The Denver Broncos were in full pads for Tuesday’s Centura Health Training Center practice as head coach Sean Payton’s continued emphasis on creating a real game-like simulation was displayed throughout various periods.

Denver Broncos offense overcomes pressure in key moments on Tuesday

Everything Sean Payton does in practice stresses the importance of simulating reps in various team periods that challenge both sides of the ball as if it were a game.

During Denver’s move-the-ball period on Tuesday, the Broncos’ defense sent pressure at Russell Wilson and the offense, but the offense held their ground, even converting on two fourth-down plays.

Wilson connected with various receivers, including tight end Greg Dulcich and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy that helped set up a 59-yard field goal by Brett Maher with four seconds remaining that helped the offense succeed during their ‘need a field goal’ drive.

Denver’s defense sent various pressure looks from Frank Clark, Randy Gregory, and Jonathon Cooper that forced the Broncos offense to diagnose where the pressure was coming from and get the ball out quickly to receiving targets.

“The end of that drill you just saw, was the offense needing a field goal,” Payton said. “When you cross the 50 [yard line], the likelihood that you’re going to get pressure rises, especially when you’re defending a field goal. It’s really good. You have to think quickly, get to your protections, and be able to handle the pressure and get the ball out.”

After encountering significant pressure in Friday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Payton made sure the offense felt pressure once again in a pivotal period that will hopefully help them make the necessary adjustments in a real-game environment.

P.J. Locke exits with injury, carted off

The Denver Broncos safety room was dealt a blow during Tuesday’s practice after P.J. Locke was carted to the locker room after suffering a lower leg injury during the team’s competitive goal-line period.

Despite being carted off, Broncos head coach Sean Payton said Locke is “going to be fine,” which is a breath of fresh air for the secondary and special teams.

Justin Simmons continues progressing in his recovery as he returns from a groin injury. Kareem Jackson didn’t practice on Tuesday due to having a veterans day off.

Caden Sterns appears to be working through something injury-wise as he returned to the practice field in a limited capacity but didn’t participate in team drills.

Locke’s injury forced safeties Devon Key and Delarrin Turner-Yell to see more time on the defensive side of the ball. If Locke misses any time, Turner-Yell would likely be the next defensive player up in the rotation while still maintaining a key role on special teams.

Broncos release Elliott Fry, sign long-snapper to roster

Despite making a 55-yard field goal in Friday’s preseason loss, the Denver Broncos moved on from kicker Elliott Fry with a waived/injured designation.

The move makes Brett Maher the sole kicker on the current roster, but that doesn’t indicate he won the job.

“With [K] Elliott [Fry], it was just a pull,” Payton said following practice. “It’s nothing significant. We’ll go day-to-day with where we’re at with the kickers. I’ve said this to you guys before. [K] Brett [Maher] had a good day today. He’s competing. He’s competing with himself because he’s got 31 other teams. There are probably seven teams that have a real kicking battle, so he’s competing with those guys that come out of those clubs. That doesn’t discount us, possibly, if we wanted to bring in another player.”

In a corresponding move, the team signed former UCLA Bruins long-snapper Jack Landherr to compete with Mitchell Fraboni. Landherr played four seasons at UCLA.

Unless Denver makes another roster move this week, it appears Landherr and Fraboni will exchange reps in Saturday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Other Denver Broncos news and notes

After having various players work on the side field during Monday’s practice, which player’s statuses changed, and what were some other key observations from Tuesday?

Broncos injury report

Did Not Participate:

  • Cornerback K’Waun Williams (ankle)
  • Outside linebacker Nik Bonitto (hip)
  • Safety Justin Simmons (groin)
  • Safety Kareem Jackson (veteran day off)
  • Defensive lineman Mike Purcell
  • Outside linebacker Baron Browning (knee)
  • Wide receiver Brandon Johnson (ankle)
  • Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (knee)

Other notes and observations

  • Two players not spotted at practice were tight end Tommy Hudson and defensive lineman Forrest Merrill. There was no update from Sean Payton about their practice status.
  • During the Broncos’ first team period of the day, Russell Wilson connected with Greg Dulcich for a big gain downfield.
  • Samaje Perine had a few big runs on the day in team period, including catching a touchdown pass from Wilson in the red zone.
  • Undrafted rookie free agent rusher Jaleel McLaughlin continues to display his impressive speed and ball-carrier vision throughout practice.
  • Wide receiver Marquez Callaway hauled in a touchdown pass from Jarrett Stidham during the Broncos team period.
  • Newcomer wide receiver J.J. Koski caught a touchdown pass from Ben DiNucci during practice.
  • Essang Bassey has continued to grow in his role as a player who can play in multiple positions, including outside cornerback, inside the nickel, and safety.