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#BroncosCamp Observations: CB A.J. Bouye shows off takeaway potential

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It didn't take long for A.J. Bouye to make an impact during Friday's Broncos training camp practice.

On the first passing play of 11-on-11 work, Drew Lock targeted Jerry Jeudy, and as Jeudy tried to wrangle the ball by trapping it against his body, Bouye got his hand on the ball. The savvy eighth-year vet was able to dislodge the ball and secure it himself in one smooth motion.

Over the remaining practice reps, Bouye added an end-zone pass breakup against Courtland Sutton and then picked off Lock again during an apparent miscommunication between the quarterback and receiver.

After picking off six passes in 2017, Bouye's play during training camp suggests he could have his hand in several turnovers this fall.

"He's got good instincts," Head Coach Vic Fangio said Friday. "When you couple instincts with experience, you have a chance to be around the ball more often. He's dove himself into learning our system, all the fine points that could help with corner. He's picking them up quickly. He's a good addition. We're really happy to have him both as a player and a person."

THE RIGHT STUFF

Veteran right tackle Demar Dotson, who signed with the Broncos on Aug. 11, has gradually earned more work during practice sessions. On Friday, he joined the first-team offense for the first time in place of Elijah Wilkinson. He received just a few reps, and Fangio made it clear that Wilkinson remains the Broncos' top option at the position.

"He does, but it's up to Elijah to lose it, too," said Fangio when asked if Dotson could win the starting job. "As long as Elijah is playing the way we think he's capable of playing, he'll be the right tackle. If he's struggling, then we have Demar there to replace him with."

RUNNING HARD

Fangio has been complimentary of third-year running back Royce Freeman in recent days, and the Oregon product made several nice plays again on Friday. Early in 11-on-11 work, Freeman used his solid frame to bully his way through a gap and then showed speed to pick up extra yards.

"I see good work," Fangio said. "He's an NFL-quality back. He deserves to be on our team. We're blessed to have three good NFL-quality backs here and a rookie who's doing well too [in LeVante Bellamy]."

HEADING TO EMPOWER FIELD AT MILE HIGH

The Broncos won't be back on the UCHealth Training Center grass for practice until Monday, as they'll head to Empower Field at Mile High on Saturday to practice at the team's stadium. 

Fangio said the team would make the practice "as game-like as we can," which means implementing pregame warmups, kickoffs and a halftime break. The coaching staff will control the down and distance at times to practice different situations, but Fangio hopes to simulate a game experience.

"I think it's valuable from a lot of different small areas," Fangio said. "One, we have guys that have never been in that stadium. That's going to be good for them. Even the guys that have been in the stadium, it's always good to go back down there and be in your stadium. It's good to intermix the kicking game plays as they would happen in a game. We do that during practice in the season with field goals, but we're going to try and do it with everybody. The substitution process with guys getting in and out will be good to practice. … I'm not sure what the crowd noise rules are. I'm hearing different things, but whatever they are, we're going to have the crowd noise in there that I think you're going to be allowed to use for stadiums that have no fans. Obviously, we're doing it so our offense will experience it in the stadiums that we're playing in with no fans. Then the defense will be able to experience the noise we'll use at home games. There're a lot of little crumbs that I think make it worthwhile. After it, if we feel we need to go down there and do it again to some degree before Tennessee, we'll do it again."

QUICK HITS

  • During 7-on-7 work, Lock threw a pass of at least 40 yards to Albert Okwuegbunam, who showed great concentration to make the catch as Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson converged on him. Okwuegbunam later added a touchdown grab.
  • Dre'Mont Jones recorded a tackle for loss against Freeman in 11-on-11 action.
  • Lock's best throw of the day may have come on the run during 11-on-11 work when he found Jerry Jeudy near the sideline.
  • Troy Fumagalli saw extensive work Friday and caught a red-zone pass that was thrown a bit behind him.
  • Bryce Callahan provided good coverage in red-zone work to force an incompletion as Lock looked for Jeudy.
  • DaeSean Hamilton continued to impress, as he made a pair of catches during a move-the-ball period.
  • Von Miller would've recorded at least one strip sack if Friday's action were a game, and he also provided pressure to force a fourth-down incompletion.
  • Kareem Jackson added a pass breakup during an 11-on-11 period.
  • Lloyd Cushenberry III continued to push for a starting job, as he again took reps with the starting unit.
  • Sixth-round pick Netane Muti briefly saw some action alongside Garett Bolles and Cushenberry during a series of pass-rush drills.
  • WR Tim Patrick, DL Mike Purcell, CB De'Vante Bausby and OLB Malik Carney returned to practice Friday after missing the team's previous two sessions with injuries.

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