Denver starts training camp in the red zone


On perhaps Wilson’s best play of practice, the quarterback avoided Malik Reed’s oncoming rush, skirted outside the pocket and delivered a strike to tight end Eric Saubert in the end zone.

Reed made it known that he thought he’d sacked Wilson, but the quarterback has a knack for escaping pressure.

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“He’s never going to give up on the play,” Bradley Chubb said after practice. “We see that when we’re chasing him right now.”

Chubb relayed that Wilson told the defense he’d seen that sort of pressure “plenty of times before.”

Wilson later threw another red-zone touchdown pass.

And then, as there are during camp, there were moments when the two sides of the ball weren’t in agreement about the result of the play. On one goal-line run, offensive players threw their hands up to signal a score, while their defensive teammates suggested they’d stopped the ball carrier short of the end zone.

“I love the competitiveness,” Hackett said. “It’s funny, it’s like as clean of a touchdown as it might be, there’s people still saying it’s not a touchdown, and if we think it is a touchdown, people are doing everything they can to see its not. That’s what you want and that’s what you love, so I think it’s great.”

The Broncos’ practice didn’t feature many long passes or any highlight interceptions, but it did feature important work.

On Day 1, that was plenty good enough.

Late in practice, Hackett huddled his team before one final period. After a few moments, a portion of the team jogged to the red zone for a little more work, but it wasn’t a final set of plays for the first-team offense. The session involved largely young or reserve players — Wilson, Simmons and Surtain were the type of players who didn’t take a snap — and Hackett later explained the intent of the session.

“Whenever you’re working through these things, you’re always focused on two groups, because you want to jump from one thing [to another],” Hackett said. “I get bored fast, so I want to jump from one thing to the other and move around and move the field and do all that stuff, and sometimes, there’s some guys that don’t get enough reps. … We started doing this awhile back — and I just like to now focus on the guys that might not have gotten as many reps. Let’s face it, those guys will have a lot of opportunities in the preseason, so we want them to be ready. So that’s why we do that.”

The session stood out as just another example of Hackett’s innovative approach to practice.

… Rookie outside linebacker Nik Bonitto set the edge well on a run play in space. He could also see increased work with Randy Gregory sidelined.

“On the field, he had it from Day 1,” Chubb said. “He had the bend. He had all the intangibles that you can’t really coach, you just go out there and do.”

… Safety P.J. Locke recovered nicely on a pass to the end zone and backtracked to break up a throw intended for Montrell Washington.

… Quarterback Brett Rypien had a couple of nice throws, as he found Sutton on a post route for a nice gain and later connected with Washington in the end zone for a touchdown.

… Reed, whose role could be amplified with Gregory on PUP, recorded a nice tackle for loss against the first-team offense and later provided pressure on the previously noted play by Wilson.



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