The Denver Broncos concluded their second fully padded practice on Tuesday at the Centura Health Training Center. Is it normal for the defense to be ahead of the offense this early on in camp? Which player has stepped up into Tim Patrick’s role, and more will be covered in our Day 6 camp recap.

Denver Broncos defense swarms Russell Wilson, offense

The Denver Broncos have returned a large part of their core defense coming into this season and also added a key player on the defensive line.

During Tuesday’s practice, the Broncos’ defense put pressure on Russell Wilson and the offense during the team’s third-down emphasis. Newcomer Zach Allen was a thorn in the side of the offense from a pressure standpoint, using his speed and strength to isolate one on one matchups and at times, freeing up an outside linebacker due to being double-teamed.

Not only did Allen pressure Wilson, but Jonathon Cooper and Nik Bonitto also had several reps where they would have gotten home on the Broncos’ starting quarterback in a real game.

During this part of training camp, it’s typical for defensive units to be ahead of the offense, but it’s worth monitoring how quickly the offense rebounds when they get outmatched during a practice.

Sean Payton is continuing to install the important foundational aspects of how his offense will operate this upcoming season, and considering Tuesday’s practice being the second in pads; it’s understandable to see where they are at right now.

The pass rush forced Wilson into several tough spots on Tuesday, including one play where the pressure came in on Wilson, who attempted to throw it to Courtland Sutton. However, Justin Simmons read the play perfectly, jumped the route, and generated a takeaway.

It’s too early to have concerns about the offense’s struggles on Tuesday, considering it is the second padded practice. However, this is worth revisiting next week as the team prepares for its first NFL Preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Brandon Johnson stepping up after Tim Patrick’s injury

Replacing Tim Patrick and his overall value to the Denver Broncos offensive side of the ball isn’t possible, but supplementing that production with one or two players could help alleviate the blow if the offense gets in rhythm.

On Tuesday, Broncos head coach Sean Payton confirmed Patrick would miss the season with a torn Achilles. Patrick’s injury, combined with KJ Hamler’s medical situation, creates an immediate need for the Broncos’ young role players to step into a bigger position as camp continues.

One player who stood out was former undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Brandon Johnson. Johnson was a training camp stud and preseason standout last year for Denver before he suffered an ankle injury that kept him out of action for the final game of the preseason.

He caught his first career touchdown last year from Russell Wilson and has put in a lot of work behind the scenes this offseason. Earlier in OTAs and minicamp, Johnson filled in for Patrick on offense in his role as the veteran wide receiver began to ease his way back into the swing of things offensively.

Johnson has made several big plays this offseason and has picked up the new offensive scheme relatively quickly, according to Payton.

“He’s had some big plays,” Payton said on Tuesday. “He’s getting more work now with the ones. He can run. All of them, especially on offense, are learning new terminology. He’s picking it up, he’s getting it, and he’s flashed. He’s made some plays, but then he’ll line up two yards too wide and we have to get it corrected. We’re at that point where we keep talking about eliminating the repeated mistakes. [When] we make the corrections, let’s make sure we don’t have to go through that again.”

Payton’s offense demands that receivers have the ability to play all over the field and not just one particular spot. As Johnson continues to grow and gain more experience, he could emerge into a key role player this upcoming season.

Other observations from Day 6 of Denver Broncos Training Camp

  • During the team’s 1-on-1 period on Tuesday — Damarri Mathis had a great play in coverage against Courtland Sutton. Jerry Jeudy won a majority of his matchups during the period.
  • Backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham found Montrell Washington for a wide-open touchdown deep downfield during the team period.
  • Outside linebacker Frank Clark returned to practice but was limited. Third-round rookie cornerback Riley Moss was not spotted on the field for the second consecutive day.
  • As the RB3 competition heats up, Jaleel McLaughlin, Tyler Badie, and Tony Jones Jr. each had an explosive run during the team’s 9-on-7 period and team period.
  • ILB Jonas Griffith left practice with an apparent injury after a special teams drill; he did not return. Sean Payton will provide us with an update whenever the team finds out more.
  • Second-year pass rusher Nik Bonitto continued to have a strong start to training camp after generating various pressures off the edge and disrupting the offense.

Wednesday’s emphasis in practice will feature the first red-zone period for the Denver Broncos so far in camp, according to Payton.