ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Beyond coach Vic Fangio, no one figures to have more say in the quarterback decision than offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
It's his scheme. He knows the fits. And he has to figure out how to help this team score more points, starting with exceeding 21 per game -- 25 is needed -- for the first since Peyton Manning retired.
Day 6 brought no separation. Or much of anything in the passing game. The first day of pads brought an understandable emphasis on the running attack. But the QB choice hangs over this team like a thought bubble or an anvil, depending on the practice.
I scored it a draw, leaving the competition, 2-2-2. All even. That figures to benefit Teddy Bridgewater as a veteran since Drew Lock held the job last season. But no one is tipping their hands, just splitting the reps and keeping an open mind.
"I think Teddy's done a good job. He's built on all the good work he did in the spring," said Shurmur said, the first Broncos repeat playcaller in training camp since Gary Kubiak.
"I've got great familiarity with Teddy from our time together with the Vikings. And I really think he's getting better each day. Obviously, Drew had an advantage to some degree, knowing how we function. Teddy's doing a good job."
Lock continues to demonstrate improvement. He has dropped 10 pounds, added muscle, and worked hard to fix mechanical issues. Will it be enough to win the job? That remains uncertain.
"This is the best version of Drew I have seen," Shurmur said.
So, there is no separation after there were no turnovers Tuesday. I am not sure either one is capable of running away and hiding.
It goes back to the premise that it likely will be more of a philosophical question than the winner of any daily media competition: Which quarterback gives the Broncos the best chance beginning on Sept. 12 at the Giants? The veteran with more of a track record or the third-year pro with the tantalizing upside?
The clock continues to tick. Fangio said they might give one quarterback more reps as they try to sort it out -- like Teddy with the ones one day and the Drew the next.
Regardless of the quarterback, the Broncos figure to run the ball well this season. Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams and Mike Boone have all turned heads at different times. Williams seems advanced as a rookie, not a total surprise for the high school valedictorian.
"He's been terrific. His running ability is very obvious, but the things that we see are his instincts. Some people just get it. And we've all been around people like that," Shurmur said. "He gets it, and it shows up in pass protection. It shows up in his awareness on getting lined up. He's got a really bright future."
Added Fangio on Boone, "He's explosive. He doesn't play small. Mike's not a guy to fall asleep on."
Cooper plays with heart
Jonathon Cooper brings relentless energy and effort. Few play with more heart. So there is irony that his heart nearly cost him a chance in the NFL.
Cooper missed the Broncos' offseason workouts as he had a procedure to address a rapid heart beat. In high school, Cooper was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, and required the ablation to correct the issue, something he had done twice before attending Ohio State.
Turns out he had three, eight-hour procedures in May. When there was talk he might need a pacemaker if a blockage developed, Cooper worried his NFL career was over before it began.
"I have been through a lot of adversity in my life. Those heart surgeries were just another obstacle in my way. I know I can overcome them," Cooper said. "Me being out here and this amazing program and this team is proof of that. I just give thanks to God."
Cooper turned heads with multiple strong plays Tuesday, winning in one on one drills and creating pressure for a likely sack in team work.
"He’s going to play a long time in the league. He's a glue guy in the locker room. He will be a leader. He is mature beyond his years," said Jim Nagy, the director of the Senior Bowl. "He plays his (bleep) off. That's his calling card."
Receiver K.J. Hamler, who said he was vaccinated, landed on the COVID-19 protocol list. However, Fangio said he could return as soon as Wednesday. ...
The Broncos who did not practice: Mike Purcell (ankle), Josey Jewell (groin), Cam Fleming (hamstring), Tyrie Cleveland (back/tailbone), Mac McCain and Kareem Jackson (vet day off). ...
Reserve tackle Cody Conway injured his right knee in a one-on-one bull rush rep vs. Cooper. He left the field on a cart. Former CSU-Pueblo star Deyon Sizer appeared to injure his hamstring during one on one drills. ...
Kendall Hinton is catching punts in his bid to make the team. He has shown improvement as a receiver.
Brittany Bowlen and John Elway were among those watching from the sidelines on Tuesday.