ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On Day 2 of Broncos' training camp, Russell Wilson and Denver's offense offered a glimpse of what could lay ahead.
After focusing on the red zone on Wednesday, the Broncos worked the middle of the field in their second practice — and Wilson and Co. looked sharp.
Wilson started the day with a deep crossing route to Jerry Jeudy, as he timed his pass perfectly to drop into Jeudy's hands as he came into the throwing window.
"I love the way he's attacked this training camp up to this point," Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said of Jeudy. "I know it's early and it's a long ways away, but he's been really great. Just seeing him around more, working harder, just throughout the whole [offseason], just everything he's been doing. He's a very focused person and asks great questions and coaches me. Calls me out a couple times, which is awesome. I love that, and that's just going to show that he's going to grow more and more, because he's definitely capable of doing a lot of different things."
The ball hit the ground just once or twice during the early practice periods, as Wilson spread the ball around to Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick on a mix of short and intermediate routes. Some of Patrick's plays were particularly impressive, as he hauled in a couple of catches in tight traffic.
Later in practice, the Broncos' offense pushed the ball down the field, as well.
Despite the offense's success, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett cautioned that it came in a practice setting.
"[The offense] made some really good plays," Hackett said. "I think the defense made some incredible plays. It's just every day getting better on both sides of the ball. What you're always hoping to see every day that you're out there, is both teams doing good things. All the way from special teams to offense and defense, you want to see that improvement."
MAKING PLAYS LATE
The Broncos' defense responded later in practice, as two of the best players on the unit made big-time plays.
On the first, Wilson looked deep down the left side of the field for Jeudy, who may have had a step on his defender. At the last moment, though, Just Simmons soared in from the other side of the field and timed his jump perfectly. The All-Pro safety batted the ball away and erased the scoring opportunity.
"That was awesome," Hackett said. "Haven't gone against him a lot since about three years ago, and it shows up at times at like OTAs, but that one right there was pretty dramatic. We were actually trying to pick on somebody else and he came over and helped at. That was an amazing play. That was unbelievable."
Then, at the end of practice, Pat Surtain II left his mark. The play, as Surtain later explained, was a simulated third down — and each side of the ball needed to make a play. If the Broncos' offense picked up the needed yardage, that side of the ball would win the rep. For the defense to win, it would need to hold Wilson and Co. short of the sticks.
On the play, Wilson lofted a back-shoulder jump ball to Sutton, who got two hands on the ball and started to haul it in. Surtain, though, wouldn't give up. After first missing with his left hand as he stabbed at the ball, he followed with his right hand and broke up the pass.
"He's a smart guy and he's starting to get comfortable," Hackett said. "There's some new things that he's doing out there, and I think he's starting to feel good about those. Being with [Defensive Backs Coach] Christian [Parker] another year is great. Same kind of system with [Defensive Coordinator] Ejiro [Evero]. You add in the range, the speed, the strength — all those things. That was awesome, because that was two big human beings competing for a ball, and you love to see that. They're going to make each other better, and that's what I love."
After practice, Surtain pointed to the play as an example of staying with the play.
"Court, he went up and got it," Surtain said. "Russ, he threw a good ball. He almost had it. But that goes to [show] the key is finishing plays, just finishing on the ball. You never know what's going to happen once you finish."
LOOKING FOR A ROSTER SPOT
Rookie undrafted cornerback Ja'Quan McMillian made a pair of nice plays on Thursday, as he broke up a pass down the sideline intended for Montrell Washington and later provided strong coverage on a deep-pass attempt.
"I'm feeling good," McMillian said Thursday. "I'm just getting back in the groove. It's been a long process. Yesterday, it was real fast for me. Today, it slowed down a lot, and I slowed my game down and made some plays."
McMillian will look to be the latest undrafted player to make the Broncos' roster.
"Special teams is going to be big for me," McMillian said. "Just showing I can go out there and compete at a high level and just doing what I'm asked to do, just doing my job. Just playing fast, fearless — and I think I'll be all right."
… Wilson's arm strength was on display early in practice as the Broncos' offense ran routes against air. With seemingly little effort, Wilson launched passes of at least 50 yards to wide receiver Jalen Virgil.
… Tight end Eric Saubert continues to have a nice training camp. He caught an intermediate pass down the seam from Wilson and may have picked up more yards after the catch.
… Defensive lineman DeShawn Williams applied good pressure on one passing play, as he crashed off the edge of the line and forced a quick throwaway.
Flip through photos from team photographers Gabriel Christus and Ben Swanson from the second day of training camp.