Special Teams begin practice just like every other day. This time they are working on getting the snap off and Punt protection. The Jugs machine shoots punts for Matt Willis, Syd’Quan Thompson, Omar Bolden, Tony Carter, Drayton Florence and Eric Decker. The returners are using a towel folded up into a skinny strip. The towel is placed across the front of the players torso (at the numbers) and held there with their arms. This is so they keep their arms tucked in as they field a punt. Last year, we saw a similar drill, but the players had a football tucked under each elbow and had to hold onto them while they fielded the punt. A few players have difficulty with this drill at first, but they soon get the hang of it. It is still hard to say who will return punts this season, but one thing is for sure, there’s no shortage of opinion on the subject. HORN.
The Offense gathers to work on the Run Offense. Other members of the offense put on a scout jersey, so the Quarterback can designate the "Mike" Linebacker for blocking assignments. Chris Kuper is in at Right Guard and Chris Clark fills in for Orlando Franklin. Ryan Harris will also see some time at Right Tackle throughout practice today. The Offense runs single and two back sets. I also observe a "Jumbo" package with one Wide Receiver, one Tight End, two Running Backs and two Left Tackles. Ryan Harris sets up to the immediate left of Ryan Clady. I bet they even have a cool name for this package.
Caleb Hanie rotates in at Quarterback and Peyton Manning dons a blue scout jersey and sets up at Right Cornerback. The second team O-Line consists of (from left to right) Adam Grant, Manny Ramirez, CJ Davis, Tony Hills and Ryan Harris today. Manning tells Hanie to pick up the pace, "Lets Go!"
It is more than apparent that Manning is up to speed and he isn’t going to wait on the rest of the team. They had better keep up.
Adam Weber takes a couple of snaps before the HORN.
1 on 11’s with the 1st teams. Manny Ramirez is in at Right Guard. The Offense works on the Passing game and the Defense more or less just lets them do their work. They aren’t giving very much effort at all during this time. This is where the offense is getting their work in. Plus, the plays are all being run at half speed. Peyton does call some audibles and the Defense begins to comply with a Corner Blitz or a stunt on the line. Demaryius Thomas turns into the Hot Receiver during one situational audible. Chris Kuper rotates in for Ramirez and Manny moves to Center. They run a few more plays and then the HORN.
Stretch time turns into the individual drills with the position coaches. A new drill is being conducted today by receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. The coach is standing there and the receivers must run towrds him from the side. They run their route past him and behind him. Then an intern passes the ball while the coach waives his hands to distract the Receiver. He isn’t trying to tip the ball (though he could), merely forcing his charges to concentrate. Jason Hill is the only player to drop a pass during this drill and he takes a Mulligan and gets it right the second time. Brandon Stokely makes a nice catch that I didn’t quite see all of. He had to go to the ground to make the grab and the crowd reacted to the play.
I see Knowshon Moreno catch a pass on a quick slant, turn it upfield and accelerate. He is still wearing a knee brace, but i don’t see any other sign of his injury, because he isn’t limping. Mario Fannin is also wearing a brace and he has a noticeable limp.
The Quarterbacks assemble to work in tandem with the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends in the Red Zone area. There are some really good catches during this segment. HORN.
Another 11 on 11 session ensues. Chris Kuper is in at Right Guard. On the first play (at ¾ speed), the receivers are covered and Manning must throw it away. This time the Security guy is alert. The next two passes go incomplete as well. Manning is running through his normal chatter and calls audibles on some plays.
The second string rotates in. Caleb Hanie takes off running, but I believe a defender was there for the Sack. On the next play Hanie leads Greg Orton too much and it falls incomplete. I notice Jeremy Beal getting pressure from the Right Defensive End position. Jason Hunter comes up with a "touch" Sack on Caleb.
Adam Weber’s first pass is complete to Matt Willis, who has the ball knocked out upon contact. Beal picks up the Fumble and takes off. Joshua Moore gets a hand in to break up the next pass, which is intended for D’Andre Goodwin. The two try again and successfully complete a pass, but not without me noticing Derrick Wolfe applying pressure in the backfield.
Brock Osweiler hooks up with Tyler Grisham and on the following play, Cyril Obiozor and Jamie Blatnick are there for the Sack on Brock. HORN.
On my left, 9 on 9 Rushing drills commence and to my right, the daily Wide Receiver/Cornerback duels begin. My attention gets split between the two, especially when I hear pads clashing. Still, the passing battle is the more exciting to watch. I see Joshua Moore break up a pass intended for Matt Willis. Syd’Quan Thompson applies a hit to dislodge the ball from Tyler Grisham. I think that was a "Welcome to the NFL rookie!" moment between them.
Demaryius Thomas makes a catch against Champ Bailey. Then Manning passes to Eric Decker, who puts a double move on Drayton Florence to gain separation, but the defender closes and deflects the pass at the last moment. I told you it was exciting.
I hear a commotion at the running dill and look over to see Adam Grant and Jason Hunter mixing it up.
Meanwhile Champ Bailey and Demaryius Thomas match up part 2 results in an incompletion deep downfield, with both players having a chance at the ball. Next, Brandon Stokely schools Chris Harris and Mark Dell "stone hands" a Manning pass.
The running drill is getting lively. I can hear loud pops and vocal action as well.
Tony Carter jumps the route and goes for the interception, but Demaryius Thomas puts it away and turns it up for an easy six points.
I see Mario Fannin get some tough yardage. Then Elliot Coffey drills Xavier Omon. Ronnie Hillman gets good yardage on a nice run. HORN.
