Training camp always produces interesting situations. From position battles and rising rookies this year’s camp will be nothing short of entertaining. Let’s take a look at five of the top storylines of the Broncos 2021 training camp.
1. Return of Von Miller
Among the offseason injury returns for the Broncos is future hall of famer Von Miller. During last year’s training camp Miller suffered a torn ACL which sidelined him for the 2020-2021 season. As he makes his return look for Miller to try to make a huge mark.
He’s entering the last year of his lucrative deal and is no doubt looking to earn another. Miller is also accustomed to league leading play but with a lot of tread on his tires and a recent ACL tear can he really keep that up? His sack total was already declining pre-injury so a return to top form seems unlikely. Either way Miller is still the leader of this Broncos team and they need him to perform well and be a bright spot in a potentially dark season.
2. Running back competition
The running back competition might not be the battle that’s on everyone’s mind but it’s a little more interesting than you may think. After Philip Lindsay was released at the beginning of the offseason most thought that Melvin Gordon was a shoe in to be the Broncos running
back starter. That was until the draft. The Broncos traded up into the early second round to take North Carolina running back Javonte Williams. His player comparison is Marshawn “Beastmode” Lynch if that tells you anything about his playstyle. Now Gordon is still confident that he’ll beat out Williams for the Rb1 spot.
Gordon even criticized local media saying “The media is making it Javonte versus Melvin. Who’s going to start? This and that, It’s not really about that. It’s about us winning football games [and it’s] about us competing.”
3. Quarterback Competition
The most hyped up part of training camp by far has been the quarterback battle. Even though many fans don’t want a competition and would rather have Aaron Rodgers this is what they are stuck with. It already seems like Bridgewater will win the job.
Fangio needs to save, or at least prolong, his stint in Denver and after what we saw from Lock last season he’s not a safe bet. The fans have chosen their sides, team Teddy, team Drew, and team neither because neither will make the team any better next season. The truth is both quarterbacks will be a liability for the Broncos so even though a competition is entertaining the result won’t be.
4. Development of Quinn Meinerz
Broncos rookie Quinn Meinerz took a very unusual path to the NFL. Coming out of Wisconsin White-Water a division three school Meinerz was often overlooked at lower levels. However, once the season ended Meinerz shot up NFL Draft boards. The division three product shined at the 2021 Reeces Senior Bowl in front of scouts from every NFL team. The highlight of his trip came when he pancaked Patrick Jones Jr. who at the time was highly regarded as one of the top edge rushers in the class.
After that viral moment his social media stardom took off and Meinerz became one of the darlings of the draft. Meinerz went back to Wisconsin to wait and train for the draft, and train he did. Meinerz released a video that showed him squatting a tree and training in the woods. Apparently Broncos general manager George Paton liked what he saw because the Broncos used a third round pick on him.
Broncos country immediately embraced Meinerz and his unique style, his “Belly of the Beast” merch is based off of his on field look shown below:
During Meinerz’s first weeks of camp with the Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and offensive line coach Mike Munchak have tried Meinerz (a guard) at center. Not only is Meinerz a fantastic story but he’s a very talented player and has a great chance at becoming a long-term starter.
5. Pat Shurmur’s re-vamped offense
After a dismal 2020-2021 season Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is on thin ice. It’s only been one year and Broncos country wants him gone, but hope might not be lost. Recent reports out of Broncos camp has described a Shurmur offense that is operating at a very high level. It even has Drew Lock looking good. Lock recently had a stretch in practice where he threw three redzone touchdowns in as many tries. Most fans of other teams may see that and say “ok, what’s so special about that?” But for Broncos fans that’s pretty big. Let’s hope that this flash and precision can move from training camp to the regular season.