ENGLEWOOD, Colo.** – The Broncos' preseason opener at Seattle last Friday revealed strengths and highlighted areas of growth for the team moving forward.
One unit in particular that showed an opportunity for improvement was Denver's special teams. But that's what the preseason is for, says last year's special teams captain, safety David Bruton Jr.
"It's a learning experience for us as a unit. We have a lot of young guys out there," Bruton said. "A lot of guys, [it was their] first time under the lights against a good team — a team that's been in the Super Bowl two years running. We just have a lot of corrections that we have to make…"
Against the Seahawks, the Broncos allowed rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett to take a kickoff from Connor Barth in the second quarter 103-yards to the house after a 46-yard return in the first frame. On the day, Denver allowed Seattle 236 kick-return yards, with Lockett racking-up 186 yards on his own.
"I like teachable moments, just not that teachable," said Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis. "We knew Lockett was a heck of a returner. We knew that going in, but it all starts with the kick. You have to put the ball in manageable space. We didn't do that a couple times. You have to get off blocks and make the tackle. We didn't do that. It's an emphasis this week and we'll do better this week."
Bruton, a seven-year veteran, understands how the Seattle game affects the spirits of the young players on the roster, but he knows that this is the time to learn from mistakes.
"They know how bad a touchdown can hurt and I told a lot of the young guys, it's better to happen in the first preseason game," Bruton said. "We're going to make leaps and bounds [in] this second one and keep making progress throughout the preseason and come regular season, we're going to be locked, loaded and ready."
As the Broncos continue preparations for their contest this Saturday in Houston against the Texans, Bruton says the team has been working closely with DeCamillis to correct mistakes. "We game plan all the time," Bruton said. "It's not just 'Go out there and run and try to hit somebody.' There [are] schemes that you have to know, there's certain guys that you have to try to eliminate and you pick up tendencies just like on offense and defense. We've just got to hit the film study a little harder, not just our opponents, but ourselves and learn from that."