Photos by Kaptain Kirk 8/16/11
There is a clear sky this morning in Dove Valley as I arrive for the Broncos Training Camp practice. I take my position at the 46 yard line today. As I settle in, I see that Tim Tebow is loosening up 20 minutes before practice as is his wont. He is in Full Pads too. I can tell that it will be a hot one today and I'm glad I brought extra water. Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers sets up two pair of cones on the 25 yard line, out where the numbers are marked on the field. It must be to designate a lane for the kickoff and punt returners. The JUG's unit is set up at the 15 yard line. I see the other Quarterbacks long with Virgil Green and Greg Orton. Manny Ramirez snaps a few balls to Tebow. HORN.
Special Team's drills begin practice. The Punt protection/coverage unit goes up against the Scouts. Eddie Royal, Perrish Cox, Eric Decker and David Anderson are back shagging punts. Coach Rodgers has the 1st and 2nd teams drill using various protection calls by David Bruton and Darcel McBath. The Offensive Linemen are doing a drill with the Tackles. Orlando Franklin has to fend off a pass rush from 3 different linemen (the O-Line is working by themselves) in succession. It looks like they are working on foot speed and agility. After 3 or 4 reps, Ryan Clady takes a turn. HORN.
11 on 11's walk through with the first teams. I notice Kevin Vickerson and Broderick Bunkley are the starting Defensive Tackles. Wesley Woodyard and Cassius Vaughn go in for the Nickel package. Joe Mays and Broderick Bunkley go out. I see Zane Beadles get to the 2nd level and make a block. Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen repositions Von Miller so he gets a better pass rushing angle to maximize his talents. So far, I've seen a 5-2 look, a 3-man, 4-man and a 6-man line with a Safety in the box from coach Allen. This segment lasts for about 20 minutes. HORN.
Rich Tuten's Stretch and Flex session begins and the first song up is Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." That gets me wondering if this was a Coach Fox selection as I don't believe any of the players grew up with Zepp. Anyway, Kashmir is a lengthy song and I don't think they will stretch long enough to finish the song. My question is answered a few minutes later when it ends abruptly. As the players spread out across the field for more stretching, Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" plays. Coach Fox gives Brandon Lloyd a fist bump and I see Kyle Orton and Knowshon Moreno both have an assistant helping them stretch. I have harped on this before, but in my opinion, if players are taking the time to stretch properly, it means they care about their performance and maintenance of their bodies. To me, it seems like they are protecting MY investment as a fan. And that means a lot to me. The 3rd song today is "Everlasting Light" by The Black Keys. I meet an MHR reader named Pierce from Santa Fe, NM and we chat as the players finish stretching. HORN.
Next up is the part where the Offense runs a play and then trots 20 yards downfield. All 3 units are involved in this. Each unit goes through 3 repetitions before splitting into their individual position groups. HORN.
On the far field, I hear the Defensive Line hitting the sleds before actually seeing them do it. At the other end of the far field, the Defensive Backs are doing their backpedal drill, turning around halfway through and having to catch a pass fired at them. A run fast, think fast type of exercise. In between those two groups are the Linebackers, who work 1 on 1. Back to the action in front of me. The Quarterbacks are taking snaps and throwing short passes to a ball boy. The Offensive Line, Tight Ends and Running Backs are working together and the Wide Receivers are doing their thing with coach Tyke Tolbert. After about 5 minutes, the Quarterbacks join with the Wide Receivers and start with Red Zone pass patterns. They run a set of these and then change directions and run other various patterns from the shortest to the longest. The Running Backs move over to their normal spot for their position drills and Coach Eric Studdesville begins throwing bullet passes at them. Crossing plays and passes out of the backfield. The O-Line and Tight Ends resume working alone. HORN.
