Day 2 of Denver Broncos minicamp is approaching in just a few hours, but Bo Nix and Jarrett Stidham have been the headliners of the QB position and ongoing competition for the starting job this fall. How did the two QBs look on Tuesday?

Jarrett Stidham steady in Denver Broncos QB race

During Tuesday’s opening practice for mandatory minicamp, Jarrett Stidham had his day running with the first team. His first action came in 7-on-7, where he received four reps.

Early on he connected with Jaleel McLaughlin out of the backfield. His second rep was a coverage sack. He found undrafted rookie tight end Thomas Yassmin for a five or six-yard catch before finalizing his series with a competition to Tyler Badie.

In the Broncos’ first team period of the afternoon, Stidham found Javonte Williams out of the backfield for a big gain. On one play, Nik Bonitto burst off the right side for what would have been a sack in a padded game simulation.

Stidham still threw a pass on the play to Lil’Jordan Humphrey, but Patrick Surtain II came up and knocked it away.

His second team-period series saw better production all around, connecting with Tim Patrick on one play and Marvin Mims on a 20+ yard catch and run.

His favorite targets on the afternoon were mainly running backs, with seven of his 12 passes going to rushers.

Broncos head coach Sean Payton touched on Stidham following Tuesday’s practice.

“He’s doing well,” Payton noted. “Clearly, within the framework within what we’re doing, he is much further along than in Year 1 in the transition. I’d say he’s looked really sharp during this offseason program. [He is] real decisive. I think the leadership he is able to provide there, and there’s good competition.”

Bo Nix decisive and sharp with his reps

One thing Payton wanted more out of the QB position last year was quicker decisions and efficiency passing the football. We’ve seen a lot of that from Bo Nix this offseason.

In Tuesday’s practice, Nix was receiving reps with the third-team offense. From 7-on-7 to the Broncos team period, Nix continued to get the ball out of his hands quickly and his placement on some tough throws was notable.

In particular, during the 7-on-7 Nix connected with David Sills, Brandon Johnson, Josh Reynolds, and Troy Franklin to go 4-for-4 during that period.

Nix’s pass to Franklin was impressive because he placed it perfectly to the outside with some zip on it, countering really good coverage from second-year cornerback Art Green. His pass to Reynolds led him perfectly in stride across the middle of the field.

Once the Broncos transitioned into their team period, Nix’s first session saw him process going through his reads quickly. His first two options were covered by the defense, but he quickly transitioned to his next read, which saw him find Tim Patrick for a catch and gain that would have moved the chains.

During Denver’s second team period, the Broncos rookie QB connected with Michael Bandy, who has turned in an under-the-radar offseason so far, and fellow rookie Devaughn Vele.

Nix’s only incomplete pass of the day came in the third team period, where he and Phillip Dorsett appeared to miscommunicate the route. To close out practice, Nix rolled across his right and uncorked a pass downfield to try out wide receiver Ra’Shaun Henry for a 30+ yard gain.

Ultimately, what stood out the most about Nix was that there didn’t seem to be any hesitation at all from him from the snap to throw in terms of where he was going with the football and his placement was where it needed to be.

So when will Payton announce a timeline for the starting QB job?

“Fair question,” Payton told us yesterday. “I still think we always talk about the locker room and the players in the locker room. I think when we get into training camp and when we get into the preseason games, I think oftentimes the decisions take care of themselves. But the object is to win. I understand the question, but in our league it’s year-to-year. We’re competing to win this year, and we’re going to make the right decision relative to who gives us that opportunity. I think not only at quarterback, the thing I see different this offseason is in the secondary, in the receiver group… There is a lot of competition for jobs and playing time. That’s encouraging, and I think you guys who follow and who watched these [practices] a year ago, maybe you see something that’s different. Certainly I feel like it’s been different.”

When it comes to Nix, Stidham, and even Zach Wilson, Payton will have to make sure his decision is the right one for the immediate future and beyond 2024. Right now, it only appears that Stidham and Nix are serious frontrunners for the job.