The Denver Broncos continued mandatory minicamp Wednesday at UCHealth Training Center. They have gone through rookie minicamp and voluntary OTAs, and this is the final step before the team breaks before the start of training camp in late July.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph was all smiles when talking about the team’s Day 2 performance.
“The offense had a great day. They scored four touchdowns in the red zone. That’s our goal,” Joseph said. “Defensively, it’s tough because it’s not live bullets, but the routes, concepts, and the throws were pretty good by the offense. That was fun to see.”
Here are the three biggest observations from Day 2:
Trevor Siemian strikes back
For two consecutive practices (open to the media) heading into Wednesday, Paxton Lynch had been the better quarterback. Wednesday, it was Trevor Siemian who won the day.
While Lynch was up and down with his performance, Siemian was steady in his reads and throws. He was accurate on underneath routes and did a good job of leading his receivers correctly to maximize the yards after the catch.
Siemian doesn’t take many shots downfield, but he did show on Wednesday the ability to move the chains by making quick decisions and accurate passes.
Lynch threw an interception in the end zone while trying to get the ball to tight end Jeff Heuerman. Free safety Justin Simmons made an amazing play near the sideline in the end zone to get the pick.
While Lynch was making mistakes like that, Siemian’s day was clear of interceptions.
However, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said he likes the mental toughness Lynch has shown through his mistakes in practice.
“There’s going to be a play where you get beat, and you’ve got to respond to it. You saw that yesterday in practice. We threw an interception, and then we threw a big play that probably was a touchdown,” McCoy said.
Lynch had the interception, but it didn’t seem to send him into a shell in practice.
“That’s what you want all the players to do. You want them to respond and fight through the adversity,” McCoy said. “There’s going to be some adversity during the year. It’s not always going to go your way, but you’ve just got to keep plugging away.”
After two days of mandatory minicamp, there has been one day for Lynch and one day for Siemian. This open competition looks closer than ever heading toward training camp later this year.
C.J. Anderson, the Broncos star of the day
The Denver offense put up another fight against the defense Wednesday. A large part of its success came when running back C.J. Anderson had the ball in his hands.
As a runner, Anderson broke off big runs through large holes. The offensive line gave him a lane, and he quickly and swiftly ran through before defenders could respond.
As a receiver, Anderson was used on multiple types of routes. He cleanly caught passes away from his body, quickly tucking the ball into his midsection to gash the defense for yards after the catch.
Joseph said a strong running game is key for the offense to succeed in 2017.
“Until we protect better and run the football better, it won’t matter who the quarterbacks are. Those two things have to happen first. We do that, whoever plays is going to have success,” Joseph said.
“With that being said, with (Ronald) Leary and (Menelik) Watson on the right side, that’s two big men. Along with Virgil (Green) as a blocking tight end, that’s going to be formidable.”
Anderson has put together some highly productive stretches during his pro career. In 2017, it’s not just about being out there for 16 games during the regular season. Anderson needs to stay healthy and produce at a high level in what should be a featured role in the Broncos offense.
An improved Adam Gotsis
The offseason clues are adding up positively for second-year defensive end Adam Gotsis. Last season, Gotsis didn’t produce as a rookie and often looked outmatched on the football field.
Too many times Gotsis would be locked into the one-on-one battle instead of shedding his man and getting to the play. This offseason, Gotsis doesn’t spend as much time battling in the trenches.
He’s shown great awareness as the play breaks down, and it seems like every day he’s batting a pass down at the line of scrimmage.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods said it’s almost as if Gotsis is a whole new person this season.
“They say it takes you a year to get back to yourself coming off of an ACL injury. Last year when he came in, he was coming off that ACL, and I don’t feel like he had the opportunity to train physically in the offseason and get prepared for his rookie season,” Woods said.
“When you look at him now, he looks like a new person. I watch him through drills. He has great athleticism for his size, and he’s built like a superhero. He’s doing great things for us right now.”
The Broncos will likely use a rotation on the defensive line, and Gotsis could play a larger role in that rotation than some think.
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