Training Camp is HERE!!!!!! The Denver Broncos’ players report for training camp today. I found five players that I think need great camps heading into the 2019 season. Football is finally upon us!
What’s up with Butt?
Let’s time travel back to the 2016 Orange Bowl, Michigan vs. Florida St. It was just starting to catch on that players would skip their respective team’s bowl games. One player who refused was Jake Butt. He immediately made an impact in the game, but horror-struck when he went down in the second quarter. His worst fears were later confirmed when it was announced that he tore his ACL. Fast forward to 2018, and during a walk through early in the season, Butt goes down again with another ACL tear, only months after being cleared.
Fast forward to present-day, and Butt is now in a training camp battle with a very talented group of tight ends. The Broncos re-signed Jeff Heuerman and used their first-round pick on the Iowa phenom, Noah Fant. Butt suddenly finds himself potentially playing for both playing time and a roster spot. The good news? It seems that Butt will be ready to work slowly back to full health in training camp. In a recent interview, Butt said that “I think going into camp I’m going to be doing more team things: 7-on-7 and team drills.” Butt is a super talented player who’s faced some unfortunate circumstances in his last few years.
If he can stay healthy, Butt can be a key contributor for the Broncos in 2019. This is a crucial training camp for Jake Butt, to both get healthy and work his way back to a prominent role.
The Broncos’ Jewell
It’s a new era for the Broncos’ defense. Long-time “Mike” linebacker, Brandon Marshall, is gone and young Josey Jewell is the next man up. The Denver defense is still among the top units in all of football; however, Jewell will need to have a great camp being the quarterback of the defense for Vic Fangio. It will be a brand new defense for Jewell to learn and he will have to be a leader going forward for Denver.
Jewell was an early day three pick in the 2018 draft. In his rookie season, he played in all 16 games, 9 of which he started and racked up an impressive 58 combined tackles for the Broncos. While Jewell doesn’t provide a lot in coverage or as a pass-rushing linebacker, he is a stout run defender and should be able to handle his new role as the leader of the defense well. Pro Football Focus graded Jewell at a respectable 63.1, but he was well above average in run defense and tackling, earning 72.2 and 73.9 respectively.
Training camp will be key for Jewell as he gets comfortable in his new role and learns Fangio’s defense. Look for Jewell to start being a vocal leader for this talented group.
Isaac Yiadom has been a back-up so far in his young career. A well-regarded prospect coming out of the 2018 draft, Yiadom spent most of the 2018 season refining his game. He did start one game against San Francisco, but 2018 wasn’t his season to be a starter. This offseason, John Elway and the Broncos’ front office went out and signed two high profile cornerbacks, Bryce Callahan, and Kareem Jackson.
Yiadom, however, should remain a significant contributor for the Denver defense. Denver fans will see Jackson be used all over the defense. He should see time both inside and outside at corner, as well as at free safety. Because of this, Yiadom may still have a shot at being a starter. If he has a great training camp, Fangio may feel comfortable with him as their second outside corner across from Chris Harris Jr., letting Jackson get more playing time at safety. This would let Fangio get his five best players on the field and allow this talented secondary thrive.
I am very interested to see Yiadom’s progression this training camp and into the preseason. Fangio could have a lot of fun this coming year.
A new leader
This season starts and ends with the success of new signal-caller, Joe Flacco. Denver traded for the Super Bowl MVP this offseason. After the Baltimore offense got stale and he was replaced by rookie Lamar Jackson, Flacco sat on the bench until his season was over. For both Denver and Flacco, 2019 will serve as a fresh start. In Denver, Flacco will have better weapons and a better run game to utilize in an attempt to reboot his career. Elway believes that Flacco is still in his prime; if he is, it may be a fun season for the orange and navy.
Training camp will be crucial for Joe Flacco and the offense. It always is when you’re learning a new offense, but to have a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback, it is especially important. As training camp begins today, look for Flacco to start connecting and gaining trust with his receivers, as well as learning and putting the playbook to work.
2019 is Flacco’s season; a great camp would be an encouraging start and be an indicator of how the season will go.
Franchise left tackle?
Left tackle, Garrett Bolles had a very encouraging end to his 2018 season. He dramatically improved as the season went on and Denver fans are hoping that his progression carries over into training camp. Denver spent a premium pick on Bolles, and his development is crucial to the Broncos’ success. In a run-first, play-action offense, the offensive line will have to keep Flacco clean, and it starts with Bolles.
Mike Munchak should have an instant and profound impact on the Broncos’ offensive line and his influence will have a major effect on Bolles. If Bolles can take the next step for Denver and become a bonafide left tackle, this offense will be in a much better position to thrive.
Training camp starts today as the team reports for their first day. There are a lot of new faces that will enter the building, be it coaches or players. If Denver can help these five players have great camps, 2019 will be a much more prosperous for the Broncos.