Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Denver Broncos Community!

Minicamp Observations: Big day for Broncos' backs

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
June 8, 2016


The Denver Broncos took the field for the second day of the mandatory minicamp on Wednesday, another practice that was fully open to the media. BSN Denver was on hand again to bring you our observations.

Of course, the quarterbacks are the top story around here these days but nothing changed from what we shared with you yesterday, Sanchez with the ones, Siemian with the twos and Lynch with the threes.

With that in mind,we tried to focus our observations in other areas today, here’s what we saw:

Running backs break out

While the running plays have been the most anti-climactic to this point as everybody wants to see the quarterbacks let it fly, the backs actually garnered the biggest head-turning plays of the day.

Both C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman busted huge, untouched runs for touchdowns on the day, both in the mold that a Gary Kubiak offense so deeply craves. Both of the runs featured the back moving right with the offensive line only to cut back and take things the other way for the big gainers.

Devontae Booker also had a big run of his own as he busted off of the right side and may have housed his as well if he didn’t just barely fall out of bounds while trying to tiptoe the sideline.

The Broncos are planning to rely heavily on their backs this season with so much uncertainty at the quarterback position, today was an important day as it seemed they tried to focus more on that facet of the game and, in turn, had success.

Vet rest day

Some of the focus on the running backs, as well as the subsequent success, may have been due to the players that weren’t available today as many veterans got the day off for rest.

T.J. Ward, Darian Stewart, Chris Harris, Derek Wolfe, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas all got the day off. Add in the absences of DeMarcus Ware for his back injury, Aqib Talib who is still recovering from a gunshot wound and Von Miller who has yet to sign a contract and Wednesday turned into a big day for young players to show what they have.

“Everybody is fine. I’ve had that rhythm the whole way,” Gary Kubiak told media after practice. “Just because we call these three days minicamp, you guys know that we’re operating no different than what we really do in OTAs. I think our schedule has been good. Our work has been good. I want to keep that same routine until we get through.”

From what we could see, here’s who took the bulk of the replacement work for each player:

T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart – Justin Simmons and Shiloh Keo

Chris Harris and Aqib Talib – Bradley Roby and Kayvon Webster

Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders – Jordan Taylor and Cody Latimer

DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller – Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett (as has been the case since the start of OTAs)

Derek Wolfe – Vance Walker

The two players that seemed to take the greatest advantage of the opportunity were Justin Simmons and Jordan Taylor. Simmons just continues to impress in his opportunities, nearly nabbing another interception today. He’s continuously showing off his versatility covering in the slot and even moving up to the line a bit in the last couple of days.

Taylor, while it’s early, just seems like a guy who isn’t going to give the Broncos a choice but to have him on this roster. Every day he’s making catches and getting open at a level that shows he belongs in this league. Today, he was clearly Mark Sanchez‘ favorite target, replacing Emmanuel Sanders in that position.

Punt competition

There are many competitions for roster spots on the field but few are as straightforward as a punting competition. I say that in the sense that punters have nobody to turn to but themselves in this competition. Wide receivers have to rely on quarterbacks, running backs have to rely on the offensive line and so on.

This punting competition will go all the way through training camp and it’s seemingly been accepted that if it ends up being close, the Broncos will roll with the younger and much cheaper option, seventh-round pick Riley Dixon.

Today, though, it wasn’t all that close. Britton Colquitt, who was nails for the Broncos during the final stretch of their Super Bowl run, clearly showed an upper hand on the rookie, consistently hitting longer and higher punts. It clearly wasn’t Dixon’s day as he hit a couple knuckle balls and showed visible frustration.

Punting is one of those things where you can simply have an off day and it seemed that was the case for Dixon on Wednesday. The Broncos will surely hope that the gap is much smaller as the competition move forward so they can save upwards of $3 million.

We’ll be back at the practice fields at the UC Health Traning Center tomorrow to bring you all the latest.



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?