Thursday morning’s Broncos Training Camp practice at Dove Valley was another hot one. I sit with Troy (aka KB) at the 48 yard line, slightly in the shade. At 8:35, Mark Dell is the first player to emerge from the Locker room and he is in full pads. Then, about 15 Defensive players emerge and the sight of Orange jersey’s elicits a cheer from the crowd. A pod (gaggle) of referees is also present for this practice.
The high scattered clouds burn off and i apply a second coat of SPF 30 to my bare skin. The "eye in the sky" elevates to the observation level in a scissor lift and the Jugs machine is set up on the 15 yard line to our left. Peyton Manning is spotted coming out of the building and about 5 minutes later, practice begins with the first HORN.
The Special Teams Unit starting off this morning’s session is the Punt protection/coverage unit. The difference today is that the Gunners are taking part in the drill. Meanwhile, the Jugs machine fores simulated punts (spirals) downfield into the waiting arms of Drayton Florence, Syd’Quan Thompson, Tony Carter, Tracy Porter and Matt Willis. I can see Orlando Franklin, Tyler Grisham and Ronnie Hillman observing practice in shorts. Eric Decker has returned and is decked out in his uniform. HORN.
The 1st team Offense goes to work against other members of the Offense in scout jerseys for Goal Line drills. The "Jumbo" package is lined up. Two Tight Ends, two backs and Tackle Ryan Harris lined up on Left Tackle Ryan Clady’s left. Manny Ramirez is at Right Guard and Chris Clark is at Right Tackle. They run a couple of plays in this package and I see Willis McGahee is getting some attention on one his calves. It must have been something minor like a cramp because he rejoins the huddle and is good to go. The 2nd string comes in for a couple of reps in the Jumbo formation and then the HORN sounds.
The stretching segment begins and I see Demaryius Thomas jog back to the Locker room. He returns just after the stretching session to participate in the position drills. Eric Decker looks fine in the position drills but does not stay on the field after this segment. New Wide Receiver Cameron Kenney is wearing No.19. HORN.
I see the referees are joining practice today, real or fake I don’t know. I also notice that Andre "Bubba" Caldwell has a pair of matching neon Orange socks matched up with his orange cleats and it makes me wonder if he stole them from Von Miller. I ask him later about it and he said that Von stole them from him.
The Quarterbacks are working with the Tight Ends and Wide Receivers, running a dual pattern with two QB’s throwing to two different receivers in the simultaneously down by the Goal line. The Running Backs are catching passes from Eric Studdesville one-handed. Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno are the only ones palm the ball. Then I see Jacob Tamme make a one-handed catch on a fade for a touchdown. HORN.
11 on 11’s begin the next segment. The Offense is running the "Hurry Up" and moving downfield as opposed to keeping the same line of scrimmage. Willis McGahee gets the first two carries for 4 yards and 1 yard respectively. I notice that Jason Hunter is playing at Defensive End instead of Robert Ayers. I find out later that Hunter has outplayed Robert and thus moves up to 1st string. It makes me think about the last five or six 1st round picks and how many have actually done anything for the Broncos. On the other hand, we have Peyton Freaking Manning! Onward and upward.
Willis McGahee rips off an 8 yard gain running behind a lead block from Chris Kuper. Then Kuper rotates out and Manny Ramirez replaces him. I see that Mitch Unrein and Derrick Wolfe are playing the Defensive tackle spots. Knowshon Moreno gets a carry good for about 3 yards and the 2nd team has a turn with Brock Osweiler calling the signals. Lance Ball rushes for 2 yards. The 2nd team Defensive Line has Jeremy Beal, Robert Ayers, Kevin Vickerson and Ty Warren at this time. David Bruton and Rafael Bush are the Safeties. Tony Carter and Omar Bolden are the Corners. I see Knowshon Moreno miss a pass block drop and do a set of push ups. Jeremiah Johnson rumbles for 5 yards and the it’s Adam Weber’s turn. Jeremiah Johnson gets stuffed at the line and tackled for a loss by Sealver Siliga. Xavier Omon has the rush of the day, rumbling for 5 yards, bouncing off of a tackler and ripping off 8 more yards. Caleb Hanie enters and hands off to Fullback Chris Gronkowski, who gets 3 tough yards keeping his feet churning. Mario Fannin gets 5 yards when a defender tries to strip the ball from him. Then he runs for two yards on his next carry. HORN.
