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Broncos Day 11 Camp report: Getting ready for the Falcons

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Unlike the other practices of training camp to date, Tuesday's work was geared toward game preparation.

Quarterback Kevin Hogan, who will start Thursday, worked against the first-team defense and with three first-team offensive linemen -- Garett Bolles, Dalton Risner and Connor McGovern. All three are expected to play "a few plays" in Thursday's preseason opener against Atlanta, Head Coach Vic Fangio said.

Offenses and defenses gave each other scout-team-type looks. While the work wasn't at half speed, the tempo was throttled back a bit. Pass rushers didn't always come charging at the quarterback as they did during the first 10 practices.


There was one move-the-ball series in practice, and it saw Drew Lock lead the offense into field-goal range against a defense that had a mix of backups and some prominent first-teamers like outside linebacker Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

Given 1:58 on the clock, a two-point deficit and a timeout, Lock guided the offense 54 yards on a drive that began at its 25-yard line. The two longest plays came on passes to Khalfani Muhammad (14 yards) and Austin Fort (13 yards), the latter of which came on a third-and-10 with 1:21 remaining.

After the pass to Fort moved the offense to the defense's 35-yard line, Lock hit Devontae Jackson for a pair of 6-yard passes before the drive stalled when a first-and-10 pass to Dave Williams bounced off the running back's hands. Williams carried for a 2-yard gain on the next play before a third-and-8 spike set up what would have been a 39-yard field-goal attempt under game conditions.

Lock said he wants to refine his work in game management on Thursday. What he did during Tuesday's move-the-ball period showed progress, as he guided the offense into scoring range without having to use a timeout.

"We talked about the groups that are going to be playing this game," he said. "It's obviously not the ones going out there and play this game. There's going to be a lot of young guys, a lot of draft picks, a lot of just now free agents, a lot of couple-year guys. Juices will be flowing, people will be riled up.

"Let's calm down. Let's show that we can drive it on the field. Be crisp, be smart, [and] no penalties before the snap. Just be a really clean quarterback that doesn't force a ball downfield, that can check it down and keep moving the sticks."

If Lock succeeds at this Thursday, a possession like the one he led Tuesday will be a reason why.


... As has been the case throughout training camp, passes to running backs and tight ends were a point of emphasis Tuesday.

Heavy involvement of the running backs as receiving targets is by design, Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello noted.

"Yeah, without question. This style of play is about creating matchups where you can, and the halfback is a big part of that," he said. 

"We definitely have complementary pieces and really talented backs that can do a lot of different stuff, so it's our job to put them in position to do that as much as we can."

... Fangio expressed satisfaction with the work of left tackle Garett Bolles so far in training camp.

"He's the incumbent, and somebody's got to knock him out, kind of like a heavyweight championship, and so far he's had a great camp," Fangio said. "If we were to play today against Oakland, he'd be the starter hands down -- unanimous decision."

... Cornerback Isaac Yiadom should play extensively Thursday, and he capped the day with a back-of-the-end-zone interception of a Lock pass toward Fred Brown during a team red-zone period.

With Bryce Callahan sidelined after having his foot stepped on during Saturday's practice, Yiadom has been a mainstay during first-team periods, giving him a path to be the No. 3 cornerback.

"Ever since they took the caution away from him with the shoulder I like the way he's progressing," Fangio said. "He's a very conscientious player, wants to do well for himself, for the coaches, for the team. We really enjoy coaching him. It'd be good for him to get action."

... Chris Harris Jr. also intercepted Lock, leaping for a pass intended for rookie wide receiver Juwann Winfree.

... Defensive end DeMarcus Walker continued his solid camp by batting down a pass at the line of scrimmage during the team red-zone period.

... One positive moment for Lock came when he was working against the first-team defense. Rolling out to the right, he had Von Miller closing in on him, but Lock deftly lofted the ball over Miller's reach and into the grasp of Brendan Langley with Harris in coverage. The play gained only 3 yards, but the touch on the ball from Lock was a good sign.

... Linebacker Justin Hollins showed off his 4.5 speed, breaking up a long attempt to tight end Noah Fant during a team period. Hollins stayed with Fant step for step, allowing him to remain in position to make a play on the football.

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