ENGLEWOOD, Colo.— The Broncos are ready for a break. After five days of training camp, three in pads, the team has their first scheduled off-day of camp tomorrow. At times during practice on Monday, they looked like they need it.
On day No. 5 of training camp the Broncos’ defense was sloppy, players were hurt, and most of the quarterback play was the definition of average. However, as the defending Super Bowl champions inch towards their first preseason game, there was at least one big bright spot. A 6’7″ bright spot, to be exact.
Paxton Keeps Performing
Things just keep trending up for rookie Paxton Lynch in the Broncos’ quarterback competition. He played well once again Monday, just one day removed from the best practice he’s had in an NFL uniform.
In fact, Lynch played so well head coach Gary Kubiak seems to have changed the way he talks about the 22-year-old gunslinger. Instead of the usual ho-hum assessment of Lynch’s play, Kubiak offered some of his highest praise yet for his first-round draft pick.
“I think No. 12 is really, really stepping up,” Kubiak said. “He’s making some progress here…I would say that the young kid has really just gotten better each and every day.”
Kubiak may be heaping so many compliments on Lynch to motivate the other two Broncos’ quarterbacks. Neither Mark Sanchez nor Trevor Siemian had great days on Monday. Sanchez threw another interception in team drills, something he’s done repeatedly in camp. Siemian fumble and has yet to be much more than average. In golf terms, both more veteran quarterbacks seem to be stuck playing even par. They’ll need to start hitting birdies soon.
Sambrailo, Hillman, Walker Sit Out, McGovern Gets Reps
The injury bug has bitten these Broncos. Tackle Ty Sambrailo, running back Ronnie Hillman, and defensive tackle Vance Walker sat out with what Kubiak described as minor injuries.
Hillman was on the field in shorts and a visor after a hit by linebacker Zaire Anderson bent him backwards yesterday.
“He got a little back bruise from his shot from Zaire yesterday,” Kubiak said. “We looked at the big picture and said ‘Well, we got a break day tomorrow so let’s wait to make sure we get them all back Wednesday.”
Defensive lineman Vance Walker sat out with a back injury as well.
“He was out,” Kubiak said. “Vance strained his back a little bit. I think you’ll see him back Wednesday.”
Tackle Ty Sambrailo sat out with an elbow injury he suffered early in yesterday’s practice.
“They put a brace on him and he practiced the whole practice, but it swelled up on him last night,” Kubiak said. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed here and get him back.”
Rookie fifth-round pick Connor McGovern took Sambrailo’s place at right guard with the first team offense. The Broncos drafted the former Missouri Tiger in the fifth round of last April’s NFL draft.
“Anytime you have things like that—a guy misses [practice]—as a coach, sometimes you don’t make the decision that you might make in a game,” Kubiak said. “You say, ‘Hey, I’m in camp. I’ve got four or five weeks here. I don’t want to hurt people, moving them around. The natural thing was for Connor to move up.”
While there may not be a practice tomorrow, players and coaches will still be at the facility.
“It’s really not a day off,” linebacker Von Miller said. “I’m going to get my body back right, get some soft tissue stuff. It’s really not a day off. I’m just trying to keep it going, keep it pushing.
After the off-day, things will get going again at the UC Health Training Center on Wednesday at 9:30 AM. The practice will be free and open to the public.