ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Jerry Jeudy continues to show why a breakout season could be on the horizon.
Jeudy made perhaps his best play of training camp on Saturday, as he ran a beautiful route down the right sideline and created an almost unbelievable amount of separation between himself and his defender.
Russell Wilson launched the ball down the field, and Jeudy hauled in the pass for an easy touchdown of at least 50 yards.
"With Jerry, he's such a natural route-runner, and when somebody's on him, he has the ability to move second-level defenders [and] find the sweet spot," Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said after practice. "He's a really smart spatial player. And then you start throwing this brand-new scheme at him and you don't want to hold him back from that. Now, because we're done with the install, we're moving on, we're just reviewing, you're now seeing him play football with Russ and Courtland [Sutton] and all those guys. Now, he's able to take his skill set and put it within the offense and I think you're seeing a lot of that. The one that he ran early was a brilliant route on how he did it, how he faked it. It wasn't even really the route, it was just how he made it look, which was great to see."
Earlier in practice, Jeudy ran a crossing route and Wilson dropped the ball in for a moderate gain. The two plays were just the latest in a strong training camp for the third-year player.
In 2021, Jeudy was held out of the end zone. If he continues to play at the same level he's shown through the first two weeks of training camp, it'd be surprising if he didn't get to the end zone quite often in 2022.
WHEN IT COUNTS
The Broncos' offense was at its best on Saturday when it mattered most: in the red zone and in the two-minute drill.
In red-zone work, Wilson connected on a touchdown to Courtland Sutton and scrambled for a likely rushing touchdown. Wilson also tossed a pass that rookie Montrell Washington laid out for to make a diving grab.
Then, in the two-minute drill, the offense picked up where it left off at the end of Thursday's practice. Denver's offense took over at its 35-yard line in a tie game with 1:42 to play in the first half, and Wilson's 35-yard completion to Brandon Johnson helped put Denver in position for a go-ahead 31-yard field goal at the horn.
"Two-minute is everything," Hackett said. "You go back to most all football games and there is something at the end of the first half or second half that really decides the game. As you guys know, we don't do a ton of seven-on-seven, so I love that also because that's where everyone knows it's a pass. You get to go in and play situations and work it out. We had some great conversations over there for some things that happened. I think it is unbelievably critical, because a lot of the time the quarterback is usually the most focused in, but the more you can get everybody else understanding the situation, how it changes down — you just can't do it enough. Over and over, whether we are walking through, whether we are going full speed. I also think it is good conditioning and it's fun. The guys get to compete. So, we will try to do a lot of that."
HUG IT OUT
After several padded practices, the Broncos had their first extracurricular activities pop up on Saturday. After one 11-on-11 play, defensive tackle McTelvin Agim and offensive lineman Ben Braden were involved in a minor scuffle that involved a couple of exchanged shoves.
"I have been around football a long time, and you can't hide that," Hackett said.
Both players were sent to the sideline and didn't re-enter the remaining plays of the period. During an ensuing water break, Hackett spent several minutes animatedly talking to Agim and Braden.
"I just kicked those guys off the field," Hackett said. "In the end, that's what happens in a game. In a game, if something like that happens, somebody's [kicked] out — potentially for the whole game — [and] it hurts the team. In the end, we talk about the team — it's all about the team — and I know it's a heated battle out there, but it's all about controlled aggression. No matter what happens, you can't throw a punch. You can't do anything like that. That's not what we want, that's not what we coach. … After that, we talked, cleared the air, made sure they were all good and they were able to come back onto the field."
After the discussion, Hackett, Agim and Braden all hugged it out. That's not the first time Hackett has used the tactic, according to Lloyd Cushenberry III.
"We had some scuffles in the spring and he made the guys hug in the team meeting in front of everybody," Cushenberry said. "We don't want to fight our teammates. Things get heated out there, but we've got to understand someone's going to get thrown out if we throw a punch. So we can't have that."
Cushenberry has yet to have make up with any of his teammates on the defensive line.
"I'm usually the one breaking it up," Cushenberry said with a smile.
JUST IN CASE
For the first time in training camp, rookie center Luke Wattenberg got a few snaps of work with the first-team unit in place of Cushenberry. Hackett explained after practice that the move was designed to prepare the offense in case Wattenberg is inserted into a game by necessity.
"You're only going to find out how those young guys are if they are thrown in there," Hackett said. "How does it feel when, all of a sudden, Russell Wilson is taking a snap from you? These are things we have to [do to] … get through that. We have to work through that. Those guys have to get on the same page, so that if we do need him, he is ready to rock."
… Wide receivers Seth Williams, Jalen Virgil and Darrius Shepherd scored touchdowns during the Broncos' first one-on-one drills of training camp, while rookie cornerback Damarri Mathis played particularly good defense on one snap.
… Linebacker Josey Jewell made a couple of good stops that would have been tackles for loss under game conditions.
… Ronald Darby broke up a pass intended for Albert Okwuegbunam in an 11-on-11 period, and Justin Simmons almost picked off the deflected throw.
… Newly signed running back Max Borghi saw plenty of action and was able to show his speed to turn the corner on a couple of runs.
… The Broncos had a pair of fumbled snaps, one of which came during an exchange between Wilson and Wattenberg. After the miscue, Wilson took several snaps from Wattenberg on the side.
… Safety Dellarin Turner-Yell blew up a double team on a special teams coverage play. The rookie's path to a roster spot will likely depend on his special teams contributions.
… Agim showed off his agility as he stayed in stride with a scrambling Wilson and batted a pass down.