Camp Comfort is looking like less of a good idea for the Broncos
During training camp and the preseason, Nathaniel Hackett’s approach to practice and exhibition games got a lot of attention. His team spent one out of every three days going through “jog throughs” and the starters didn’t play a single snap. There was very little hitting, with some long-time football staples being cast aside in favor of new-age, analytics-based ideas.
Some people liked the approach. But a lot, including most former players, did not. Ultimately, the verdict was going to come during the regular season. How the Broncos played, and whether or not they stayed relatively healthy, would provide the answer.
Well, things aren’t looking good for the pro-Hackett crowd at this point. Just one game into the season, the Broncos looked like they could’ve used some more work.
On the field, Denver was sloppy in their opener. They committed 12 penalties against the Seahawks, dropped passes and missed tackles. Plus, they had all sorts of logistical issues, from getting plays in on time to clock management. All were major factors in the Broncos falling 17-16 in a game they absolutely should’ve won.
Even the pro-Hackett crowd admitted that there would be some early season sloppiness. That was almost a given. But the trade-off was going to come in the form of health. Denver might have a blunder or two, but at least they wouldn’t be without key players.
Well, so much for that idea. Heading into Week 2, the Broncos are going to be without two key players, while plenty of others are potentially on the shelf.
Despite all of the precautions during training camp, Tim Patrick was lost for the season with a torn ACL. That’s one of the team’s top-10 players not available.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Justin Simmons, voted the top safety in the NFL during the offseason, will be out at least four weeks with a quad injury. He was placed on injured reserve. That’s two of their best players.
Quinn Meinerz left the season opener with a hamstring injury. Josey Jewell missed the game because of a calf ailment. That’s two more starters.
Today, Randy Gregory missed practice because of issues with both his shoulder and knee, DeShawn Williams was out because of a back problem and K.J. Hamler was an observer due to his knee and hip. Meanwhile, K’Waun Williams was limited because of a wrist problem. That’s four more starters / regular contributors out because of injury.
Could things be worse? Of course. But there’s no evidence to suggest they would be if Hackett hadn’t covered his team in bubblewrap throughout the preseason.
Sloppy play and injuries are the worse-possible confluence of issues for the Broncos. It’s looking more and more like the “softer” approach to training camp was a bad idea.