After cutting off a Raiders fan two blocks from the Denver Broncos practice facility, a very empty parking lot awaits. I hold out hope for another Training Camp session with a small cozy crowd, but that is not to be. A cloudless sky promises another hot practice, so I seek a little shade at the 50 yard line once more. Brock Osweiler is the first player to come out onto the field. He begins to play soft toss with an assistant as more fans enter the complex. HORN.
The Special Teams punt protection and coverage unit practice their blocking schemes and "get offs." Meanwhile the security staff informs us that Friday’s walkthrough will now be closed to the public. That means there are only two more Camp practices left.
Ty Warren, Tracy Porter, Tyler Grisham, Keith Brooking, Tyler Grisham and Danny Trevathan remained sidelined. The latter three do participate in the team stretch though. HORN.
The Offense goes through a 15 minute walkthrough and then, team stretches. Wide Receivers coach Tyke Tolbert plays catch with a young fan on the sideline and probably makes his day, After that, the players disperse into their individual position drills. After a quick look at my Twitter feed, I see that former Bronco John Lynch and former Avalanche Joe Sakic are visiting practice today. HORN.
During positional drills, I notice Running Backs coach Eric Studdesville is riding his unit pretty hard. He even comments, "Alright, let’s go! Broncos got work to do today!" HORN.
The first 11 on 11 segment begins with a bad snap by JD Walton. Wesley Woodyard pounces on the ball and takes off for the End Zone with Chris Kuper chasing him. The Offense gets back on track with a Peyton Manning pass to Jacob Tamme. Matt Willis makes a catch against Drayton Florence. Then Eric Decker gets mauled by Drayton. A reverse screen to Joel Dreesen is executed well. Manning hits Andre "Bubba" Caldwell deep with Chris harris and Rahim Moore blanketing him.
Adam Weber can’t connect with Julius Thomas. Caleb Hanie completes to Greg Orton with Robert Ayers applying pressure. Hanie’s next pass intended for Mark Dell is broken up in the End Zone by Syd’Quan Thompson, who may have interfered with Dell. Brock Osweiler makes a late pass to Austin Sylvester and then hits Gerell Robinson on a dig route near the sideline. Brock completes a pass off of play action to Jeremiah Johnson who runs a wheel route. Peyton Manning calls the Defense offsides on the play. HORN.
This time, the 11 on 11’s concentrate on the running game, starting at the 35 yard line. Willis McGahee is stuffed by Joe Mays. Then Willis rushes for 2 yards and 6 yards on successive plays. Knowshon Moreno runs for a couple of yards and I see Chris Kuper get up off the ground holding his left wrist. We all know by now, that Kupe broke a bone in his forearm and will be recovering for another 6 weeks. At least that will give his leg longer to heal since he was trying to come back a little early from that injury. Manny Ramirez took his place for the remainder of practice. After Peyton Manning passes to Joel Dreesen, Moreno gains 5 yards around the left side.
Osweiler relieves Manning and hands off to Lance Ball, who gets 5 yards. Ball is stopped for negative yardage on a toss left. Ronnie Hillman takes off around the left end for about 12 yards. On his next carry, Hillman is tackled for a loss by Sealver Siliga. Hillman is stuffed again, losing a yard by trying to run up the middle. This pretty much proves the point that Hillman is not an inside runner. Xavier Omon gets stuffed and Manning tells the Offense that someone’s "Gotta take the Linebacker." Omon runs for 10 tough yards on his next carry, getting 5 of those after contact. Jeremiah Johnson runs for 3 tough yards and then gains six yards eliciting an "Atta Boy" from his position coach. HORN.
The 40 second play clock is in use and the Chain gang sets up shop on the sidelines just to impede my view. The team is continuing where they left off with the hard work and competitiveness. The line of scrimmage is the 44 yard line as we observe 7 on 7’s.
Peyton Manning completes a swing pass to Willis McGahee. Then Champ Bailey breaks up a deep pass intended for Eric Decker. After an incompletion to Joel Dreesen, Rahim Moore breaks up a pass meant for Bubba Caldwell. Manning hits Demaryius Thomas deep for a touchdown with Champ defending, then finishes his reps with an outlet pass to Moreno.
Caleb Hanie passes deep for Greg Orton, but the pass is broken up by Omar Bolden. Hanie hits Knowshon Moreno with Nate Irving defending, then caleb finds Gerell Robinson for a touchdown in double coverage. Bolden and Rafael Bush were defending. Adam Weber completes a dump off to Xavier Omon and then hits Gerell Robinson on a crossing route.
Weber throws a deep pass to Jason Hill, who hauls it in. Brock Osweiler’s pass for Greg Orton is broken up by Ramzee Robinson. He then overthrows Mark Dell through the End Zone. HORN.
Special Teams work on punt protection as an assistant pulls a portable goal post over to the 20 yard line. This goal post has adjustable upright and they are set at approximately half the normal width. When coach Rodgers is satisfied with the punt protection drill, he calls for the 1st team Field Goal unit. With the ball spotted at the 50, Matt Prater makes it through both sets of goal posts, the narrow one at the 20 and the stationary one in the back of the End Zone. (Basically a 30 yard FG that would have been good at 50 yards). They move back seven yards to the 43 and this next attempt is wide right (from my skewed view). Moving back to the 38, the kick is good. They move back once more to the 28 and that kick is good also. John Fox is happy with the drill, as he comes over to give Prater a fist bump. After another 40-yarder, a fake attempt is ran, then Prater converts a 30 yard Field Goal to end the segment. HORN.
