P.J. Locke, Denver Broncos defense shine on Day 1 of training camp

NFL: Denver Broncos Training Camp
Jul 27, 2022; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) greets cornerback Damarri Mathis (27) during training camp at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On the first day of training camp for the Denver Broncos, the energy level was back with a roaring fanbase and a swarming defense.

Here’s everything Broncos Country needs to know about Day 1 in Dove Valley:

P.J. Locke shines in the first practice of training camp

The Broncos defense kicked off training camp with an impressive day, swarming around the field and making plays against the first team defense and other units.

Broncos safety P.J. Locke stood out on the backend of the secondary during the team period which included some red zone work.

The third-year safety out of Texas made some great plays breaking on the football and preventing two touchdowns during the red zone defensive period.

“A lot of my offseason training was dedicated to what was in the playbook,” Locke said after practice. “I’m just putting myself in position if I get certain [route] concepts, reading the quarterback and breaking on it.”

Locke’s journey with the Broncos has been impressive as he’s grown into a captain-like player on special teams, playing 83% of the unit’s snaps last season.

Now, he’s in a prime position to contribute at safety and as a dime slot.

“Honestly it feels like home because I played predominantly nickel in college,” Locke said after practice. “I didn’t play much safety. I didn’t transition to safety until I got to the league. It feels second nature to me, and I learned a lot from Caden Sterns who played a lot there last year.”

Locke is a player to watch once again on Day 2 of Broncos Camp.

Other Denver Broncos Training Camp Notes

Prior to practice kicking off, the Broncos announced that they signed veteran offensive tackle Cam Fleming, and waived undrafted free agent linebacker Kadofi Wright.

Fleming’s signing comes at a good time with Billy Turner on the PUP list.

Calvin Anderson received a majority share of the first team reps at right tackle during the first day. Broncos Country should expect him to continue to get a majority of the reps with Turner out.

Back to the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos’ edge rushers also looked good on day one.

Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed worked with the first team defense. Baron Browning and Nik Bonitto ran with the second team defense.

Both Chubb and Reed had plays in particular against Russell Wilson and the first team offense.

For Chubb, he attacked the outside edge of a wide zone play action rollout and was in Wilson’s face from the start, forcing an incomplete pass.

Wilson faced a similar instance on one play with Reed having pressure on him. He went on to find Eric Saubert for a touchdown in the red zone, but an argument could be made Reed came up with a sack.

Eric Saubert emerging as a favorite target for Russell?

While the offense continues to get acclimated to their new scheme under Nathaniel Hackett, Russell Wilson found an early security blanket with veteran tight end Eric Saubert.

On the day, Wilson found Saubert for two touchdowns in the red zone period. Using his size to box out against smaller defenders, Saubert showcased his physicality and versatility as a route runner.

Another trait that stood out from Saubert was his ability to find the soft spots against both man and zone coverages, which could translate to a bigger role in the passing game for him this season.

Later in practice, Saubert caught a beautiful pass from Brett Rypien across the middle of the field with two defenders in the area.

He’ll be a player to watch on Day 2 in Dove Valley.

Can the Broncos’ offense hold off the defense when practice continues on Thursday at the UCHealth Training Center? Coverage continues tomorrow at Mile High Sports. Make sure to follow @CodyRoarkNFL and @Zach_Segars on Twitter as they’re at Dove Valley covering camp for you!

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