6 on 8’s passing game drills. Manning hits Decker on a crossing pattern with Von Miller in tow. Caleb hanie sails a pass over everyone, then his next throw is dropped by Mark Dell, who is wearing #15. The guy next to me says, "what is it with the number 15 and the Broncos?"
Hanie throws behind Cornelius Ingram, but the Tight End makes the catch. Adam Weber connects with Matt Willis, then hits Tyler Grisham, who hauls in the pass over his shoulder a la Dave Casper. HORN.
A water break ensues and then the Special Teams goes back to work. This time the punt coverage unit will work against the "scouts." ST’s coach Jeff Rodgers has specific instruction for the "Red Hats" to ensure the coverage team gets good looks. Britton Colquitt is punting to Tony Carter, Syd’Quan Thompson and Drayton Florence
Over on the other field, coach Keith Burns is bouncing a soccer ball towards the goal line. Tip drills for the Gunners on punts near the end zone. HORN.
Another session of 11 on 11 action begins. Kuper is in at right Guard. Willis McGahee goes for 5 yards. Joe Mays gets a touch Sack on Manning, though there was a completion to Eric Decker on the play. Manning hits Knowshon Moreno with a quick pass, but Joe Mays was there and would have thumped Moreno. Knowshon gets a carry and them the "Two’s" are up.
Nate Irving lets an interception go through his hands, one he should have caught. Manny Ramirez with a bad snap. Hanie is able to recover it and throw it away. CJ Davis immediately replaces Ramirez at Center.
Andre Caldwell runs an End around and Jeremy Beal is there to force him inside. Ronnie Hillman does some good running in traffic, driving through contact.
Manning is cheering on Brock Osweiler. The rookie completed an outlet pass to Lance Ball with a quick decision under pressure. Caleb Hanie throws to Cornelius Ingram. HORN.
Peyton Manning paases to Willis McGahee on a wheel route. Eric Decker tries the End around on the next play, but Tracy Porter is there to ruin the play for the Offense. Manning complete to Decker as the Offense drives down the field.Manning throws a fade to Brandon Stokely for a touchdown.
Osweiler comes in an promptly throws a touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell on a scramble to the right. A good play by the rookie. Jeremiah Johnson takes off through the middle for a good 8 yards.
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning comes over to the crowd and shares some Gatorade with a fan. As he returns to watch the action, he removes his wristbands and tosses them to the kid.
Caleb Hanie fakes a handoff in an empty backfield, then turns and overthrows his receiver. Not once, but twice.
Running Backs coach Eric Studdesville gives Ronnie Hillman some vocal instruction regarding a missed assignment. Adam Weber enters the action and throws an incomplete pass. Weber then hits Gerell Robinson on a sideline pass. Xavier Omom tries to bounce a play to the next outside lane, but gets caught in the backfield. Ben Garland gets pressure to Sack Weber. HORN.
The Offense and Defense switch directions and continue 11 on 11’s with the 1st teams. The first play is a deep seam route into double coverage. Eric Decker splits two defenders and makes the catch. That one made the fans cheer. Demaryius Thomas drops a pass from Manning. Peyton passes over one defender to the sideline for Lance Ball, who gets laid out by Rahim Moore. Lance made the catch, but Moore’s hit dislodged the ball.
Moreno catches a swing pass to the right and then Lance Ball gets a carry. The Defense gets a good rush on the next play, but Manning gets the ball to Andre Caldwell, who is being shadowed by none other than Champ Bailey.
Adam Weber comes in at Quarterback. Mario Fannin tries to bounce a run to the outside, but gets nowhere. David Bruton breaks up Weber’s next pass and then Adam completes a good pass to D’Andre Goodwin.
Brock Osweiler hands off to Ronnie Hillman, who weaves his way through the line for 5 yards. Brock throws a good pass to Gerell Robinson, who had Omar Bolden draped all over him. Osweiler’s next pass is broken up. HORN.
Willis McGahee high fives a kid on the sideline as Demaryius Thomas comes over to chat with the veteran running Back. Thomas takes his hand towel tucked in hos pants out and wipes his brow. Then he tosses the towel to a kid in the crowd.
The Special Teams go for one more set of drills. Punt protection and get off. The Jugs machine shoots punts for Tony Carter, Syd’Quan Thompson, Drayton Florence and Tracy Porter. Halfway through the segment, the drill changes from the midpoint of punt coverage pursuit to closing in on the punt returner. HORN.
Back to 11 on 11’s with the 1st teamers. this time they are running a situational sequence. The situation is 3rd down and 1 yard to go. In a 2 back set, Willis McGahee gets six yards. Lance Ball converts the next attempt as JD Walton and Jason Hunter tussle and tempers flare. Ball has another try, but the Defense prevails this time. Wesley Woodyard and Mitch Unrein were there to stuff the run. Lance’s second attempt is successful though.
Ronnie Hillman dives short, but converts on hos second try. Xavier Omon converts his two reps, for 5 and 3 yards respectively. Mario Fannin gets stuffed in the backfoeld. Austin Wuebbels lays a pancake on Malik Jackson. Chris Gronkowski gets a very good lead block for Ronnie Hillman and the play goes for 8 or 9 yards. HORN.
I make three separate attempts at getting Peyton Manning’s autograph, but i am unsuccessful. I didn’t have much of a chance though, as Caleb Hanie and Adam Weber were the only others signing today. Brock Osweiler was carrying pads back to the locker room.
The players don't practice again until August, so I will assemble some of the better pictures that I have been taking tomorrow.
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