Situational drill time with the 1st team Offense vs, the 2nd team Defense. The scenario is 1:54 left in the 4th Quarter with a 6 point lead and one timeout at the far 35 yard line. The goal is to make a first down and run out the clock.
Willis McGahee runs for 2 yards and then 3 yards. On 3rd and 5, Peyton tries a hard count, but the left side of the O-Line is the side that moves. 3rd and 12. Manning passes to Demaryius Thomas who goes out of bounds at the 1st down marker. Coach rodgers (who is officiating) calls it short. It was right in front of me and I felt it was too close to call. They settle for a "Gimme" and the second unit steps up for a try.
Brock Osweiler leads the "Twos." Ronnie Hillman carries the ball for a 4 yard gain. On 2nd and 5, Hillman gets tackled for a 3 yard loss by Justin Bannan. Now by my reckoning, it’s 3rd and 9, but the scoreboard on the building and the Down marker both sat 2nd and 9. The point is made moot by Ronnie Hillman, who runs around the left side for 11 yards and goes out of bounds with 1:04 remaining on the clock. Osweiler takes a knee to start the clock running again, but he still has to run one more play. As he takes a knee a second time, Mike McCoy gets on his case about snapping the ball too soon. There was still 15 seconds that could have run off before the snap.
They run another drill where it is 4th and 10 with 4 seconds remaining, with the team ahead by one. Caleb Hanie gets a shot at this drill and throws a deep incompletion. Adam Weber throws an incomplete pass, but time is left on the clock. HORN. I can’t say as I really understood that drill.
11 on 11’s in the Red Zone. Wesley Woodyard is talking it up again. Peyton Manning throws a touchdown pass to Joel Dreesen with Champ Bailey covering. Manning passes for Chris Gronkowski and my view is impeded. The ball either bounces off Gronk’s helmet or Von Miller breaks up the pass. Either way it’s IN-COM-PLETE. Lance Ball takes an inside handoff in for a touchdown from 10 yards out. Manning hits Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown, then misses Joel Dreesen on a fade.
Knowshon Moreno is stuffed for a loss by Derrick Wolfe. Then Moreno gets mad and throws the ball at Elvis Dumervil, so they start scrapping. Talk about a mismatch, I think somebody is SAUCED again. Play continues with Osweiler passing for Jason Hill. The play is broken up by Syd’Quan Thompson. Brock’s next attempt is complete to Julius Thomas, who comes up limping and favoring his right lower leg.
Adam Weber tries to hit Gerell Robinson on a quick slant from the 5 yard line, but the pass is completely behind Gerell. The pair try to connect again, this time on a fade pattern, but the pass is broken up by Tony Carter. Then Caleb Hanie passes complete to Mark Dell short of the End Zone. (Note to Hanie: When there are 5 yards left to score, don’t throw a 2, 3 or 4 yard pass, knucklehead). hanie tries for Dell again, but it’s broken up by Syd’Quan Thompson. HORN.
In the next segment, the No Huddle is used exclusively. Manning takes the 1st team downfield and scores a touchdown. The play sequence went like this: A catch by Eric Decker. 8 yards rushing on two carries by Lance Ball. A completion to Joel Dreesen, with Peyton yelling, Let’s go, Let’s go,Let’s go!" After Drayton Florence drops a sure interception, Manning lays a pass into Dreesens hans for the score.
The play is reset for the second team, Brock Osweiler hands off to Jeremiah Johnson for 5 yards. Then hits Bubba Caldwell is being very well covered by Tony Carter. (I don’t know how he made that catch). Osweiler scrambles for about 12 yards, then passes complete to Gerell Robinson for another 7 yards. Xavier Omon gets 3 yards and then is tackled for a 2 yard loss by Robert Ayers and Rafael Bush.
Caleb Hanie from the 35 yard line passes to Austin Sylvester, who gets planted by Steven Johnson. Hanie’s next pass is intended for Jeremiah Johnson, but falls incomplete. HORN,
After a water break, the Special Teams do live punt drills against the Red Hats (Scouts). Britton Colquitt is punting from his own 45 yard line and trying to pin the return man deep, while the Gunners attempt to down the ball. 10 minutes later, the HORN sounds.
Another situational drill. The scenario: Tie game, :59 left in the 4th Quarter, no timeouts and the ball is on the Offense’s own 40 yard line. The goal is to kick a Field Goal to win the game.
Peyton Manning hits Demaryius Thomas for 12 yards and DT goes out of bounds to stop the clock. This is followed by a pass to Jacob Tamme down the seam. The Offense quickly lines up and Manning tries to hit Demaryius Thomas again, but the pass is incomplete with 29.8 seconds left. Manning takes the snap, curls around and slides to run time off the clock, then spikes the ball with 6.1 seconds left. Matt Prater converts from 43 yards.
Osweiler gets a chance to lead the second unit. He passes complete to Matt Willis in the middle, then scrambles for 7 yards. Brock tries to connect with Bubba Caldwell in the sideline, but Tony Carter breaks up the play with 11.7 seconds left at the 48 yard line. The next pass is thrown away, with David Bruton and Rafael Bush collide. 6,2 seconds remain and the next pass goes incomplete.
Coach Fox calls for the 2-point conversion drill. Lance Ball takes the first try and gets nowhere on an inside handoff. No Good. Switching groups, Adam Weber connects with Jason Hill on a fade to convert the try. The final HORN sounds and practice is over.
Overall, my take is that the team is going to finish this week strong and that is miles ahead of where they were at this time last year. Not having a Lockout impede the development of the team seems to be very significant.
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