Denver Broncos Training Camp Storylines to Follow

Broncos Training Camp

Training camp is here for all 32 NFL teams, which starts the season of hope for all fans. From the Los Angeles Rams to the Detroit Lions, all teams and fans have hope for what their season can be if everything goes right.  The Broncos are one of those teams expecting good things as this training camp is coming with high expectations.

Those high expectations stem from finally having a viable quarterback in the huddle. Russell Wilson in Denver is a big deal. However, determining who to put around Wilson for next season is equally as important. Here are the important storylines going into training camp for the Broncos. 

Top Eight Denver Broncos Training Camp Storylines

1. Who Will Protect Russell Wilson? 

The offense undoubtedly took 10 steps forward with Russell Wilson replacing Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. Every position on the field is set to be better with Wilson just being on the field. Determining who the starters are at training camp will be important, as consistency along the offensive line is key for a team’s success. While the Broncos’ offensive line was not terrible, there is room to grow.

The two guys to look at early on at training camp are Billy Turner and Loyd Cushenberry. They will be fighting for their starting spots, right tackle, and center respectively, early on in camp. Both playing well will help the Broncos establish thier offense early on. 

2. Noah Fant’s Replacement

As Russell Wilson came in, Noah Fant, Denver’s former first-round pick, went out. There were high hope for the former Iowa Hawkeye when he came into the league in 2019 but Fant did not live up to those expectations. Paton was confident enough to include Fant in the trade to Seattle, believing that Albert Okwuegbunam could get the job done.

Although Okwuegbunam is unproven, he does have the talent to be a productive TE1 in the league. This is not a given, however. The starting position is going to be an interesting battle as Okwuegbunam will compete against UCLA’a Greg Dulcich. Reports are that Dulcich has been able to adapt pretty well to the Nathanial Hackett offense and will put up a fight for the position. The best case scenario for the Broncos is if they have two tight ends that can prove to be effective in a 12 personnel. 

3: Thunder and Lightning: A Running Back Duo to Help Russell Wilson

Melvin Gordon re-signed with the Broncos this offseason, which came as a bit of a surprise. Many expected the former Charger and Bronco to test the free agency market and sign elsewhere. Now that Gordon is back in Denver, they will have a two-headed monster. Javonte Williams will be the hammer, and Gordon will be the saw. Having an effective running game will be important to the success of the Broncos this upcoming season. The Broncos will need to find a balance between the passing game and the running game.

Wanting to keep Williams as healthy as possible, because of his physical running style, is the main reason why Gordon coming back to Denver was such an important off-season move. It will be interesting to see how the carries are split up between the two running backs. Will it be 70/30, 60/40, or 50/50? That’s something to keep an eye out for during training camp. 

4. Setting the Edge

This is a make-or-break year for both starting edge rushers for Denver. While Randy Gregory got his big contract this off-season, he still wants that stink of not being a reliable on-field player to be washed away. Gregory has the potential to be one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. If Gregory can put it together, he will have a career year. 

Bradley Chubb, on the other hand, must play as if his career depends on it. Chubb is in the final year of his four-year rookie contract, and to get the big second contract all rookies strive for, Chubb must stay on the field. That is where he’s had issues, and must stay healthy to guarantee a good second contract. If both Gregory and Chubb show out, it will be hard for other teams to do anything offensively. Also, gauging rookie edge rusher Nik Bonito and how well he can play in the NFL can go a long way in determining Chubb’s future in Denver. 

5. Stopping the Run: Inside Linebackers

The linebacker position in 2021 for the Denver Broncos was a nightmare. Not necessarily for poor play, the linebackers that did suit up did play well enough, but because the number of injuries thinned out the position.

The returning Josey Jewell and the recently signed Alex Singleton will have a lot to prove as they try to establish the ILBs as a position that can keep up with the rest of a solid defense. Baron Browing, who took many of the snaps at inside linebacker last season, was moved to add depth as an edge rusher. If it does not work out for Browning as a pash rusher, returning him to inside linebacker could mean added depth to a position that desperately needs it. 

6. First-year at Mile High: Russell Wilson and Nathanial Hackett

The expectations for the Broncos are extremely high this season. Perhaps the most ever for a first-year head coach. Nathaniel Hacket has had success in the NFL as a quarterback’s coach and offensive coordinator.  Hackett was a key in making Blake Bortles an AFC championship quarterback and reinvigorating Aaron Rodger’s career. But even with those accomplishments, they were as a coordinator, not as a head coach.If the Broncos want to start the season in a position to compete for an AFC West title, they will need to a quick start on the right foot early at training camp.

Along with Hacket, Russell Wilson will have pressure to try and make something happen in Denver. Those expectations steam for his play are magnified as he wanted to leave Seattle…allegedly. Wilson will need to prove that his move was not in vain.

7. How Will the Defense Rebound Without A Mastermind?

Was Vic Fangio a good head coach for the Broncos? No. But, that shouldn’t dismiss the effectiveness Fangio had as a defensive mastermind. In his three seasons in Denver, Fangio’s defense finished in the top 10 every season.

Although his tenure as a head coach did not work, his skills in scheming a successful defense speak for themselves. With Nathaniel Hackett’s expertise being on the offensive side of the ball, it will be imperative that first-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero find the defense to help compliment what will be an explosive offense. Evero has some major players on his side of the ball. Broncos fans are hoping the defense sees no drop-off in 2022. Justin Simmons, Bradley Chubb and Josey Jewell have been in Denver during the worst of days. They are ready to win, and a good defensive scheme can help them stay as a top-10 defense.

8. Wide Receiver Roulette

The Broncos’ receivers have always been seen as a high-value position group that couldn’t reach their potential because of poor quarterback play. Now that they do have their quarterback, excuses for a lack of production will not be as accepted. Jerry Jeudy, Cortland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and KJ Hamler have had the talent to be recognized as one of the NFL’s best receiving groups. However, work still needs to be done. While the receivers and Wilson have done some offseason work already, putting it together in training camp, will be paramount. Training camp will be a good time to start synching up with their new quarterback and the rest of the offense. Odds are they will make the jump in 2022 and will be a major factor in the potential success of the Broncos in the upcoming season. 

Broncos fans should keep an eye on these storylines going into training camp. However, so much more can develop during camp that might affect the rest of the season. It will be important to keep track of all of the injuries and position battles during training camp. This will affect how the team moves forward into the 2022 season.