ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Fight! Fight!
Bolles vs. Chubb II.
“I already know what the headline's going to be: 'Bradley Chubb and Garett Bolles at it again,’’ Bolles said following practice Wednesday. “But you know what, we're brothers. I love Bradley Chubb, like I said. It's two guys going at it that are competitive.’’
Uh huh. The love for one another was easy to sell the first time Bolles, the Broncos’ starting left tackle, and Chubb, the starting right outside linebacker, went at it over a prolonged practice period on Saturday, Aug. 7. By all accounts, that skirmish got vicious, with a heated Bolles walking off into the locker room before eventually cooling off and returning.
Offensive line coach Mike Munchak used some choice words to defend Bolles that time. Assistant offensive line coach Chris Kuper issued a word or two Wednesday. Again, Bolles reached an altered emotional state Wednesday, only this time he only missed a rep or two with Calvin Anderson filling in.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said following practice Bolles and Chubb need to settle their differences. How?
“We’ll figure that out,’’ Fangio said.
It’s worth noting Fangio has practiced his players relatively long and hard the past two days – in full pads, beneath a hot, afternoon sun, for a combined 4 ½ hours. Chubb and Bolles mixed it up in the final half hour Wednesday.
“It’s getting really feisty out here,’’ said quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. “You love to see it, though.”
Yes, it’s football. But when it’s the same guys -- two of the team's best guys -- going at it a second time, a check is needed.
Bolles believes a solution is coming.
“I feel bad for every other tackle that has to go against him on Sundays because after today I think I get a scout team guy, so I don't have to go against him as much anymore,’’ Bolles said.
It appears Bobby Massie has won his right tackle competition against the younger Calvin Anderson, a good athlete who will settle in as the backup at both left and right tackle.
“It’s his job to lose going forward,’’ Fangio said of Massie.
Massie is in his 10th NFL season, ninth as a starter. He was signed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal after the Broncos’ Ja’Wuan James went down with a torn Achilles injury in early May.
Third-round rookie Quinn Meinerz has mixed in a few snaps at center with the top guys this week, although Lloyd Cushenberry III will remain the starter. Meinerz never played center in college and his Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater didn’t play football last year because of COVID-19, so he understandably needs time working through the many intricacies of the position. Including the snap.
But Meinerz strength and athleticism have been impressive to the point he figures to push for playing time at both guard and center this season.
Fangio practices are longer and tougher (full pads) than those former Broncos’ head coaches Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak used to run. Maybe, it’s a defensive-minded coach vs. offensive-minded coach. Bill Belichick, a defensive-minded head coach, has run long, tough practices in New England for 20-plus years. The thinking is mental toughness – needed to fight through the difficult valleys all teams go through during the regular season – can only be built through practice.
Fangio's methods are reinforced by a core group of player who can't work enough – after the double-horn end to practice, 20 to 25 players stick around on the field for another 15 to 20 minutes of work. The last players off the field Wednesday were the quarterbacks -- Bridgewater, Drew Lock and Brett Rypien.
Receiver Tim Patrick made a well-timed return from his groin injury this week as KJ Hamler has been sick and missed the past two practices. Tight end Noah Fant has also been out with a left leg injury. Backup tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who is coming off an ACL injury, is expected to get his first preseason action in the Broncos’ preseason finale Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams backups at Empower Field at Mile High. …
Rookie safety Caden Sterns missed practice Wednesday. “He has a leg irritation that they’re going to treat,’’ Fangio said. “We gave him off today, and he’s going to get some treatment on it. We don’t think it’s anything to worry about, but it’s better to put the fire out now.”
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