Top storylines surrounding the Denver Broncos OTAs

By: Jordan Anders

The Denver Broncos organized team practice activities kicked off on May 24th and concluded June 10th in which they spent ten days of no contact 7-on-7, 9-on-9, and 11-on-11 drills. After OTAs, the team will go to a mandatory minicamp next week then head into summer break. The team will then report back to the Broncos facility to start training camp on July 27th to get ready for preseason. Although OTAs don’t show us everything about a player especially when it’s just drills, lots of news has come out surrounding the Broncos defense and quarterback competition after the last two and a half weeks.

Jerry Jeudy and Teddy Bridgewater connection

During OTAs 7-on-7, second-year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seemed to be creating chemistry. They made many great connections during the day and a sideline touchdown against the number 2 defense. After the practice, Jeudy talked very highly of Bridgewater to the media stating, “I feel like he’s a great quarterback, he knows how to anticipate. I feel like he’s good at anticipating where players are going to be. I feel like that’s a good thing he does.”

As a veteran quarterback, it has been said Bridgewater is working better with the young offensive weapons and asking them where they want the ball. Drew Lock is still highly considered starting quarterback this season but Bridgewater is working hard to compete for that job. As we know Drew Lock last season had a 57.3 completion percentage, ranked 35th or dead last amongst other starting quarterbacks. On top of that Jeudy had 14 dropped passes last season, second-most in the NFL, the connection between the two was far from pretty. Seeing Bridgewater and Jeudy make a connection during the 10 days of practice does bring some light into what this offense could look like this year.

Kyle Fuller arrives fashionably late

The Broncos picked up cornerback Kyle Fuller in free agency this off-season to add to their already explosive defense. However, Fuller was a no-call no-show during the two weeks of OTAs and head coach Vic Fangio didn’t have an answer to why he was absent when asked by the media. Although OTAs aren’t mandatory, nearly the entire team was there minus a few due to injury or family emergencies. Kyle Fuller did however show up on Monday to practice in which the defense that day did not disappoint.

Fuller joined alongside Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Bryce Callahan, Patrick Surtain, and Caden Sterns just to name a few, and the defense got two turnovers to start practice. Many are comparing this year’s defense to the 2015 “No Fly Zone” defense Denver built that lead to winning Super Bowl 50. With the addition of two-time pro-bowler Kyle Fuller who previously worked with Vic Fangio in Chicago, Denver already has a top-ranked secondary going into this next season. Vic Fangio talked to the media about Kyle Fuller after his first practice as a Denver Bronco, “He should have a very, very fast learning curve,” Fangio said. “There are some things that we’re doing here that we didn’t do [with the Bears] and some things he hasn’t heard in a couple of years. Overall, it should be about as easy as it can be for a new player.”

Comeback Season for Von Miller and Courtland Sutton in full swing

Pro bowlers Von Miller and Courtland Sutton both made a return to practice after both suffering season-ending injuries at the beginning of last season. Having them back and working with the team is big especially since they are key players on and off the field. Both have stated they aren’t satisfied with their standard return and are aiming higher for their big return to the NFL after a year out. Both Miller and Sutton were coming off of pro bowl seasons before being injured but are looking to be better than their best year.

During OTAs, general manager George Paton sat down with the media and stated, “Von looks like he’s in his prime, you watch him at practice — they run wind sprints — he wins them. He wins them all. He’s 32 years old. He’s a freak, he still looks like it. He can still play, he’s in shape, he’s working hard. I’m excited to see what he can do.” Paton added on about Sutton as well, “Courtland Sutton, I mean, I’ve never seen someone work so hard in rehab,” Paton said. “He’s out there running routes now, he’s almost 100 percent. I felt this team lost a lot when they lost him. On offense, he brings the juice. He’s a competitor. He’s a tough cover. So I think just those two guys and what they bring to the table, that’s a really good start, to get those two guys back.”

The quarterback position still up in the air

Quite frankly the biggest question mark surrounding the Denver Broncos is the quarterback position even though the Broncos have stated multiple time Drew Lock is the guy. They said that and made attempts at Matthew Stafford and almost took Justin Fields in the draft. But with OTAs showing Drew Lock getting the majority of the reps, it’s clear he is the guy. That is until Aaron Rodgers is completely off the table, right?

Although when the media went to sit at OTAs last week they only made sure to report every time Drew Lock threw an interception and not when he connected to his receivers. It wasn’t all ugly or pretty, there is still much work to be put in for Drew to keep the starting quarterback job but he isn’t looking as bad as the media is making it. Bridgewater had a few dropped passes and yet everyone was stuck on Lock. The moral of the story, OTAs were practice without contact, how could you come up with a decision based on those 10 days of practice, you can’t. But you can after minicamp and real mandatory practices start before the first preseason game which is on August 14th against the Minnesota Vikings.

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