The Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams conducted their first joint practice together on Wednesday at the Centura Health Training Center.

Denver Broncos Los Angeles Rams turn in competitive periods

With 90 players on both rosters, the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams split up their offense and defense on two different fields, with nearly every period having a competitive element to it.

Russell Wilson and the Broncos’ offense had various periods against the Rams’ defense, while Patrick Surtain and the Broncos’ defense faced off against Matthew Stafford and the Rams’ offense.

Denver Broncos special teams period provided efficient work

Riley Dixon impressed during the Broncos/Rams special teams period.

During the Broncos’ punting period, Dixon was booming kicks at altitude. He had at least two punts that traveled 60+ yards. Denver’s punt return unit had several reps where their rush nearly resulted in two blocks, but the Rams got it off in time.

Rookie receiver Marvin Mims and second-year receiver Montrell Washington each exchanged snaps receiving punts. Hood, Bassey, and McMillian were impressive at stopping the Rams’ gunners during kick coverage.

In a real-game scenario, Cornerback Tremon Smith had several reps as a gunner where he got downfield and would have had a tackle on the returner.

Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford provide Denver Broncos defense with good test

Injuries to Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford changed the Rams’ season last year.

With both players healthy and back in the mix for the Rams’ offense, they gave the Broncos’ defense a solid test during Wednesday’s practice.

Rams head coach Sean McVay schematically placed Kupp in a role where he never got the chance to have a one-on-one matchup against Patrick Surtain. Kupp was occasionally used in motion or as the third receiver in a trips formation.

Stafford had moments against Denver’s defense where he eluded pressure and connected on some off-schedule throws. While they got some of their licks in, the Broncos’ defense also got theirs in occasionally.

Outside linebacker Randy Gregory had a few reps where he bull-rushed the Rams’ right tackle and forced Stafford to quickly get the ball out of his hands.

It wasn’t the cleanest day for Denver defensively, but both units traded barbs during the afternoon.

Russell Wilson, Broncos offense gets high volume reps on Wednesday

One of the benefits of a joint practice for any team is the ability to get in a high volume of reps against another opponent. Denver’s offense saw a large volume of reps against the Rams’ defense, which head coach Sean Payton said was valuable for them.

With starters more than likely not set to play vs. the Rams on Saturday, getting reps against their first-team defense is a mini-version of a preseason game. Speculatively, the Broncos offense and Wilson got more overall reps during practice than they normally would have during a real game.

“It’s not what I’m hoping to see on film today, it’s what I’m hoping to see tomorrow with the corrections,” Payton said. “I thought on the offensive field where I was, we had too many false starts. I thought we tired pretty quickly. They were [playing] a lot of plays, relative to maybe what they’re used to, and even more than what a real game would present. I think it’s good from a conditioning standpoint. Mentally, there’s some mental toughness that’s required to play—poise. All those things are required, not only to play, but to play well and to win. Those challenges came up a little bit. We’ll watch those on tape. The key is making the corrections, and hopefully not having to see the same mistake from the same player again.”

Kendall Hinton, Nate Adkins, and Adam Trautman contributed in Denver’s passing game. Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine got reps in the run game, with Tony Jones Jr. pitching in.

Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey saw some action during the team’s competitive 11-on-11 period after returning to practice yesterday. He had one play during Wednesday’s practice where he buried a Rams offensive lineman during a Javonte Williams rush.

Denver Broncos news and notes

  • The Broncos signed former San Francisco 49ers DL Tomasi Laulile and released long-snapper Jack Landherr IV.
  • Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam hauled in two touchdown passes on the day from quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
    • “He has,” Payton said regarding Okwuegbunam having a good week of practice. “I thought he had a good week last week. He had one of his better weeks, so hopefully we can continue that trend.”

  • Undrafted rookie offensive tackle Alex Palczewski has been performing well at camp and receiving increased reps on the offensive line.
    • “[He’s] tough and smart,” Payton said. “He’s played a lot of football. It’s not always pretty, but there is this quality of ‘he gets the job done.’ I said this at the beginning of camp: after the draft, I thought we did a good job in that two-hour period of signing free agents. Sometimes offensive linemen are hard to get. We were able to sign a pretty good class of undrafted offensive linemen that has helped us and will help us, not only this year, but in the future. I’m encouraged.”
  • On Wednesday, Randy Gradishar, former Denver Broncos linebacker, was selected as a senior finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

What’s next?
The Denver Broncos will conclude their joint practice with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday.