ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Facing his first true adversity of training camp, Jerry Jeudy responded.
During the first nine days of training camp, Jeudy wowed teammates on both sides of the ball as the 15th-overall pick ran crisp routes and made spectacular catches. Then, early on Day 10, the Alabama product didn't look quite the same.
In the first 11-on-11 work of Tuesday's practice, Drew Lock threw a deep pass to Jeudy in the end zone, but it bounced off the young receiver's hands. A few minutes later, in 7-on-7 action, Lock's attempt to Jeudy was nearly intercepted by Duke Dawson Jr. Later in the session, Jeudy had another Lock pass in his hands but couldn't hold on.
Instead of letting those few plays impact the entire two-hour practice, though, Jeudy came back to make several nice plays. In a later 7-on-7 period, Lock found Jeudy on a deep crossing route, and the rookie caught the pass over his shoulder along the sideline with a defender draped over him. He added a red-zone touchdown as he kept the play alive while Lock scrambled. He was able to throw his feet down just inside the end zone for the score. In 11-on-11 work to end practice, Lock hit Jeudy again for a nice gain.
Jeudy's ability to bounce back may be just as important as his knack for highlight plays. Especially as a rookie, he won't always be perfect. How he responds to adversity, though, could define a game and his season.
In Tuesday's practice, Jeudy certainly proved a couple of poor plays won't come back to haunt him.
OFFENSE IMPROVES LATE
Jeudy wasn't the only player to struggle early. Several offensive players dropped passes, and Lock was a bit inaccurate during some early periods. Bradley Chubb and Alexander Johnson both notched tackles for loss in the opening 11-on-11 period. Johnson tacked on a pass breakup during 7-on-7, and Josey Jewell batted a pass down at the line. During another 11-on-11 period, the offense moved back because of a false start penalty, and Von Miller would've recorded a sack. Miller would've recorded a sack later in practice, too, in a game environment.
The Broncos' offense would gain a bit of momentum late in practice, though, as Lock hit DaeSean Hamilton for a 40-yard touchdown. That play was followed over the rest of practice by a series of highlights that include the crossing route to Jeudy, the touchdown to Jeudy, a touchdown pass to Jake Butt and another over-the-shoulder catch by DaeSean Hamilton.
After practice, Vic Fangio said he was glad to see the offense respond.
"I like to see good, competitive practice, and I think we had that today," Fangio said. "Guys were crisp. They were competing. A lot of good — not over the top — trash talking going on, which I think really brought the level up of practice. I was even tempted there at one point to make one of the drills live, because I think they were ready for it, but I didn't. I thought it was a really, really good practice from an effort standpoint and competitive standpoint."
'HE SHOWS PROGRESS AND HOPE'
After the Broncos featured a rotation at center on Monday, rookie Lloyd Cushenberry III was the featured player with the first-team unit on Tuesday.
Fangio said the Broncos have planned to give him more snaps with the first-team in order to give Cushenberry, Pat Morris and Austin Schlottmann an equal opportunity to win the starting job. Fangio did not give any indication that one player had taken the lead in the competition, but he did say Cushenberry has continued to improve.
"I think he shows progress and hope all the time," Fangio said. "Even when he has bad plays or negative plays, I think they're fixable vs. 'Ah, well, this guy just can't do it. We're hoping into the wind there.' I think he'll eventually be able to do what we want him to do. It's just whether he can do it better than Pat and Austin at this point."
- Justin Simmons added an end-zone pass breakup while working against Hamilton. Lock's pass was nearly intercepted.
- Cody White, a new addition at wide receiver, followed up a series of nice catches on Monday with a diving catch from Jeff Driskel on Tuesday.
- Butt added another red-zone score when Driskel found him the end zone.
- While several players on offense struggled with drops, Courtland Sutton wasn't one of them. He caught everything thrown his way, including a play where he had to reach back for a pass that was thrown behind him.
- Set up in the backfield as a fullback, Andrew Beck made a nice play to clear out a linebacker by the goal line. The hybrid player could help the Broncos as both a blocker and pass-catcher.
- On one of Lock's throws to Jeudy, Chubb tried to trick Garett Bolles by using a delayed rush. Bolles wasn't fooled, and he picked up Chubb to give Lock time to throw.