The ball is spotted at the 25 yard line and 11on 11's with the 1st unit's begin at full speed tempo. Kyle Orton completes a pass to Brandon Lloyd. I see Rahim Moore get replaced by Kyle McCarthy. Knowshon Moreno takes off around the left side and I see J.D.Walton get upfield to make a block. Willis McGahee gets a couple of carries and Offensive Coordinator Mile McCoy tells the Offense "faster, faster." Andre' Goodman jumps a route in front of Matthew Willis, but can't handle Orton's pass, dropping a sure interception. Tim Tebow comes in along with the 2nd unit. I notice Jeremy Jarmon, Ryan McBean and Derrick Harvey on the D-Line. Tebow runs a Flea Flicker screen to Daniel Fells (Yes, you read that right). I sure hope that isn't in the McCoy playbook. Tebow then avoids the rush and hits Britt Davis. Tebow throws to Eron Riley over the middle on his 2nd read. Brady Quinn hands off to Brandon Minor. I notice the 3rd team Defensive Line is made up of Jeremy Beal, Mitch Unrein, David Veikune and Ronell Brown. Jeremiah Johnson breaks off a good run. Knowshon Moreno gets a carry. Quinn passes a little behind Greg Orton. The receiver loses traction and skips, but still makes the grab. HORN.
Ball on the 35 yard line. Knowshon Moreno gets a carry. Orton to Lloyd on a deep out. Knowshon gets a good run. Willis McGahee gets stuffed at the line. McGahee runs again and gets 4 or 5 tough yards. Willis gets a 3rd consecutive run for no yards. Spencer Larsen rumbles for 5 yards, Lance Ball picks up 5 more. Brady Quinn runs a naked bootleg to the right for 15 yards, On the next play Brady Quinn gets a pass to Eron Riley that the receiver has to stretch and dive to make the catch. Tim Tebow comes in and hands off twice to Brandon Minor. Jeremiah Johnson takes a toss right around the corner and picks up 20 yards on the pay. Tebow hits Dan Gronkowski on a play-action sequence. C.J. Gable stumbles in the hole. HORN.
It's time for some 7 on 7 action. The ball is on the 45 yard line. On the first play, Orton tries to hit Matthew Willis, but Brian Dawkins is there. Dawk misses the pick and immediately drops to do some push-ups. Ky;e hooks up with Lloyd on a deep out. Wesley Woodyard and Cassius Vaughn enter for the Nickel package and Joe Mays goes out (I don't see who Vaughn subbed for). Kyle hits Eric Decker and Eddie Royal on consecutive deep post plays. Orton's pass over the middle intended for Daniel Fells is broken up by Joe Mays. Knowshon Moreno beats Von Miller on an Orton pass and then Kyle connects with Eddie Royal deep for a TD over Kyle McCarthy (terrific catch). Tim Tebow passes to Julius Thomas and then again after Mike McCoy shows Julius where he is to line up on that particular play. Tebow completes a pass to D'Andre Goodwin, who turns it upfield. Brady Quinn hits Lance Ball in the flat and he turns for more yardage. Brady throws a pass behind Moreno incomplete and then hooks up with Dante Rosario. Adam Weber throws a completion to Dan Gronkowski and another to Jeremiah Johnson. HORN.
2-minute Water Break
Special Teams. Punt protection drills on my right and Field Goal practice to my left. For the Field Goals, just the kickers, the holder and the Long Snapper work together. The Punt Pro has two groups working side by side. David Bruton calls the signals for the first unit and Darcel McBath for the two's. 5 minutes later, coach Rodgers calls for the Field Goal Unit. Matt Prater makes Field Goals from the 20, 25, 32 and misses right at 40. Steven Hauschka makes 26, 32 and 40 yarders. HORN.
The ball is placed at the 35 yard line and it is time for the "End of Game" drill. The situation is, there's 1:42 left on the clock, our team is ahead by a touchdown and they must run out the clock. Willis McGahee runs for 5 yards, but the Defense stops him on the next carry. The defense calls a Time out. 1:14 left on the clock, 3rd and 5 to go. Orton hits Eric Decker on a quick screen and Decker takes off upfield for a 20 yard gain. Kyle kneels down for the win. The second unit gets a chance with the same scenario. Tim Tebow hands off to Brandon Minor, who cuts back for a nice run and gets a 1st down. The first kneel down is muffed by movement on the Offensive Line, but Tebow completes two more kneel downs for the win. The ball gets placed on the 40 yard line. I notice a Defensive Line made up of Robert Ayers, Jeremy Jarmon, Jeremy Beal, Kevin Vickerson and Elvis Dumervil against a 2 Tight End set by the Offense. I am unsure what is happening here, but Orton heaves a quick bomb towards Brandon Lloyd that he was never going to catch up to. Then Tebow comes in and does the same exact thing. HORN.
