Injuries at running back lead to roster movement on Day 13 of camp
The Denver Broncos had another one of their “jog through” practices on Wednesday. The day had a ton of energy, for reasons off the field (more on that in a bit), but the practice was pretty boring.
Tomorrow will be a better day of practice with the Dallas Cowboys in town. A lot can be learned from the joint practice, and I think what we see on Thursday can be more telling than what we see in the preseason game on Saturday.
Here are some of my notes from Day 13 of training camp.
Running Back Injuries
At the start of training camp, the Broncos had a deep stable of running backs. Over the last couple of weeks, the Broncos are now getting dangerously thin at the position. A week ago, the Broncos lost Damarea Crockett to a torn ACL on the same day they lost wide receiver Tim Patrick. On Wednesday, the Broncos were down two more running backs – Melvin Gordon and Tyreik McAllister.
Gordon has a foot injury that is considered minor, but the team is being cautious with the veteran. McAllister has flashed as a speedy undrafted rookie but was angling for a spot on the practice squad.
To replace them, the Broncos signed two running backs who were out at practice on Wednesday: JaQuan Hardy and Stevie Scott. We’ve seen Scott before with the Broncos, but it was just for one preseason game last year and a brief amount of time before that. Hardy, who I like as a developmental big bodied back, spent time with the Cowboys last year. Add in Max Borghi, who was added last week to replace Crockett and you can see how things changed quickly at that position.
Always First Out
We’ve gone through 13 days of training camp, and wide receiver Kaden Davis has been the first player out of the locker room every day. Undrafted out of Northweswt Missouri State this year, Davis was a player I wanted to examine further during the offseason. Throughout rookie minicamp, OTAs, mandatory minicamp, and training camp I’ve liked what I’ve seen.
Davis can play out wide or in the slot, but I believe the slot position is where he can play his best football. In addition to what he can do out of the slot, Davis can be utilized as a return man as well. Known as a hard worker in college, it’s no surprise that Davis is the first one out every day. The media has taken notice, and I’m sure the coaching staff has as well. Look for Davis to earn a spot on the practice squad if he continues to impress in the preseason.
Fifth-round rookie wide receiver Montrell Washington has been one of the bright spots for the Broncos in camp. Expected to be the team’s primary return man, Washington has surprised by making plays with the first team as a receiver in training camp. He’s fast and lightning quick, assets that make him different from other receivers on the team. Washington may not catch a lot of passes this year, but there seems to be a package of plays for him in this offense.
During special teams practice, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett tested Washington’s concentration when fielding punts. As a ball was coming in, Hackett ran at Washington yelling “Panic! Panic! Panic!” and that surprised the rookie so much he bobbled the ball. Afterwards, the two shared a hug and had a laugh about it. Washington has had incredibly sure hands as a receiver and as a return man, but on that play, Hackett got him.
Suited and Booted
It was a monumental day at UC Health Training Center. The new Broncos ownership group was in attendance for the first time after their ownership was approved by the NFL on Tuesday. Today begins an exciting chapter for the Broncos franchise, and you could tell the energy was different at the facility today even though it was a boring practice.
Everyone was dressed up and looking their best with the new owners at practice. In addition to seeing Robson Walton, Carrie and Greg Penner, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and Melody Hobson there were other interesting attendees as well. Russell Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, was seen talking to general manager George Paton. We also saw Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning at practice, and there are questions about how he can be involved with the new ownership group.
You Can Tell
Owning the Broncos means a lot to the Walton-Penner group. You could just tell with the words and the emotions of the press conference introducing the new owners of the team. Dr. Rice was probably the best part of the press conference in my opinion.
Building on the heritage of the Broncos is important. These owners will be dedicated to the team, but most importantly they’ll be dedicated to the community. Unity, common purpose, and common pride are something that can help the Broncos fans come together. Winning the right way starts with values, and that culture is going to be strong with the Broncos under these new owners.