I'm back for my second straight day of Broncos training camp. This day was a bit warmer than yesterday (because it was afternoon and not morning), but it felt even hotter when I was standing in line for 2 hours before practice started.
Two hours seems like an extraordinarily long time... because it is. However, I realized that I needed to get there soon if I wanted to get a good seat. The radio was abuzz, this morning, talking about how a bunch of workers were probably taking the afternoon off so they could go to camp. With numbers expected over 5,000, I figured 2 hours should be good enough. I wasn't even close to the front of the line. I was about 80 yards from the front of the line, which was fine. I got a chance to talk with some really cool Broncos fans. I instructed a few first timers about the good places to sit and the prime autograph strategies. They didn't know that it was only my second day. They only knew I had been there before.
Anyways, Kirk and Sayre were running a little bit late, so I took the liberty of saving seats along the 50 yard line (as shown above). I'm telling you this, right now... Kaptain Kirk is a rockstar at training camp. Pretty much everyone we talked to mentioned reading his article before coming out. I don't blame them. He's a master at taking notes and it's super cool to be able to sit right next to him and see how the sausage is made. I tried to help out, when I could, by keeping a line of communication open to cover multiple position drills at the same time, but he pretty much has things down to a science.
Player of the Day
With very little question, it had to be Jeremiah Johnson. That's right. Not Demaryius Thomas (although he did have a pretty solid day) or even Peyton Freaking Manning. Jeremiah Johnson had the crowd cheering loudly on 3 separate occasions, something no other player achieved. One of the plays was featured on denverbroncos.com, where he did a spin move in the backfield and bounced it to the left side before turning the corner. In real game action, it probably only goes for 3 or 4 yards, but the crowd was extremely happy about that spin move.
Another fan favorite was a designed run to the right side. Jeremiah hit the hole and saw that it was closing up. He stuck his foot in the ground and cut it left, across the entire defense, behind the defensive line and in front of the linebackers. He ran for 25 yards and was pushed out of bounds right in front of the crowd before being barraged with cheers and screams. "Good work, JJ!!!", shouted one fan to my right. He was correct. It was very good work. That play happened right as the horn blew, so the crowd continued cheering for Jeremiah "You ever skin a grizz'?" Johnson...
He went over to coach Eric Studesville, who using hand motions illustrating his cut back to the left side of the field. I couldn't hear what they said and I'm not talented enough to read lips, so I won't assume to know whether he was pleased or not with the run. The crowd was, though. It was a 5 yard gain before the cutback and a 25ish yard run afterwards.
- If you get a chance to attend training camp, you will see Brandon Stokley and Eric Decker going against each other in wide receiver drills. I can't think of a single player that I'd rather have working with Eric Decker, to be honest.
- Demaryius Thomas and Champ Bailey are fun to watch. They're almost always matched up against each other in 7 on 7's and 11 on 11's and they almost always draw my attention. There were a couple times where the crowd would say something like "C'mon Champ..." when DT would catch a pass or "Dangit, DT" when Champ would make a deflection. I just shook my head. These are two players that are some of the best in the league. If Thomas beats Champ, I take that as a great sign for our offense. When Champ makes a play, I smile because we're blessed to have a double digit pro bowl attendee and future hall of famer anchoring our defensive backfield. Just enjoy the show, folks.
- I noticed Brandon Stokley and Peyton Manning picking on Chris Harris a few times in redzone wide receiver vs. defensive back drills. Stokley ran toward the right side endzone pylon and then Peyton Manning put the ball perfectly on his back shoulder. Afterwards, Chris Harris was flailing his arms in frustration. Honestly, there's not much that could have been done. A while later, I noticed Harris and Stokley were matched up again. This time, Peyton threw the same ball on the same route and Harris was able to break up the play. Later still, in 11 on 11 redzone installs, he was again matched up with Brandon Stokley. This time, Stokley ran a short crossing route and had Harris trailing his route. Peyton threw it and Chris Harris stuck his paws in there to tip the ball in the air. It was caught for a touchdown, but that wasn't the fault of Harris. Anyway, the point of all this is that Chris Harris gets frustrated, at times, but Chris Harris is a ball player. Last year, he was making tackles, left and right, and after seeing him learn in training camp, I can understand why.
- It's clear to me that Brock Osweiler should be the number 2 quarterback. He is no Peyton Manning, obviously, but he's shown a lot of flashes in the past few days of practice that Adam Weber and Caleb Hanie just haven't. He also runs a particularly good bootleg. I thought I was watching Jake Plummer out there, today, during a few plays.
- Peyton Manning has location like I have never seen. He threaded the needle on a deep touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas over two defenders. I've seen all I need to see. For those people who think his arm strength isn't there, you're dead wrong. Come watch him, in person.
- Knowshon Moreno dropped a swing pass and did pushups for his mistake.
- There were two fights today. That was kind of interesting. I was minding my own business watching Manning and the receivers work on the south side and then I heard commotion on the north side where about 15 offensive linemen and defensive linemen are piled all over each other. I saw one orange jersey (defense) covered by 8 or 9 white jerseys (offense). I heard "Let him go! Let him go! Get up!". Not sure what that was all about, but I think it's about time for a preseason game. It gets frustrating to hit the same person day after day and we're starting to see that frustration boil to the surface.
Today, I was blessed to receive some extraordinary autographs. As many of you know, I am from Kentucky. That's why my articles are titled "KB" something, by the way. I was formerly known as "kentuckybronco". Another thing that you newcomers may not know about me is that I grew up in northern Kentucky (near Cincinnati) and am a student at the University of Louisville, Elvis Dumervil's alma mater.
The defensive linemen were signing things during this afternoon's practice, so I had the wonderful privilege of meeting a few of my favorite players. The first, of course, was Elvis Dumervil. I waited patiently as he signed autographs for some kids. Of course, rule number 1 of autographs is that kids are first. After he had signed for the kids, I had my chance. I pulled out my University of Louisville student ID (Cardinal Card, as it's known in my circles) and said, "Hey Elvis! I came from Louisville to see you. I brought my cardinal card and everything." Doom was in autograph mode, with his head down, but after I said the magic words and flashed the cardinal card up in the air with my hat, his ears perked up and he looked straight at me, smiling, and said, "that's a long way." He grabbed it, signed it, and I said thank you.
About 15 yards to the left, I saw Derek Wolfe. He is very approachable and engaging with the fans. Every time I've ever seen him, he has had a smile on his face. Today was no different. I went over and made sure to follow rule number 1 of autographs. After patiently waiting my turn, I told him the same thing I told Dumervil, minus the Cardinal Card. I told him I grew up in Florence, KY and he replied, "Ah, I know where that is." I said, "if you need a ride home, I'm headed that way. Let me know if you want to carpool." He chuckled.
I traveled 1200+ miles from Kentucky to Broncos training camp and was blessed to receive autographs from Elvis Dumervil and Derek Wolfe. Could this trip get any better? I'll let you know after tomorrow's scrimmage at Mile High.
I hope to see some of you tomorrow at the stadium.