Sunday, August 7, 2022

Broncos CB works with WRs in practice: report

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The Denver Broncos officially opened training camp on July 27. In an interesting development, according to KOA Colorado’s Benjamin Allbright, cornerback Ronald Darby has started each practice session by working with wide receivers.

Darby is probably just trying to improve his hands. Darby hasn’t recorded a single interception in the past two seasons. His last interception was on December 1, 2019 while he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Darby had chances. In 2020, he dropped two interceptions per SIS DataHub.

The training is already paying off for Darby. On Saturday he defeated Russell Wilson in a shoulder throw from behind.

Darby was good at pass coverage. In 2021, he allowed a target completion rate of 54.3 percent, well below the league average of 64.8 percent.

If Darby can force more turnover, he can take his game to another level.

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PFF’s Conor McQuiston was voted the top cornerbacks in press coverage during the 2021 NFL season. Darby had the sixth highest composite score behind only Trevon Diggs, Jalen Ramsey, Jackrabbit Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

“He did very well with press coverage on the return of the former second-round pick to Denver with new running mate Patrick Surtain II,” McQuiston wrote. “While Darby hasn’t broken many passes, the data suggests he did an excellent job of preventing goals despite being flanked by another strong outside cornerback. It’s unclear how often new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero will tap Darby for press coverage, but the veteran should still be strong when asked.

Darby and Patrick Surtain II are likely to be one of the better cornerback duos in the AFC this season.

Speaking of Surtain, he’s making a big impression in training camp. Offensive tackle Garett Bolles called him a “freak” on Thursday.

“Surtain is a freak,” Bolles said, per Broncos team reporter Aric DiLalla. “I’ll just tell you now. If you don’t know, turn on the movie. It speaks for itself. I don’t know how you deal with a guy like that because he’ll just eat you alive. I’m grateful he’s on my side.”

On Saturday head coach Nathaniel Hackett noted Surtain’s confidence.

“You can see the confidence moving through his body,” Hackett said.

Surtain himself actually spoke of his confidence.

“I definitely feel more comfortable and confident out there,” Surtain said, per DiLalla. “I prepare myself every day and prepare my mind. I definitely feel safer and more comfortable.”

In an exclusive interview with Heavy.com, safety Justin Simmons said the Broncos’ secondary could be the best in the league.

“Of course, my expectations are the highest of all,” Simmons said. “I think we can be the best secondary in the NFL.”

With Surtain, Darby, Simmons, Kareem Jackson and K’Waun Williams, the Broncos secondary has the talent to take on anyone. They will be put to the test at AFC West this season.

Surtain himself actually spoke of his confidence.



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