ENGLEWOOD -- Jerry Jeudy had a bad day Tuesday. How he responded is why he will be so good.
Proving he's mortal, the first-round receiver dropped two passes, including a wide-open touchdown. Typically, these moments ruin a practice. For Jeudy, who learned the value of grinding through workouts at Alabama and in his offseason training, it represented nothing more than a hiccup.
Jeudy responded with multiple big catches, among them a leaping play over the middle for a big gain. This is what makes Jeudy different, beyond his Mikhail Baryshnikov feet that do things more suited for the Matrix.
He brings mental toughness. The two gaffes were hard to remember based on what Jeudy did next.
First, quarterback Drew Lock went right back to Jeudy after his initial gaffe, and he hauled it in. Then after his second failed connection, Lock found Jeudy for a 40-yard gain. And the pass of the day? You guessed it. In what appeared a designed scramble, Lock peeled out and fired a dart to Jeudy, whose toe drag swag in the end zone completed the touchdown.
No one can honestly expect the Broncos offense to start in full rhythm given the inexperience and upended offseason. But the talent, starting with Jeudy, screams that the days of 17 points per game are mercifully over.
To his credit, Jeudy is not believing the type or hype.
"To be honest, I haven’t been dealing with it. I just go out there and do what I do each and every day. I don’t really pay too much attention to it," Jeudy said. "It’s good that they say a lot of great things about me. I love to hear it, but I’m just out here trying to get better each and every day.”
Jeudy learned to appreciate precise route running in his first high school where the Ridley Brothers -- Calvin and Riley -- were his teammates. He wasn't "really any good" as a little kid in football. It inspired him to roll up his sleeves.
That work ethic is tangible at practice. As ESPN analyst Dan Orlovosky said, "He lies to defenders with his feet." Jeudy prides himself on creating different looks, and safety Kareem Jackson, A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan love facing him because it sharpens their game.
"I have never seen anyone better at getting at breaks," said Jackson, praise I can't recall hearing once from veteran defensive backs about a rookie.
Jeudy splits time with the first and second teams, but it would be a shock if he's not starting on opening night against the Titans. He has seamlessly adapted to the NFL. That's why Tuesday was significant. It was not seamless. There was visible adversity. However, he responded to failure with a furious finish.
"I don’t really think it’s really challenging for me because the more you practice, the more reps you get and the easier it gets. I feel like us practicing right now is helping me adjust to the game," Jeudy said. "I know having OTAs and preseason games are a big deal, but I feel like if you’re not prepared when it’s game day, you’re not supposed to be out there. I feel like our coaches have been doing a good job preparing us to be ready for Sundays.”
To be fair, the offense had missteps. Drew Lock has consistently made good decisions. However, Tuesday he threw two picks and forced the ball into too many tight spots. But he never lost his confidence and finished practice strong. ...
Mike Purcell, De'Vante Bausby, Tim Patrick, all dealing with soft tissue injuries, should practice on Thursday. K.J. Hamler (hamstring) and Michael Ojemudia (quad) are not close. Hamler spent practice watching on a bench, taking notes, a good sign for a rookie who can only be helped by accelerating the learning process.
Center Lloyd Cushenberry took the snaps with the first team as he makes his push to win the job. ...
Phillip Lindsay found a way to boost the offense when it was lagging, looking strong in the short passing game. ...
Coach Vic Fangio was pleased with the energy and intensity of practice and nearly went live. There was a healthy amount of trash talk and the offense counterpunched. ...
Von Miller (elbow) had one sack, if not two, as he continues to look poised for a bounceback season.
Fangio said Ojemudia and Hamler out for a bit. Nothing changing. But Purcell, Bausby, Patrick could be back Thursday