ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —The Lombardi Trophy the Broncos won in Super Bowl 50 glistened in the bright light of lobby in the team’s Dove Valley headquarters Wednesday, the first time the trophy has been on display since they opened training camp.
It serves as a reminder to fans and media who visit the facility that the 2015-16 Denver Broncos were among the best teams in NFL history.
However, as day six of Broncos’ training camp wore on, it became more and more clear that the 2016-17 Broncos are a long way from even sniffing the greatness last year’s team achieved.
After having yesterday off, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak had hoped the team would come back onto the practice field ready to play. Instead, they were sloppy, slow, and often flat-out bad.
“We had a day off yesterday, and we didn’t respond very good,” Kubiak said. “Good teams —you get a break day, you come back and you’re bouncing around. We kind of came back lethargic and not practicing very well.”
Paxton Lynch’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
On Monday, Gary Kubiak offered effusive praise for his rookie quarterback.
“Number 12 is really stepping up,” Kubiak said. “He’s making some progress. I think they are all doing a good job. I would say the young kid has just gotten better each and every day.”
That changed on Wednesday.
Lynch looked downright awful during the Broncos’ morning practice session. Not only did he miss throws, he missed badly. Lynch overthrew nearly every receiver he targeted during the team period. Lynch’s poor play frustrated Kubiak, who shouted “You’ve gotta give your team a chance” at the 22-year old.
“It kind of looked like some of the practices he’s had,” Kubiak said. “He gets a day off yesterday, comes back in here and didn’t practice well.”
The young gunslinger did improve as practice went on, however. He drove the third team offense down the field on a long touchdown drive. On that possession, he completed each of his four passes and finished it with a touchdown pass to tight end Henry Kreiger-Coble in the back corner of the end zone.
“That just comes down to the consistency thing,” Lynch said. “I didn’t come out here and have the best practice that I should have had today.”
Veteran Mark Sanchez was about as inconsistent as he’s been all training camp. He fumbled a snap in 7-on-7 drills and went three and out against the third-team defense.
He also got the chance for redemption at the end of practice, leading a long touchdown drive in the final frame.
Trevor Siemian had one of his better days, throwing some great passes downfield for the first time in camp. However, he was the only quarterback to not make an unforced error.
More Injuries Arise
A stretch of minor injuries up and down the Broncos’ roster continued Wednesday. Guard Max Garcia, tackle Ty Sambrailo, tight end John Phillips, receiver Marlon Brown, offensive lineman Sam Brenner, and cornerback Kayvon Webster all sat out of Wednesday’s practice with injuries.
Garcia, Brown, and Webster are new additions to the Broncos’ injury list. Garcia rolled an ankle in yesterday’s walkthrough, Webster suffered a thigh bruise in the second part of Monday’s practice, and Brown has a back injury that is being evaluated.
The ongoing competition for the starting punter’s job between Britton Colquitt and rookie Riley Dixon seems to fairly even at this point.
“They’re obviously two different guys,” Kubiak said. “One is the veteran who had a tremendous season last year, especially late in the year. He was really big for us and had been around the league for a while. The other one is a young, very talented kid with a big leg. There’s competition right there. They both have to hold for [placekicker Brandon] McManus too, so that’s going to be a factor. It’s going to be very competitive. We knew that.”
The Broncos have been trying to replace Colquitt, and his multi-million dollar salary, for several seasons. Dixon gives them the chance to do that and many believe the job is his to lose. However, the Syracuse alum hasn’t been good enough to win the job outright. His first kick of training camp last Friday was shanked straight towards the sideline and he’s been inconsistent since.
The Broncos will get back to work at the UC Health Training Center Thursday morning at 9:30. The practice is free and open to the public.