WR MCKENZIE GETS PENCILED IN AS PUNT RETURNER
The quarterback competition at Broncos training camp was still waging after Saturday’s scrimmage, but one new starting job seems to have been decided.
Coach Vance Joseph said he expects rookie Isaiah Mckenzie to be the punt returner during the team’s opening game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 11.
“He’s the punt returner; that’s why he was drafted,” Joseph said of Mckenzie, a fifth-round pick from Georgia.
Mckenzie has been at the front of the punt-return rotation throughout training camp, and last week he began earning some first-team repetitions at wide receiver, as well.
“He’s a guy who can catch the ball,” Joseph said. “That’s critical as a punt returner. We’ve all seen guys who can really run fast but can’t catch the football. He can catch the football. So I trust him to be our guy Week 1 against the Chargers.”
Ward to miss exhibition. Safety T.J. Ward, who exited Friday’s practice after suffering a hamstring injury, is unlikely to play in the Broncos’ opening preseason game at Chicago on Thursday, Joseph said.
“It’s a minor hamstring injury,” Joseph said, indicating that Ward would probably return to action leading into the team’s joint practices with the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., which begin the week after the game against the Bears.
Offensive tackle Menelik Watson missed Saturday’s scrimmage with a strained “hip muscle or ab muscle,” Joseph said. Watson is expected to return to practice Tuesday.
Linebacker Todd Davis (shoulder) and running back Bernard Pierce (hamstring) were also held out of the scrimmage.
Lamenting penalties. The Broncos committed at least four offensive penalties — a personal foul, an offensive pass interference, a holding call and a false start — during their brief scrimmage Saturday.
Joseph said he addressed the issues immediately after practice. The coach wasn’t the only one disappointed in the miscues.
“That’s something that we don’t have time for really,” cornerback Chris Harris said. “We don’t need those penalties. We can’t afford them on the offensive side of the ball. We’ve got to play clean and be smart. We don’t want to beat ourselves, so we’re not looking for that at all.”
Defensive standouts. While Harris’ interception of Paxton Lynch was the top defensive play of the scrimmage, there were several standouts on that side of the ball.
Defensive end Adam Gotsis swallowed up a run play and then tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage by Trevor Siemian. Outside linebacker Kasim Edebali, battling for the starting job opposite Von Miller with Shane Ray injured, was credited with a sack for the second straight practice. — Nick Kosmider, The Denver Post