2022 Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 7 news and notes

The Broncos hit the one-week mark in Training Camp and things are starting to come together. Today’s practice was an easy, half-speed/walkthrough practice before tomorrow’s second padded practice of camp.

Today we have how the Broncos went about replacing Tim Patrick’s role in this offense, Muti splitting reps with Risner, Dulcich, and Hamler getting team reps for the first time, news and notes, injury updates, and more.

Replacing Tim Patrick

With this being the first practice without Tim Patrick after the veteran receiver, unfortunately, tore his ACL in practice, we got a glimpse into how the Broncos plan on moving forward.

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett was asked if it will take the rest of the receiving core room to replace Patrick’s role, especially in the red zone. He replied by saying this was an “opportunity for someone to step up” and fill that role, specifically in the red zone.

“It’s going to have to be. We are obviously very upset he’s not here, but now, here’s an opportunity for somebody to step up—especially in the red zone—to have the opportunity to be able to make some touchdowns and utilize some different people. That’s what we’re going to have to do. In that area, you always want everybody to have to cover the whole field and all the skill guys. It will be exciting to see who is going to step up. Somebody is going to have to.”

Today, the 2021 sixth-round selection, wide receiver Seth Williams was given the first shot at replacing Patrick’s spot on offense. With Kendall Hinton and Tyrie Cleveland sidelined with injuries, he earned some first-team reps with QB Russell Wilson. The 6’3” wide receiver is the biggest receiver on the roster not named Courtland Sutton, so he could potentially fill that big body role. However, look for multiple receivers, and even tight ends to get that shot as we move through camp and the preseason.

Speaking of the tight ends, Hackett was asked if their roles would change now that Patrick is out. He said that the tight ends they have on the roster will give defenses issues because of their size and speed and can be weapons within the red zone.

“It’s going to have to be. We are obviously very upset he’s not here, but now, here’s an opportunity for somebody to step up—especially in the red zone—to have the opportunity to be able to make some touchdowns and utilize some different people. That’s what we’re going to have to do. In that area, you always want everybody to have to cover the whole field and all the skill guys. It will be exciting to see who is going to step up. Somebody is going to have to.”

Albert O. and rookie Greg Dulcich have the size and speed to line up outside and use their size to win matchups against corners. They also have the athleticism advantage to beat out linebackers and safeties as well. So, look for these two athletic tight ends to be utilized a good bit, especially in the red zone.

Muti is splitting reps with Risner

Earlier in Training Camp, the reserve guard was splitting reps and pushing for the right guard spot with Quinn Meinerz. However, that battle quickly ended and Meinerz has been taking all the reps at that spot. Now today, Muti started rotating with left guard Dalton Risner at the left guard position.

Hackett was asked about this after practice and he said it was simply to get players snaps in other spots along the line.

“Everybody needs to work with everybody. We are going to need all the guys. [G] Dalton [Risner] has done an absolutely incredible job. He’s been a guy that has come out there as a leader. He’s been great just from flying into the run game to pass protection. Those guys have done a really fine job, and in the end, everybody has to be ready to play every position. [G] [Netane] Muti has been playing right. We have tried to get as many guys in there as we can because you have to prepared for everything. That’s our job as coaches. As much as they can play with different sides, different players, different calls—all those things are so imperative to be able to be successful throughout the season.”

Now, with Muti getting some first-team reps, there is a chance he could start pushing Risner for a starting job. Let’s face it, Risner hasn’t been great since his rookie season, and although and switch back to a zone-blocking scheme could benefit him, there is a chance Muti could push for a starting job.

Muti is as strong as they get and has the short area quickness to be a bulldozer along the line and open up big running lanes for the Broncos’ backs.

So, watching how this develops as we move throughout camp and the preseason will be interesting. It is Risner’s job to lose, but we have a long way to go.

Dulcich and Hamler get team reps

In some good injury news, during today’s walk-through practice, WR KJ Hamler was taking team drill snaps for the first-time while rookie tight end Greg Dulcich was doing so as well. This was a non-padded, half-speed practice, but still encourages to see as both explosive playmakers are getting closer to 100%.

With Tim Patrick out for the season, getting KJ Hamler back healthy and starting to see what the rookie Dulcich can do is pretty important. Hamler is now your third receiver and will see an increase in snaps moving forward. So, Dulcich was drafted for a reason. He’s a highly athletic tight end who has the skill set to contribute right away, especially in two tight end sets.

Hamler has excellent speed and should be on the receiving end of multiple bombs from Russell Wilson this season. I thought he would only play sparingly and in certain packages, but now, he’s your third receiver. As for Dulcich, he can be a weapon in the red zone. The size, speed, and length make him a matchup nightmare and a chess piece for Nathaniel Hackett in his offense.

After a day of some demoralizing bad news on the injury front, it was nice to get some good news today.

News and Notes

Injury report

  • EDGE Randy Gregory and OT Billy Turner remained on the PUP
  • WR Tim Patrick and RB Damarea Crockett were not at practice because of a torn ACL
  • WR Kendall Hinton did not participate in practice
  • WR Tyrie Cleveland continued to sit out practice because of a throat injury
  • OT Tom Compton continued to miss practice after undergoing a back procedure
  • NT DJ Jones missed his second practice with a minor back injury

Tweets from practice

Quotes from practice

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on T Calvin Anderson and his progression

“He’s another guy that’s been able to really show off his athleticism. you see it We had a couple play yesterday that were absolutely phenomenal. A lot of it—[T] Calvin [Anderson] was at the point of attack. I think that anytime things like this happen, it gives somebody an opportunity to get all those reps, like you said. He’s developing and he’s learning and he’s buying in. I really appreciate everything he’s been doing.”

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on what he sees from WR Montrell Washington

“First and foremost, from his character and as a person walking into the building—he’s awesome. When you see him, he’s always got a huge smile on his face. He’s so happy to be here. Then his work ethics. The guy runs all day. When he catches a punt, he’s taking it to the house. I mean, he runs and runs. It’s great to see. He’s just a sponge right now. There is so much, and you want to throw as much as you can at him to see what he can do. When you’re out at practice watching him out on the field making plays, that’s what is exciting for a coach. You do all that stuff in the meeting room—you talk about him, you give him so much, and then all of a sudden, he started making a couple plays down the field here and there and that’s what gets you excited. His work ethics and his smile have been great.”

Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on if he has established how the joint practice with the Cowboys will be structured

“Yes. I’ve talked to [Head] Coach [Mike] McCarthy. I’ve known him my whole life. I’m so excited for you to come in here. Great friend, great family friend. I have known him forever. We’ve been talking quite a bit. We want to make sure it’s a great practice, just a lot like what we’re doing here. The brilliance of that is you get to see somebody different, and you get to see a defensive look that’s different. We’ve been going against these guys over and over and over again and we just want to see a different font structure and different coverage aspects from that standpoint. I’m excited about it and it’ll be a great practice.”

Tight End Albert O. on if he believes he has improved as a blocker

“I feel like that’s a part of my game that I’m improving on every day. Definitely, I’ve come a long way since my rookie year, but [I’m] still chasing that unachievable perfect. It’s good, but I always want to get better at all aspects.”

Edge rusher Malik Reed on OLB Baron Browning’s improvement in the midst of transitioning to a new position

“He’s been doing a great job and he’s taken it in stride. That’s a credit to [OLB] baron [Browning] and the type of person he is to just go in [with his] head down and keep working to try to figure out a way to keep his game going and get better.”

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