The ball is placed at the 20 for Red Zone drills. In a 2 Tight End set, Knowshon Moreno is stuffed at the line. From a 2 back set, Orton passes to Eddie Royal on a reverse screen and Eddie scores. Ball on the 15 now. Orton throws a fade to the right corner for Matthew Willis, who is well covered by Cassius Vaughn IN-COM-PLETE. Kyle to Royal in the End Zone is dropped. Brian Dawkins was there. On the next play, Dawkins harasses Julius Thomas big time and the rookie earns a catch from Orton (great play by JT). After a broken play, Brady Quinn is intercepted by Perrish Cox in the End Zone. Quinn connects with Eron Riley at the 10 yard line. Tebow sees Virgil Green covered and looks to run, but stops short and throws it away through the End Zone. Then Tebow rushes a quick sideline pass to Jamel Hamler, but it is behind the receiver and skipping off the ground. Adam Weber hands off to C.J. Gable, who loses 2 yards. Weber finds D'Andre Goodwin in the End Zone for a TD. HORN.
Another 2 Minute Water Break.
The Line Of Scrimmage is the 40 yard line. Orton passes to Brandon Lloyd for 7 yards. Knowshon Moreno runs 3 yards for a 1st down. Elvis Dumervil beats Orlando Franklin for a Sack on Kyle. Moreno runs for another 4 yards and then Orton finds Willis McGahee in the flat. Willis gets 7 yards and goes out of bounds. Brady Quinn finds Eric Decker for 10 yards. McGahee gets 6 yards on two carries. Quinn passes to Britt Davis for a 10 yard gain. Lance Ball runs for 15 yards and Offensive Line coach praises his pupils. Jeremiah Johnson runs for 4 yards. Tebow throws a screen pass to Jeremiah that goes for 15 yards. Then runs for 15 more. Tebow runs a Quarterback Draw. Brandon Minor cuts back for a 5 yard carry. HORN.
Special Teams. Live punts from the End Zone vs. the Scout team. Eddie Royal, Eric Decker and David Anderson are back fielding punts. After a half dozen reps, they move up to midfield and begin anew. On the far field, coach Burns takes the Gunners through a tip drill for downing a punt near the End Zone using a Soccer ball. Meanwhile coach Rodgers has the 1's and 2's taking reps. There are mini cones laid across the 30 yard line to indicate coverage lanes. The Punt protection/coverage unit goes full speed for 20 yards and into their lane responsibilty. The Gunners return to the near field and line up 20 yards away from the return man and then break on him at the sound of coach Burns' whistle. The last 3 reps are live for the Gunner's to down the punts. HORN.
The ball is placed on the 25 yard line with the Offense moving toward midfield. 11 on 11 first teams. The scenario: Short yardage drills. The situation: 3rd and 1. Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee and Lance Ball convert on consecutive carries with the 1st team. The 2nd team is directed by Tebow. Brandon Minor gets stuffed (it looked like the snap may have been bad). Jeremiah Johnson gets the ball on a toss left, but Derrick Harvey is there to tackle him for a loss. C.J. Gable is also stuffed at the line (the 2nd string O-Line just isn't getting a push). The Offense and Defense change directions and the ball is placed on the 5 yard line. Short yardage Goal Line drill. On the first carry, Knowshon is strung out by Brian Dawkins for no gain. Orton hits Gronkowski for a touchdown off play-action. Willis McGahee gets to the 2 yard line. Lance Ball is stuffed at the line and Brandon Minor gets to the 1 yard line. Adam Weber gets a few reps. HORN.
End of practice huddle. Today the Offense rebounded and had a better day than the Defense, who didn't fare too bad themselves. The Wide Receivers draw Autograph duty and I get Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal, Eric Decker, Britt Davis, Eron Riley, Matthew Willis, D'Andre Goodwin and Demaryius Thomas to sign my Bronco ball caps. I somehow miss David Anderson and Jamel Hamler, but hey 8 for 10 isn't too bad.