this time nothing has been decided. However, Wilson is not doing himself any favors with his play. There’s a chance he could turn things around in mandatory minicamp and training camp, but those chances are slim at best.

All roads lead to Nix as the starter. If Stidham gets a few starts to begin the regular season, I would not be surprised. However, if Wilson is starting for the Broncos, then something likely went terribly wrong.

***

Never a Question

Courtland Sutton is going to be at mandatory minicamp for the Broncos – this was never in question. He announced last week on the DNVR podcast that his plan was to be at mandatory minicamp. With the work being voluntary, Sutton has been away from the facility and working out in Florida. Now that the work is mandatory, everyone could have anticipated that Sutton would be back in Denver.

My questions about Sutton revolve around his chemistry with Nix. We know Sutton can be a fit in the Payton offense. As the ‘X’ receiver, Sutton could be a slant God the way Marques Colston or Michael Thomas was for Payton’s New Orleans Saints. Sutton showed great chemistry with Russell Wilson last year, but he did not look as sharp during limited time with Stidham in the lineup at the end of the 2023 season.

Sutton needs to build chemistry with his new quarterbacks. Holding onto the ball too long won’t happen with Stidham or Nix under center. This means Sutton can’t play the playground ball that was the norm with Russell Wilson. Instead, more precision will be necessary to perform at the highest level in Payton’s true offense. Better timing comes with work – something Sutton has been missing out on while he’s been away from his team.

The question should have never been, “Will Sutton show up?” The question should always have been, “How will he mesh with Nix?” At mandatory minicamp, we’ll get to see what early chemistry looks like. Sutton is a pro’s pro, and Payton has had no worries about the veteran’s preparedness. I expect him to catch up with his teammates quickly this week.

***

Never Tell Me the Odds

Most aren’t expecting much from the Broncos. I’m being called out for predicting nine wins as a possibility for the 2024 season. It’s going to be tough to get that number, especially with their tough late-season schedule. However, I believe in Payton and his system.

The oddsmakers say the Broncos have the second-highest chance of missing the postseason in 2024. Add this along with Pro Football Focus ranking the Broncos’ roster as No. 32 in the league, and you can see how some think the team is terrible. I’ve said it time and time again; the Broncos have talent, they just don’t have proven talent. That unproven talent will be put to the test early and often this season.

Could they outperform expectations? Yes, anything is possible. However, what is probable? It’s probable the team pushes for relevancy over the first half of the season, then when November hits their record could slide. That’s my prediction, and after a hot start I think their inexperience may catch up with them.

As Han Solo said, “Never tell me the odds!” I’m not predicting the Broncos to make the playoffs, but they’re not this awful team that many outside of Denver say they are.

***

A Prequel Worth Your Time

I love the Gears of War franchise. There were rumblings about a new Gears of War game coming in the near future, and now we have confirmation that one is coming. They won’t be doing “Gears 6” after five successful games in the timeline (plus, some average-at-best offshoot games), but instead there is a prequel in the works.

There are several IPs who try the prequel route with varying results. Gears of War is going back with “E Day” to tell the tale of main characters Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago when the Locust Horde invaded their planet, Sera. We know what happens after E Day from the first Gears of War game released back in 2006. Now, we’ll know how our heroes were put in that situation.

Reuniting Marcus and Dom is perfect. I won’t spoil what happens in Gears 3, but seeing this duo back in action together gave me chills. I’m a gamer, but Gears of War has a special place in my memory from the revolutionary gameplay and online experience that I first had with the franchise almost 20 years ago. There is no release date as of yet, but I will be ready when it hits XBox Live (Gamepass) once again!

Are you excited about this latest Gears of War game? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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