The Denver Broncos hosted the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday at the UCHealth Training Center to conclude training camp.
How did the Broncos do on offense and defense against the visiting Cowboys?
Denver Broncos offense cooks vs Cowboys defense
Led by Russell Wilson, the Broncos’ offense cooked against Micah Parsons and the Cowboys’ defense.
Early on, Javonte Williams demonstrated his vision with several impressive runs in space, including one run that saw him cut back untouched down the right sideline, stiff-arming a defender in the process.
Williams’ display on Thursday was a positive sign despite veteran rusher Melvin Gordon missing practice with a foot injury.
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett shared an update on the status of Gordon.
“Yeah, so he’s just got a foot contusion, right now,” Hackett said. “We just kind of evaluated him. We didn’t know what was going on, we just wanted to make sure we’re good. It’s just a contusion, we’re just being smart with him.”
During practice, Wilson connected with Kendall Hinton twice for a touchdown and Albert Okwuegbunam who made a spectacular one-handed grab.
Hackett believed that the Broncos benefitted from today’s practice.
“I’ll tell you, it started off hot,” Hackett said after Thursday’s practice. “It felt like we had a bunch of good plays early and then kind of focused a little bit more on the run game, got some runs going. We want to be able to look at this front on how we are going to run because we just don’t get enough of that action during the week. It seemed like it was good. I wish the two-minute would have been better. The redzone seemed like it went really well. I thought the guys had a couple [touchdowns], that was really great. But overall, when you come out without any injury and you can go get somebody else and get good work, it always feels great.”
The true test will come during Saturday’s preseason opener.
Quarterback competition in Denver?
The Broncos’ clear-cut starter at quarterback is solidified, however, the backup job behind Russell Wilson is up for grabs.
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett mentioned that Josh Johnson and Brett Rypien are competing with one another for the backup job.
“I think a guy like [QB] Josh [Johnson], a guy like ‘Ryp’ (QB Brett Rypien), it’s a great competition right now between both those guys,” Hackett said after Thursday’s joint practice. “They had a great play—who threw the go on the side? I didn’t even see. Was that ‘Ryp’ or was that Josh? That was awesome. To those kinds of things—both of those guys go back and forth. For us, it’s going to be about that consistency. Getting those completions, making the right decisions, keeping the chains moving and taking the shots when you have those. I think they have both shown they can do that. It’s now about doing it consistently as we move into these preseason games.”
Throughout training camp, Rypien and Johnson have each had their fair share of highs and lows, but the competition has been pretty even.
During Thursday’s practice with the Cowboys, Rypien connected on a deep ball with undrafted rookie wide receiver Jalen Virgil.
Not only are the two quarterbacks competing, but they are also helping the Broncos receiver room compete for a roster spot.
Denver Broncos defense shines with Nik Bonitto and Bradley Chubb
The Broncos’ offense has struggled throughout various moments of training camp against the defense, but the Dallas Cowboys ran into the same issue.
Perhaps the defense has been that good this offseason, making the offense even better.
On Thursday, the defense let loose all of their aggression on Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) August 11, 2022
The Broncos’ front seven consisting of Bradley Chubb, Malik Reed, Dre’Mont Jones, DeShawn Williams, Mike Purcell, Josey Jewell, and Jonas Griffith got after the Cowboys’ offense.
Chubb consistently dominated the Cowboys’ left tackle getting near Prescott consistently throughout the day.
On the other hand, Broncos rookie pass rusher Nik Bonitto had himself a day.
He was named Mile High Sports’ defensive player of the day after what would have been a four-sack performance.
Two sacks would have come against Dak Prescott and two came against Cooper Rush.
Bonitto’s strength and elusiveness were on display against Dallas’ right tackle.
Other Denver Broncos news and notes
Shortly before Thursday’s practice, the Broncos named Damani Leech as the organization’s Team President.
Leech brings extensive experience to the team, previously serving as the Chief Operating Officer of NFL International for the last three years.
He’ll report directly to Greg Penner in his day-to-day.
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett shared his thoughts on the team’s announcement after practice.
“I think it’s great,” Hackett said. “I had the opportunity to be able to talk with him last night, as that stuff has come to fruition, and he seems like an amazing man. I’m very excited to work with him. Just like you said, to have somebody that has been in this game, that has played, is so interesting and so great. It’s just so insightful. To have a guy like him is going to be very good for all of us. I’m very excited to work with him.”
The Broncos approach a new era under the ownership of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership group, a new head coach, and Russell Wilson under center.
As Wilson says, “Let’s Ride.”
The Broncos will have the day off on Friday ahead of their preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM MT at Empower Field at Mile High.