ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have invested time and effort into understanding the playbook and sharpening their skills during the first weeks of training camp, but Head Coach Sean Payton has also made it a priority to keep tabs on how his players are feeling.
That's a move that has resonated with one of his star players, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
"I think Sean [does] a great job of making sure our bodies feel great so we can be able to practice each and every day," Jeudy said.
Jeudy has been a key figure in the receiving corps since his selection with the 15th-overall pick in 2020. He's played in at least 10 games in each of his three seasons as a Bronco and led the team in receiving yardage in 2020 and 2022.
This offseason, Jeudy has been diligent about learning the nuances of Payton's system so he can reach his goal of continued improvement in his fourth season.
"I'm just focused on my alignment, my assignment, my technique, how they want me to run routes," Jeudy said. "Figuring out ways to run the routes and just focus on my job and my execution so I can master this offense."
Payton praised Jeudy's performance in training camp so far, though he said he hopes to be more consistent in where he lines Jeudy up in the offensive formation.
"I think he's picking up what we're doing," Payton said. "You see his explosiveness. He's pretty savvy."
As Jeudy adjusts to a new offense, he's found a familiar challenge in facing the Broncos' talented secondary. Jeudy said finding open space is a difficult task when he's covered by Denver's defensive backs.
"It's very difficult, especially having this great secondary that knows how to play its assignments well," Jeudy said. "We've got great [defensive backs], great safety, a great secondary that is just hard to beat. You have to make sure you focus on all the little details just so that you can cause that little bit of separation."
SKINNER REFLECTS ON HIS BASKETBALL BACKGROUND
Sixth-round pick JL Skinner is in the midst of his first NFL training camp, but he hasn't always had his sights set on professional football.
Growing up, Skinner preferred the hardwood, before his high school coach swayed him toward the football field.
"I didn't watch too much NFL throughout my whole life," Skinner said. "I was kind of a basketball guy first."
At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Skinner combines speed and playmaking ability with a linebacker-like frame. That size and athleticism helped the All-Mountain West first-team selection gravitate toward basketball, but his high school coach saw more potential for him in football and cut him in his junior year.
Skinner didn't agree with the decision then, but he said he now appreciates his coach's decision.
"My coach cut me from the basketball team for football, because he was like, 'You have a shot at football,'" Skinner recalled. "He did that for me and kicked me off the team basically — told me I couldn't play anymore. It worked out in the long run – I was mad that day, but I appreciate him for it now."
Skinner confirmed that his basketball days are far behind him now, admitting he'd likely lose to tight end and former college basketball player Chris Manhertz in a one-on-one game and that he hasn't played competitively for a while. That, however, didn't stop the former basketball player from weighing in on the Michael Jordan-LeBron James debate.
"I would say LeBron," Skinner said. "I didn't watch Jordan growing up. I watched LeBron, so that's the guy that I saw playing a lot more. The things that he's done on the court, I'm just a LeBron fan in that aspect. That's just for me."