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NFL Training Camp Reports: AFC West – Broncos Lose Vance Walker for Season

Tough break for the Broncos as defensive end Vance Walker set to miss season after being carted off the field Monday.


DENVER BRONCOS

Walker was supposed to replace Malik Jackson this year, but it seems as if his season is over. Reports indicate that Walker tore his ACL in his right knee, effectively ending his season. Walker was injured on the first play of nine-on-seven during Monday morning’s practice, as his knee was rolled up on in a crowd of players. 

“We think the world of Vance and he was having a great camp. We’ll support him through his recovery, and he’ll come back stronger than ever.” – Gary Kubiak

The unfortunate truth about training camp is that when one guy goes down, someone will get the call. Second round pick Adam Gostis will be asked to fill the void left by Walker, as will free agent pickup Jared Crick. 

The Broncos thrashed the Bears on August 11th, and most of their success was due to defensive pressure and special teams. Broncos players have expressed feeling more comfortable in the second year of Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. Phillips called safety blitzes and delayed rushes to completely mess with the quarterbacks’ poise.The defense forced a safety, and the special teams blocked a punt for a touchdown. 

Offensively, the quarterback situation is still up in the air, even after their first preseason game. Mark Sanchez showed great poise in the pocket, and even displayed some beautiful timing on a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. He did have a typical classic average-QB interception, one he threw into double coverage. Sanchez looks the same as he always has: an average NFL quarterback. With this defense, that might be enough. 

Trevor Siemian has good poise and is effective on short routes, but his accuracy on deep routes isn’t there. In comparison to Sanchez, the Butt-Fumble jock looks better. With that being said, now we take a look at the rookie. Paxton Lynch is showing progression, but he looks like a rookie. He gets rattled in the shotgun when there’s pressure, which is not abnormal for a rookie. His poise is better under center, but he can’t cap off good drives yet. 

The Broncos face the San Francisco 49ers August 20th.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Monday’s practice featured an official roster change at the QB position: Nick Foles is now the No.2 QB. This is not surprising, considering that’s what most fans expected after the Chiefs signed Foles.

With an injury to quarterback Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray has taken the No. 3 spot at quarterback. Bray suffered a chip in his spine, which is not as bad as it sounds. The team is treating it like a sprain, but it hurts his chances at the No. 3 spot, which may result in him being released. Murray had his best practice this past week, so I imagine Bray feeling the pressure. 

Running back Charcandrick West missed Monday’s practice with a mild elbow strain, which he suffered on Saturday. 

The Chiefs first preseason game against the Seahawks this past weekend was one that highlighted great play on both sides of the ball, but the Chiefs lost on a last second Hail Mary, followed by a two-point conversion. The starting O-Line played phenomenal, giving Alex Smith and Nick Foles more than enough time to throw. Their command also gave the running game success, gathering 131 yards on 27 carries. 

The first string defense held their own against Russell Wilson, breaking up passes, forcing interceptions, and bringing the pressure. The only soft spot on the defense is the secondary’s youth. They looked like they didn’t have answers for some of the pattern the Seahawks threw at them, but nevertheless, the Chiefs played well. 

They play the Green Bay Packers on September 1st.

OAKLAND RAIDERS

The Silver and Black have been blessed with a training camp with little to no injuries (knock on wood). The quarterback play by Derek Carr has been exceptional, as is Matt McGloin, but he is the backup for a reason.

Rookie Karl Joseph hit the field Friday night, and played exceptionally well for his first game back since October. 

“I haven’t actually played in a long time. Just getting back out there felt good; it felt real good.”- Karl Joseph

Rookie Connor Cook had a good debut for the Raiders, going 7 of 11 for 71 yards. After a rough start to his training camp, it looks as if he has gotten more and more comfortable with the speed of the NFL. 

The defense forced three turnovers, including a fumble and a Drew Stanton interception. Ken Norton Jr.’s second year as defensive coordinator continues to prove this young defense’s athletic ability. 

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

The Chargers have had a rough camp, from Joey Bosa’s holdout, to losing Stevie Johnson for the year, to struggling defensively as a squad. Now it gets even worse.

Defensive ends Sean Lissemore and Tenny Palepoi suffered injuries, limiting the depth at an already Bosa-less DE position. Lissemore went on IR with a shoulder injury Monday, and Palepoi has been sidelined since August 6th with a leg injury. 

The defense had a horrible preseason opener, dropping the game 27-10 and giving up 288 yards on the ground to the Tennessee Titans. The Bolts biggest tackling was missing tackles, and a lot of them. One of the defensive guys who cannot tackle is Nick Dzubnar, I mean he just waited for DeMarco Murray to run right past him. He also waits for himself to be blocked. 

This is not just the case for Dzubnar, the whole defense needs help. The secondary has poor coverage skills, and I mean, that’s what a secondary does. So if their coverage is bad, there isn’t a whole lot of help anywhere else. 

On the bright side, the run game for the Charger’s offense is there, and its truckin’. The team collectively ran the ball 27 times for 115 yards. Melvin Gordon wasn’t at the bulk of those carries, but he did have a 44 yard touchdown grab, where he followed his blockers and kicked into second gear. His rookie season would’ve hurt Johnny Bravo’s confidence, but it wasn’t all his fault. He got hit more than Muhammad Ali in the Larry Holmes fight. It seems as if he’s looking to change things this season. 

Last but not least, Joey Bosa has still not signed, and has still not reported to training camp. Like I said before, the DE position is low on depth, so in other words, Bosa needs to come back down to Earth, lose the ego, and get on the damn field. That’s how professional athletes act. I get there are both sides to the business, but your team needs you. 


JJ Santos

My name is JJ Santos, and I am a student at Arizona State University. I am a proud journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. I have a passion for sports, music, and film because I love what people create. I want to bring my true analysis to every piece I create, whether my opinion is popular or not. I want to bring real sports to you.

NFL Training Camp Reports: AFC West – Broncos Lose Vance Walker for Season

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