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Bronco notes: Bridgewater bounces back, but Fangio still calls QB battle with Lock, 'even steven'

Bradley Chubb returns to practice less than 3 months from ankle surgery. Strnad gets chance with Jewell out.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) taking part in drills at an NFL football training camp at team headquarters Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There is no way the head coach is going to say which quarterback is playing better while the competition is in its midst.

“Still, even-steven, there’s been no separation,’’ Vic Fangio said following Day 5 of Broncos training camp Monday at UCHealth Training Center. “And we’re going to keep the rotation these next three days the same as it’s been.”

Maybe, overall, that’s the case, but Teddy Bridgewater bounced back from a three-pick Saturday to clearly have the better day Monday in his competition with Drew Lock. On a sunny, seasonably warm morning before a berm gathering of 1,312 at UCHealth Training Center, Bridgewater threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Spencer on his first play.

Counting only the 11 on 11 team periods, Bridgewater, who worked mostly with the No. 2 offense against the No. 2 defense, completed 14 of 16 passes with several completions of 20-plus yards, highlighted by his in-stride heave to Spencer down the left sideline. There were multiple other deep out completions to Jerry Jeudy.

Lock, who played mostly with the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense, was 7 of 13 with an end-of-practice interception to newcomer cornerback Rojesterman Farris. Lock tucked the ball and ran several times Monday.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) and Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) taking part in drills at an NFL football training camp at team headquarters Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Chubb returns

Edge rusher Bradley Chubb made his first 11 on 11 appearance in camp Monday. Wearing a left knee brace (he underwent ACL surgery two years ago), Chubb took a few snaps in the early team periods, before shutting it down. Chubb underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery in mid-May.

“I couldn’t do my job as well as I wanted to do it,’’ Chubb said in explaining the timing of his ankle scope. “We just made the decision to go in there and clean it out. It was supposed to be longer, the recovery, but luckily they got a chance to go in there and clean it out and nothing happened to it. It’s all structurally good and I should be ready (for the season opener Sept. 12 at the New York Giants) for sure.”

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb looks on during drills at a mandatory minicamp at the NFL team's training headquarters Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Jewell sidelined

Fangio said inside linebacker Josey Jewell would be sidelined about 10 days with a groin pull suffered early in the Broncos’ previous camp practice Saturday. In his stead, the Broncos are playing Justin Strnad, a fifth-round pick last year who missed his entire rookie season because of a dislocated wrist that required surgery.

Taller and more slender compared to the build of inside linebacker prototypes, Strnad was supposed to be used as a third-down coverage linebacker but how is he against the run?

“Pads come on tomorrow,’’ Fangio said with a smile.

Stronger, better Cushenberry

During an offseason Zoom press conference, Broncos starting center Lloyd Cushenberry III humbly stated that based on his up-and-down rookie season, he wasn’t surprised his team drafted another center, Quinn Meinerz, in the third round.

Does Cushenberry feel better about his game now to hold off Meinerz?

“Like I said in the offseason, I totally expected them to bring someone in whether free agency or the draft,’’ Cushenberry said Monday. “Because what I did wasn’t good enough. I just looked at myself in the mirror and said I got to get better … for me to take the next step, for this line to take the next step. I’m feeling good and looking forward to getting to these preseason games and going against different opponents and seeing what we can do.”

Sporting enormously muscled biceps and shoulders, Cushenberry by most accounts worked as hard as any player this offseason.

“Lloyd’s definitely improved,’’ Fangio said. “Had a great offseason, both physically and mentally. Got stronger. Studied the game. Had the OTAs, the minicamp. You always look for a big jump from year 1 to year two. I think he’s in the process of doing that.”

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