After offseason focused on “winning in the dark,” Broncos believe Courtland Sutton is ready to return to dominance

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As Courtland Sutton chopped his in-route crossed the field, helium stopped connected a dime, enactment his close manus backmost toward the sideline and reeled successful a one-handed, 20-yard drawback from Teddy Bridgewater.

Sutton past deed the grass, instantly bolted up and jogged past defenders to the extremity portion to induce a smattering of cheers from fans connected the berm astatine Broncos’ grooming camp.

That play during an 11-on-11 league connected Wednesday summed up wherever the Broncos consciousness Sutton is astatine successful his comeback from an ACL tear. Following 9 days of grooming camp, Sutton appears to beryllium regaining his Pro Bowl signifier of 2 seasons ago.

“You tin spot each his hard enactment from the summertime, erstwhile helium was present successful an bare installation for a agelong clip and moving and ‘winning successful the dark,’ arsenic we telephone it,” Broncos wideout manager Zach Azzanni said. “He’s a imagination to manager and his endowment is disconnected the charts.”

After an aggravated offseason rehabilitation program, Sutton’s information during OTAs, minicamp and present grooming campy has been cautiously managed by the Broncos. Coach Vic Fangio said Sutton is successful a akin concern to what extracurricular linebacker Bradley Chubb was successful past year.

“Get a small spot amended each and each day,” Fangio said.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Sutton has made “steady progress, and present you’re seeing him marque plays.” Bridgewater agreed with some coaches.

“When he’s retired determination making plays similar (on Wednesday), we don’t privation him connected the ground, but if he’s connected the crushed making acrobatic catches and if he’s stumbling and going to the ground, it’s honestly gathering assurance for him,” Bridgewater said. “He’s going to proceed to spot his genu much and that’s breathtaking for us.”

Quarterback Drew Lock besides took enactment of Sutton’s progression. Lock saw Sutton’s rehabilitation firsthand astatine the squad installation during the offseason.

“Absolutely I cognize helium volition (return to dominance),” Lock said. “I’ve seen the enactment that he’s enactment successful erstwhile I was present successful the offseason. There’s thing successful my bones that archer maine helium won’t get backmost to that.”

While Sutton ramps up to afloat spot physically he’s besides enactment an accent connected being much of a vocal leader.

Sutton credits erstwhile Broncos wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas for instilling the values and mentoring quality successful him that he’s trying to bring to the team.

“Those are 2 guys that I vouch for precise heavy and they taught maine a batch of important things of however I transportation myself arsenic a receiver and arsenic a vet successful the locker room,” Sutton said. “It’s precise important to person that beingness successful the locker room; it gives guys idiosyncratic to look up to and idiosyncratic to accidental this is simply a idiosyncratic that we tin spell to that understands what it takes, understands what is important successful the moments. Especially erstwhile it gets to crunch clip successful the regular play and that last agelong pushing (toward) the playoffs.”

Rookie wideout Seth Williams said helium and different younger players person already been influenced by Sutton successful a deep-and-talented positional radical that besides features Pro Bowl imaginable successful Jerry Jeudy.

“He’s a large power connected me,” said Williams, the Broncos’ sixth-round prime this year. “Just watching him and Tim (Patrick) play similar they practice… I ticker and survey him each time and helium gives maine each the small tips and details successful return.”

For Jeudy, who had 856 yards connected 52 catches and 3 touchdowns arsenic a rookie, the instrumentality of Sutton gives the Broncos a potent one-two receiving punch they lacked past year. With Sutton drafting attraction connected the different side, Jeudy is apt to spot overmuch little sum from opposing teams’ apical cornerbacks than helium did a twelvemonth ago.

Jeudy said it volition beryllium hard for opposing defence to strategy ways to screen some wideouts.

“Having him retired determination is real big,” Jeudy emphasized.

Sutton racked up 1,112 yards connected 72 catches with six touchdowns successful 2019 earlier being constricted to 1 fractional of 1 crippled past twelvemonth aft being wounded making a tackle connected an interception instrumentality successful Pittsburgh.

Looking down the road, the wideout hopes his mislaid 2020 is simply a footnote successful what helium wants to beryllium an extended Denver career. As an unrestricted escaped cause astatine the extremity of this season, a productive 2021 would spell a agelong mode toward ensuring that’s the case.

“If I tin beryllium a Bronco for life, that would beryllium a happening that I would emotion to beryllium capable to do,” Sutton said. “However, I cognize that comes with accordant work. It’s not conscionable going to beryllium thing that’s handed to me.”

Denver Post newsman Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this report.

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