“It’s just like a normal day for us. It’s not a big deal,” Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said with a wide smile. Tuesday wasn’t the first time and it certainly won’t be the last time the defense dominated their offensive counterparts on the field.
QBs facing the best
- There’s never an easy day against the Broncos defense for Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch. Tuesday was no different as the defense shined with pass breakups and stalling the offense’s inconsistent drives.
- Siemian began with the first-team offense, but Lynch got several series running the show as well.
- Here’s one of Lynch’s four-play sequences in the middle of practice:
- Lynch throws a bad pick-six to cornerback Taurean Nixon on a short pass to the right side.
- Lynch rebounds with a deep touchdown throw to Cody Latimer down the right sideline.
- Lynch overthrows his receiver by about five yards out-of-bounds near the left sideline.
- Lynch hits tight end Austin Traylor for a deep touchdown on a double-move near the right sideline.
- When both quarterbacks went against the Broncos first-team defense, their performances left much to be desired.
- Harris on QB battle: “We just try to make it hard for these coaches, make it hard for Paxton and Trevor, don’t give them anything easy, and make them work for their throws. (We want it) to where when they choose who the quarterback is, they’ll know this is the guy who is the most consistent and made the most plays.”
Garett Bolles is coming
- Broncos first-round pick Garett Bolles saw more first-team reps Tuesday than he has all spring. The coaching staff has made Bolles earn his spot in the rotation and he’s finally in the thick of the starter competition as Denver prepares to break for camp.
- Bolles alternated with Ty Sambrailo at left tackle every other series. He had mixed results with some wins and losses against Shane Ray, Von Miller and the defense.
- Joseph on Bolles: “He’s made a lot of progress. It’s a tough spot to play as a rookie, and it takes a lot of football IQ to play that spot in the NFL. When he knows what to do, he can block his guy. His talent shows… He’s a first-round pick for a reason.”
Defenders standing out
- Taurean Nixon is an early favorite for the practice squad player to make the 2017 53-man roster. Nixon has looked like a new player this spring getting his hands on passes with regularity. He had the pick-six in practice Tuesday to go along with another pass breakup. The competition between Nixon, Lorenzo Doss, who also had a pass breakup Tuesday, and Brendan Langley for the final cornerback spots will be intense in training camp.
- Adam Gotsis continued his impressive spring by breaking up multiple passes at the line of scrimmage. It looks like it’s coming together for the Broncos 2016 second-round pick.
- It may be a bit of a mismatch, but Shane Ray continues to win against Ty Sambrailo when the two are head-to-head.
- Will Parks may be in line for a much bigger role in 2017. He continues to see significant time with the first-team defense. Corey Nelson also saw a big uptick in first-team reps Tuesday.
Other rookies and dark horses shining
- De’Angelo Henderson is right behind Isaiah McKenzie for the most impressive rookie in spring workouts so far. Henderson continues to show elusiveness, balance and power as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield.
- Speaking of McKenzie, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph lathered the fifth-round pick with praise once again Tuesday. McKenzie had a solid punt return and juked a few guys out of their shoes as a running back, even while battling sickness.
- Joseph on McKenzie: “He is explosive. He is fast and he plays fast all the time. He can do a lot of things for us in terms of punt returning, playing some halfback and being the slot guy. He’s a smart guy and he’s very competitive. He’s a guy who should help us in the fall.”
- Hunter Sharp has also shined as a returner, to a lesser extent. Sharp, a 2016 undrafted free agent out of Utah State, has split punt return reps with McKenzie while being active as a kick returner and receiver. He’s caught Joseph’s eye and could make a strong push for a practice squad spot this summer.
- It’s no surprise that defensive end Derek Wolfe was at the center of multiple scuffles Tuesday. There were no pads, but the intensity certainly ratcheted up for the first mandatory minicamp practice. It was more pushing and shoving between the offensive and defensive lines than punches.
- Joseph said the scuffles were more of a positive than a negative. There will certainly be more once training camp kicks off in late July.