Due to an unfortunate rash of injuries and the canceled practice on Thursday, it’s been kind of a fragmented week for the Denver Broncos' football operations. However, a battle at wide receiver has unfolded at training camp which has also spilled over to the punt/kick returner competition.
Multiple wideouts are vying for a seat at the table and at most, only six will be kept on the active roster. The intensity and level of competition across the roster have been fierce, and that includes offense vs. defense during team periods.
Incumbent punt returner and wide receiver Diontae Spencer gave fans a look behind the scenes of the competition this summer at UC Health Training Center.
“Oh, the competition has been crazy,” Spencer told the team site on Tuesday. “Like today the defense—they were talking to us and trying to get after us, we were chucking back a little bit. Maybe had some altercations out there, but we try to keep it PG, we try to keep it PG.”
The competitive back and forth between the established veteran defense and the younger, more inexperienced offense has been the most intriguing aspect of training camp thus far. These battles that unfold on the practice field are providing the ingredient that will test Spencer and a Broncos' offense that is still growing under second-year QB Drew Lock.
Spencer gave fans a look at how Lock is blossoming as a leader and communicator out there on the grass. And also how Lock is handling the new Pat Shurmur offense.
“He’s doing good. You can tell the progression each and every day,” Spencer told the team site. “He’s getting better, he’s not much of a talker, but he’ll pull you to the side. Like today (Tuesday), he pulled me to the side, we had like a miscommunication, and he was like ‘You know, 11 – that's me – that’s my bag.’ I felt like I had some part or doing in the mistake, but he came over and we talked, we corrected it and I feel like it's just growth.”
Given the levels of ‘swag’ that Lock has become famous for since he entered the starting lineup, it comes as a big shock that he prefers a more subtle method of getting his point across to his teammates. Lock’s calm and assured communication skills, coupled with his willingness to take responsibility, show perhaps an advanced level of maturity rarely seen in a 23-year-old QB.
It's a good omen for Lock's overall development as the Broncos' starter, especially as he continues to assimilate and master Shurmur's offense. Injuries have hit the wide receiver room hard lately with rookie KJ Hamler facing a few weeks on the sideline after suffering a hamstring injury, while Juwann Winfree and Tim Patrick have also spent time on the recovery table.
That has created opportunities for others like Spencer, Fred Brown, and rookie Tyrie Cleveland to show what they can do. The 28-year-old Spencer is feeling the vibe in the wide receiver room with its unique set of talents.
“Everybody been bonding great,” Spencer said. “Courtland (Sutton), Jerry Jeudy, DaeSean (Hamilton), Tim, Hamler everybody has a different skill-set and everybody brings something different to the table. I feel that’s what makes us dynamic and special.”
The Broncos returned to the practice field on Friday slightly more rested and recharged. Spencer and his fellow receivers will be hoping to hit the ground running once again and make up for the missed time.
Fans will get a closer look at how the Broncos are shaping up in Saturday evening's training camp session at Empower Field at Mile High, which will be produced by 9NEWS and broadcast from 7-9 pm on KTVD-20 (Comcast Channel 5 and Xfinity Channel 657).