Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Denver Broncos Community!

Denver Broncos Training Camp Takeaways: "Sosa" hits it out of the park as the defense steals the day

Zac Stevens Avatar
August 1, 2021

Editor’s note: Welcome into one of many, many takeaway pieces to come during Broncos training camp. A staple of DNVR’s training camp coverage, these stories will be posted after each and every practice of camp. Who is standing out, who is lagging behind and who is looking like the favorite in each of the position battles? Those questions and many more will be answered right here.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Through the first three practices of training camp, for the most part, Teddy Bridgwater and Drew Lock had been quite efficient working against Denver’s stacked defense.

More importantly, the two had combined for zero interceptions against the unit that is built to be dangerous.

Once the weekend rolled around, however, the Broncos’ defense said enough is enough. On Saturday, they turned the tide.

“Sosa” with two jacks

If you guessed McTelvin Agim would have the first interception of camp for the Broncos’ starting defense, you can cash out your million dollar ticket now.

On Saturday, No. 95 made his massive presence felt in an even bigger way.

Midway through practice, the 309-pound lineman bull rushed the right guard into the pocket and nearly into Bridgewater’s lap. If the play ended there, it would have been counted as a success for the second-year pro. But when Teddy wound up to throw, McTelvin did his best Shelby Harris impression, put his hands in the air and swatted the pass a foot after it left Bridgewater’s hand.

Again, if the play ended there, it would have been wildly successful for the former third-round pick. But Agim then did his best DeShawn Williams impression, caught the ball and put his own touch on the play. He took off toward the end zone for six. The big man had the incredibly rare trifecta.

“He’s a lot better than he was last year,” Fangio said after practice. “I feel a lot better about him.”

But he wasn’t done there. Just plays later, “Sosa” made Bill Kollar and Shelby proud once again. Working in the red zone, Agim got his hand on another Bridgwater pass at the line of scrimmage. Instead of the ball going straight to him, it floated in the end zone only to be met by a diving Kareem Jackson. Kareem appeared to get his hands under the ball for his second interception of the day, thanks in large part to Agim.

“He’s worked extremely hard in the offseason,” Fangio said on Friday about the progress Agim’s made. “He had the benefit of the OTAs and the minicamp, and all the meetings. He had the benefit of learning what he doesn’t know last year when he did get to play. So, he’s going through the natural progression, but he did a great job this offseason to speed that up.”

Agim’s talent has never been in question. Entering college, he was a five-star recruit, Arkansas’ Gatorade High School Player of the Year and ESPN’s ninth-best prospect in the entire country. That talent is beginning to surface in camp.

“I think he’s always had it,” Dre’Mont Jones said about his fellow defensive lineman after Saturday’s practice. “The biggest thing was just him and his confidence. Last year, his head was more in the clouds because he’s new and he doesn’t know what’s going on. Now he’s like, ‘Alright, I know what’s going on. I know my role and my capabilities.’”

With Mike Purcell sidelined for at least a week (read below), Agim will continue to get more time along Denver’s defensive line, not just at nose tackle, but at the end position as well.

Turnover time

Despite all of the talent across Denver’s entire defense, entering Saturday, the starting unit hadn’t forced a single turnover in the first three days of camp. They changed that in a big way on Saturday.

Along with the two interceptions detailed above, the defense got their hands on one more Bridgewater pass.

Immediately after McTelvin took his pick to the house, Kareem got in on the action. Looking Jerry Jeudy’s way, Bridgwater attempted to sling a dart into a tight window 10 yards down the field as the stud receiver cut across the middle. Jackson had his eyes on Jeudy the whole way and met him at the ball. Instead of going for the knockout hit, he simultaneously caught the ball and knocked Jerry over as he took off for the house.

“It was a third-and-long situation—it was actually a great call,” Kareem said after practice, detailing the interception. “It was in a situation where I would just kind of sit and read the quarterback. I kind of felt Jerry getting ready to sit down, so I was just able to make a good break on it.”

Fangio admitted that was the first time Denver’s played that coverage in camp. It certainly worked for the defense.

After struggling in the takeaway department for years, Jackson detailed the key to carrying Saturday’s performance over to the regular season.

“Just doing it on a daily basis. We’ve got to get to a point where it’s consistent,” Jackson said. “Every day we should come out here, that should be the main thing for us is to force turnovers, to get the ball. So, if we can come out here and consistently do it, I have no doubt that it will translate to game days.”

Play of the Day

Any time a defensive lineman gets the swat-interception-touchdown trifecta, that’s the play of the day. For Sosa’s sake, we’ll call it a grand slam.

This one goes to Agim.

DNVR Stock Report

Trending up

Trinity Benson — Outside of the receivers who are locks to make the team, Benson has been the most impressive receiver the first four days of camp. From diving touchdown catches to being a reliable receiver on routine passes, he’s done it all. He continued his impressive camp on Saturday, hauling in multiple first-down passes.

Malik Reed — Not only had Reed done a nice job getting after the passer as he’s filled in for Bradley Chubb, but he’s showed that he’s improved in the run game too.

Trending down

Tyrie Cleveland — There was a lot of optimism surrounding the 2020 seventh-round pick entering training camp. However, the first four days have been disappointing for the 6-foot-2 physical receiver. Cleveland’s had more drops than receptions in team periods working with the top two quarterbacks. The struggles continued on Saturday as he let a 20-yard pass from Bridgwater slip through his hands during 7-on-7.

Teddy Bridgewater — Teddy barely let the ball hit the ground the first three days of camp. On Saturday, however, he had his fair share of incompletions along with three interceptions.

Quote of the Day

“The pass rush party is about to be lit. You’ve got Shelby, me, Chubb, Malik incorporated into that. ‘Sosa’ will be incorporated into that, DeShawn [Williams] is going to be incorporated into that. Everybody has the ability to rush the passer. It’s going to be fun.” — Dre’Mont Jones

Injury and Availability

Mike Purcell officially sprained his ankle in Friday’s practice, Fangio confirmed on Saturday. “We don’t—at this point—think it’s too bad,” the head coach added. “He’ll miss a week, at least. After that, he’ll probably be day-to-day.”

Baron Browning was wearing a sizable brace around his right knee as he stood on the sideline. After practice, Fangio said “he’s kind of stuck right now” in his rehab and he’s not sure when he’ll be back. Browning suffered a lower-leg injury during rookie minicamp and has not practiced since.

Josey Jewell was sidelined most of practice after his groin tightened up at the beginning of practice. “He could have kept going,” Fangio said. “But I just decided to take him out.”

Fangio is hopeful Bradley Chubb will participate in team drills beginning next week, but added there’s “no guarantees.”

Name to Know

No. 51 Marquiss Spencer — Don’t let the number fool you. The rookie is beginning to find his groove along Denver’s defensive line. With Purcell out, and Fangio constantly rotating defensive lineman, the seventh-round pick has rotated in with the first team and impressed his head coach.

“He’s done a nice job,” Fangio said, complimenting the rookie after practice. “He did a good job learning in the offseason and through the minicamp. [He’s a] seventh-round pick that we kind of liked, and had some feeling for. He’s taken to being coached and trying to correct his weaknesses. He’s doing a good job.”


Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?