Hamler participating more, Dulcich doing work highlight Day 7 for Broncos
The Denver Broncos had a light day at training camp. After one day of full pads on Tuesday, the Broncos did a ‘jog through’ on Wednesday.
The Broncos have gone through one week of workouts as they prepare for the 2022 season. Some things look as expected, while other things are a bit different than I thought they would be.
Here are some of my notes from Day 7 of training camp.
Hamler Participates More
Even though they were just jogging through the plays, it looked like Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler was doing more. Hamler was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list just a couple of days ago, and now the Broncos are testing him out after a knee injury cost him most of last season. He’s gotten some work in camp so far, and I’m sure the Broncos are watching him after practice to see how his body responds to more work.
Hamler has a unique skill set for the Broncos. He’s fast – and could be the fastest player in the NFL. That speed is something the Broncos offense could feature. It’s especially enticing when you consider the “moon balls” that Russell Wilson throws with great timing and accuracy. Imagine Hamler running under those for big touchdowns. Get this kid healthy and watch him shine as the Broncos No. 3 receiver.
Dulcich Out There
The Broncos are going to use the tight end position, perhaps more than some think this season. A favorite target for quarterback Russell Wilson could eventually be rookie tight end Greg Dulcich. He’s been banged up since before training camp with a hamstring injury, but he is getting more work as the weeks go by.
On Wednesday, Dulcich did some jog through work. He’s a dangerous receiving threat, and he has more speed than Albert Okwuegbunam. We see every day that the tight end is going to get used early and often, but it’s mostly been Eric Saubert impressing at the position. I like Saubert, but he does not have the receiving talent that Dulcich has. However, Dulcich does not have the blocking ability that Saubert has. Oh yeah, Okwuegbunam is there too. No matter how the tight end targets are split, Dulcich could stand out when passes are thrown his way if he can get healthy, stay healthy and get up to speed in this offense.
I thought we’d see Javonte Williams get the lead role for the Broncos in 2022. I still believe I’m correct in that he will be the starter. However, I was expecting an 80-20 split between him and Melvin Gordon. After watching a week of training camp, that split could be more like 70-30.
Williams was back out there as the first team running back. However, on Tuesday, it was Gordon who took the first snaps with the top unit. Six out of seven days that first player has been Williams, so it was interesting to note that Gordon got one day – and that happened to be the day the team was in full pads for the first time. I think it’s unwise to say things will be evenly split just like last year, but I do think Gordon will get more of a workload than I first imagined entering camp a week ago.
I think the Denver media is just trained to watch for a quarterback competition. Since we have Wilson here as the unquestioned starter, some in the media don’t know what to do with themselves. Thus, they start looking at the backup competition between Josh Johnson and Brett Rypien. This battle has been diagnosed every way possible, but at the end of the day if Wilson is lost for an extended period neither of these guys are going to keep the team afloat.
Rypien is having a better camp than Johnson. Both have their flaws, and they’re both different from each other. I see Rypien generally on time with his throws. His arm strength is nothing to write home about, but his anticipation keeps him ahead of the play. Johnson is more athletic, but too often he will take off to run and his passes don’t always have great placement. We’ll see who wins the backup spot behind Wilson – or if the Broncos go out and sign someone from another team – but at this time the leader in this competition is Rypien.
After practice on Wednesday, it was announced the Broncos signed Washington State running back Max Borghi. Since they lost running back Damarea Crockett for the season due to an ACL injury on Tuesday, the Broncos needed to add another running back. Borghi, originally picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Colts out of Washington State earlier this year, spent a bit of time with the Broncos during June minicamp.
Borghi played high school football at Pomona, and he’s drawn plenty of comparisons to former Valor star (and Panthers star) Christian McCaffrey. He’s not on that level, but I do like Borghi’s ability to make defenders miss in tight spaces. Borghi plays with good instincts and vision for the position. He’s not a pile pusher but get him in space and he can be dangerous as a runner or receiver out of the backfield. Borghi could impress enough in camp and the preseason to earn a spot on the practice squad.