Time for 7 on 7’s. Peyton Manning hits McGahee on a swing pass and then finds Brandon Stokely on a crossing route in front of Mike Adams. Peyton completes a quick strike to Demaryius Thomas. Manning to Matt Willis on a comeback route against Champ Bailey. Jason Hill makes a nice sideline catch with Champ Bailey covering him very well. Matt Willis is the next recipient of a Peyton Manning pass, with a catch on a 10 yard deep cross. He then zig zags around Mike Mohamed and through the secondary for some extra yards.
Caleb Hanie comes in and connects with Jason Hill on a quick strike down the seam, then hits Mark Dell on a square in for a second consecutive good pass. The third pass by Hanie is dropped by Cornelius Ingram.
Adam Weber throws a completion to Mark Dell. He then hits Gerell Robinson with a sideline pass and a nice deep throw into over and under coverage to Robinson again. Great pass. HORN.
11 on 11’s with Chris Kuper resuming his duties at Right Guard. Willis McGahee gets 6 yards on a toss right. Manning passes to Brandon Stokely who one-hands it in. I notice Elvis Dumervil, Ty Warren, Mitch Unrein and Jason Hunter along the Defensive Line. Peyton hits Demaryius Thomas and Willis McGahee plants Wesley Woodyard. Demaryius Thomas makes another nice grab and breaks a tackle.
Brock Osweiler connects with Jason Hill on a skinny post and Lance Ball rushes for 4 yards. Jason Hunter and Robert Ayers meet at the QB for a Sack after the pocket crumbled for Osweiler.
Adam Weber completes a nice downfield pass to Gerell Robinson. Weber then hits Xavier Omon on a curl route. Omon runs for a tough 5 yards and dishes out a stiff arm at the end of the run. Caleb Hanie gets the last rep of the segment and is Sacked by Steven Johnson. HORN.
The Special Teams punt protect/coverage unit works against the scouts as Tracy Porter, Tony Carter and Syd’Quan Thompson are back at punt returner. The Gunners practice tip drills as Britton Colquitt supplies the chances for them. Jeremiah Johnson splays out spread eagle to tip a punt out of the end zone where Joshua Moore downs the ball. The scouts provide a nice rush and Chris Harris tips a punt down. HORN.
11 on 11’s. Peyton Manning calls for the Offense to "huddle, huddle, huddle." Time for the Hurry up offense. Lance Ball gets a carry. I see a Defensive Line manned by Elvis Dumervil, Ty Warren, Justin Bannan and Jason Hunter. Peyton tries to hook up with a streaking Demaryius Thomas, but the pass hits Mike Adams in the back. This is followed up with a play action pass to Willis McGahee. Willis rushes for 6 yards. The drive is finished off with a pass to the end zone, but Demaryius Thomas is called for Offensive Pass Interference.
Brock Osweiler comes in to lead the 2nd team. Knowshon Moreno takes a hand off for 7 yards. Osweiler passes for Jason Hill and Defensive Pass Interference is called on the play. Brock tries Jason Hill again for a completion past Tony Carter. Adam Weber comes in and is flushed from the pocket. On the following play Robert Ayers and Jeremy Beal collide in the backfield while attempting to make an Adam Weber Sandwich. Ayers comes up hurting but never leaves the team. HORN.
Switching sides, the 11 on 11’s continue. McGahee runs for 4 yars. Manning hits Demaryius Thomas twice in a row. That;s followed by a 15 yard run by Willis McGahee. Peyton then hits Bay Bat deep for a touchdown between Mike Adams and Rahim Moore.
Osweiler and the 2nd teamers take their turn. Xavier Omon gets a yard. Caleb Hanie throws a high wobbler incomplete out of bounds. Duke Ihenacho hits Mario Fannin to knock a completion out of his hands. HORN.
The Field Goal unit makes it’s first appearance in a public practice session. Two fake Field Goals are attempted and to tell you the truth, I don’t think I want to see that again. Starting spot is the 25 yard line. Prater misses a few left and one right. They move the spot back ward. Prater tries again and is successful.
The team lines up for Goal Line drills. David Bruton picks off Britton Colquitt on a fake Fiield Goal. Prater hits from 40 yards and then the final HORN sounds.
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