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Broncos

Where the Broncos stand with opener closing in

It can be hard to believe with the NBA and NHL playoffs going on right now and the weather just recently leaving the 90s on a daily basis, but the Broncos season opener against Tennessee on Monday Night Football is less than two weeks away. With that in mind here’s a roundup of what’s going on the Broncos as of right now.

Conservative approach with Chubb

The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran wrote how the Broncos are being cautious with linebacker Bradley Chubb who is coming off ACL surgery. The team still expects him to be ready for the opener.

“We’re going to be conservative with him this week and get him some days of rest. I think he’s where we kind of thought he’d be. We never said (he’s) 100% yet — at least I never did. I think what he’s going through is a natural progression in recovering from his (ACL) injury and I’m still optimistic he’ll be out there the first week and playing good — probably not playing like he was pre-injury, but pretty (darn) close. It’s going to be a work in progress.”

Head coach Vic Fangio said.

No tackling in practice

With no preseason games this year the question going into training camp was how many “live” practices the Broncos would have before the regular season got underway. As it turns out the answer to that question likely will be zero.

So far the team has had one live period during a practice to work on goal-line situations. But Fangio’s plan going forward appears to be no tackling during practice.

“We may have a short-yardage/goal-line live period, but other than that, probably not.”

Fangio said when asked about having any live practices.

New Big Al in Denver?

Most Denverites are familiar with former CU and Broncos great Alfred Williams, known as Big Al, well, he might not be the only Big Al in Denver for long.

As The Post’s Kyle Newman wrote, rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam keeps turning heads in practice. Both quarterback Drew Lock and fellow tight end Nick Vannett both referred to him as a “monster” with Vannett also adding:

“He’s just so physically gifted. The thing with him is he’s kind of raw right now, but I don’t say that in a bad way. I say that like if he keeps building on it and keeps figuring it out, he’s going to be one of the best tight ends in the league. Just how fast he is, how built he is — I really do believe if he can figure it out, he’s going to be a scary dude in this league for years to come.”

Vannett said of Okwuegbunam.

Is the center job decided?

As TheDNVR.com’s Zac Stevens wrote it appears like the battle for Denver’s starting center position might already be decided. Rookie Lloyd Cushenberry has been getting the bulk of reps with the first team, while the other contenders for the job, Austin Schlottman and Pat Morris are getting fewer and fewer.

Starting left guard Dalton Risner had this to say about Cushenberry:

“I’m really impressed with Lloyd. I was telling the coaches today that I want to keep getting more reps with him, as many reps as we can and we have to get reps after practice. That’s what we need. We need to have an understanding of how each other makes certain blocks and what we mean by certain calls. That’s so big for an offensive line. It’s about meshing together and coming together as a unit. I think Lloyd’s done an extremely good job and the offensive line is continuing to jell more and more. He’s got a lot of work to do just like I do, but I’m really happy with where we’re at right now.”

Based on Risner’s comments in particular it definitely sounds like the job is Cushenberry’s at this point.

Overall camp overview

Meanwhile, fellow DNVR writer Andrew Mason took a look at everything going on at Broncos training camp and noted that simply put the Broncos have plenty to do, but so little time to get it all done.

Locked in on Lock

And lastly, Nick Kosmider at TheAthletic.com followed what starting quarterback Lock goes through at a training camp practice.

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Homers power Rockies past Giants

Rockies

Colorado got home runs from Trevor Story, Daniel Murphy and Charlie Blackmon as the Rockies rallied from a 3-1 seventh inning deficit to beat the Giants 6-4 on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.

With the win the Rockies won their fourth straight series to begin the season for the first time in franchise history. At 9-3 overall Colorado is off to its second-best start in history, only the 2011 team was better at 10-2.

Lefty Kyle Freeland had another solid start for the Rockies. He took a shutout into the seventh before allowing three runs in the frame and getting pulled with two outs. Yency Almonte came in and picked up his first win of the season, while Jairo Díaz worked 1 1/3 innings for his third save of the season.

  • The Rockies now head to Seattle for a three-game series starting tonight at 7:40 p.m. (AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela (2-0, 2.45 ERA) will start for Colorado against Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 4.66 ERA).
  • Manager Bud Black is using different players in the DH role lately, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story for example, and will continue to do so in order to help lighten the load for players during a busy stretch of the season. Both David Dahl and Nolan Arenado figure to be DH candidates in the future.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Nick Groke wrote about how Rockies ace Germán Márquez is working on improving his knuckle-curve, already one of the best pitches in baseball.
  • The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman wrote about how Story already is making a case for National League MVP honors this season.

Nuggets

Portland Damian Lillard torched the Nuggets for 45 points, including 11 threes, as the Nuggets two-game winning streak was snapped with a 125-115 loss to the Trail Blazers on Thursday afternoon in Orlando.

Denver was was again shorthanded as the Nuggets were without Paul Millsap (rest), Jamal Murray (hamstring), Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip).

Michael Porter Jr. once again led Denver in scoring with 27 points to go along with 12 rebounds, while Nikola Jokić only played 23 minutes and scored just eight points, although he did add 13 assists and five rebounds.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was still impressed with his team’s overall performance.

“They’re playing for their playoffs lives with all their starters, and we’ve got guys that have not played a lot of minutes in the NBA, and we’re giving them all they can handle. I wish we would’ve played with that same intensity in that second quarter, obviously, and there’s a lot to work on in terms of our defense and our 3-point defense, but you can’t ask for guys to play any harder than we did in that second half.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone
  • Denver now trails the Clippers by 1.5 games for second place in the Western Conference. Next up for the Nuggets is the Utah Jazz on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (TNT, Altitude, 92.5 FM).
  • TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind handed out player grades after the Nuggets’ loss. A few guys made the honor roll, while Torrey Craig might not want to show his parents his report card.

Avalanche

Vegas beat St. Louis 6-4 on Thursday night, meaning that the winner of the Avalanche-Golden Knights game on Saturday will be the West’s No. 1 seed, with the loser being No. 2.

When regular-season play was halted due to COVID-19 the Blues had been the top team in the Western Conference, but after back-to-back losses to the Avs and Knights the best they can do now is the third seed.

A time for Saturday’s Colorado-Vegas game has not been announced as of yet.

Broncos

Denver safety Justin Simmons talked to the media on Thursday and among other things said he wasn’t disappointed in the lack of a long-term deal this offseason and is ready to “focus on winning football games.”

Simmons is set to player this year on the franchise tag, which for safeties totals $11.441 million.

  • Meanwhile, guard Dalton Risner talked about learning to play other positions along the offensive line just in case he’s needed there due to right tackle Ja’Wuan James’ decision to opt out of the season due to coronavirus concerns.
  • And in the on-going, seemingly never-ending saga that is the Broncos ownership situation the trial that is at the heart of it was pushed back to 2021. The trial between Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace was slated to begin Sept. 1.

Local colleges

According to reports the Big Sky Conference will cancel its football season, meaning the Ed McCaffery era at Northern Colorado will be delayed for a year. As of now no official announcement has been made.