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Broncos Camp Observations: Pat Surtain II's pass breakups highlight strong day for secondary

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Perhaps it would be easier to note when Pat Surtain II doesn't make a highlight play during training camp.

Two days after an impressive pass breakup to end practice, the Broncos' second-year cornerback turned in another strong day as Denver practiced for the final time before their off day.

On two separate occasions, Russell Wilson looked deep toward a receiver with Surtain in coverage. And on two separate occasions, Surtain made a difficult play look routine.

"It's crazy," said Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero of Surtain's ability to make the position look easy. "It's effortless. He's such a smooth athlete, and I think that's one of the qualities of really good players, is they just make it look easy. He's definitely in that [group]."

He first shadowed Courtland Sutton down the sideline and timed his jump to knock the ball away. Later, working against Tim Patrick down the seam, Surtain nearly snagged his first interception of camp.

"I'll go over to him each and every day," Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten quipped, "and say, 'Can you let us complete a pass, please? Just once?' It is a very, very good defense. We get tested daily."


Surtain wasn't the only defensive back to make plays, as the secondary turned in a strong performance.

Late in practice, Ronald Darby recorded the first interception — or takeaway of any kind — when he picked off Russell Wilson and took off in the other direction. Darby may have scored in game conditions.

In the same period, fourth-round pick Damarri Mathis applied tight coverage and recorded a PBU. He nearly intercepted the pass, as well.

"I feel like I've been progressing real good," Mathis said. "I feel like coming in at OTAs and minicamp … kind of gave us a little kick start of how it was going to be in camp. Everything's been smooth, just trying to get better and learn as much as I can."

Safety J.R. Reed could've snagged an interception of his own when a pass went off the receiver's hands and popped up to him in the secondary. Reed had another pass breakup earlier in practice.

A mix of dynamic talent and a proven defensive scheme should put the Broncos' secondary in position to make its share of plays this year.

"We just got a really good group," Mathis said. "Our D-coordinator puts us in a lot of really good positions to make plays. Like our coach says, when we get those one-on-one matchups, we like those favorable matchups. We like to come out on top on those matchups."


One play after Darby's interception, Wilson looked right back down the field. He launched a deep pass to rookie Montrell Washington, who hauled in the pass for a long score. Cornerback K'Waun Williams pulled up on the play, but Washington still executed the opportunity.

Wilson was otherwise sharp on the day, completing a series of short and intermediate passes to his wide receivers and tight ends.

Jerry Jeudy continued to be one of the prime beneficiaries of Wilson's targets. Linebacker Josey Jewell provided near-perfect coverage on one passing play and even seemed to get his hand on the pass. Still, Wilson was able to fire the ball in for a completion to Jeudy.


… Defensive linemen Dre'Mont Jones and D.J. Jones both showed their pass-rushing ability during Saturday's practice. In game conditions, it's likely each player would have posted a sack against the first-team offense. Bradley Chubb also provided strong pressure on a play, and Jonas Griffith may have recorded a sack in a live rep.

… Quinn Meinerz and Netane Muti continued to divvy up reps at right guard, and Outten said the competition remains ongoing.

… Chubb and Garett Bolles, who have battled nearly daily at training camp for much of the last five training camps, shared a quick hug after a good rep during practice.

… On a short pass from Wilson to Sutton, safety Kareem Jackson showed excellent closing speed. In a game scenario, he likely would've stopped Sutton for no gain.

… Practice ended with a deep completion to undrafted rookie Kaden Davis. The Northwest Missouri State player has been the first Bronco on the field for each of the first four practices.

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