ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos have an abundance of question marks, as any team coming off an 5-11 season would, but returner is not one of them.
Diontae Spencer is one of the NFL’s best, whether it be in the punt or kickoff return game. He is more sure-handed and solid than explosive, although that assessment would have fooled Teddy Bridgewater. Spencer’s 83-yard punt return for a touchdown in a December game last season at Carolina was the difference in the Broncos defeating the Bridgewater-quarterbacked Panthers, 32-27.
Bridgewater is now competing against Drew Lock – who threw four touchdown passes that day – for the Broncos’ starting QB role in 2021. Spencer’s punt return came up as he was reintroduced to his new teammate.
“We kind of talked about that,’’ Spencer said Thursday during his Zoom press conference with members of the Denver media. “He remembered that I scored that punt return against him. That's something we had a little laugh about. I feel like Teddy has been great. He's an energy guy and he's very vocal out there on the field. He's kind of helped me, also. Telling me little things to help my game, whether it's something he's seen in other receivers that he might have played with. He's helping me learn different things about being a wideout.”
Spencer is a returner, first – he ranked second in the NFL in punt returns last year and was third in kickoff returns in 2019 – receiver second. In his two years with the Broncos, Spencer has just nine catches for 57 yards compared to 72 punt and kickoff returns combined for 1,178 yards.
But with speed receiver KJ Hamler nursing a hamstring the past two weeks, Spencer has been getting his share of receiver reps in OTAs.
“It’s one of those things where when my number gets called and they draw the play up for me, I can go in there and execute it,’’ Spencer said. “I know my skillset. One thing I’ve been working on is becoming a better all-around receiver and working my game. Coach ‘Z’ (Zach Azzanni), he’s done a great job with just teaching the little things, and I feel like I’ve gotten better.’’