It is sweltering hot when I arrive at the Denver Broncos Training complex at Dove Valley. Thankfully, Troy saved me a spot with some shade. We are sitting at the 48 yard line today. Troy thinks there will be another record attendance figure and boldly predicts 6,000+ fans will be here for this practice. If that happens, I don’t know where they’ll put them. The HORN signals the beginning of another Full pad practice.
As usual, Special Teams leads off practice. there are two parts to this session. Coach Keith Burns is working with a punt returner and two lead blockers, or what’s left of a legal wedge. Right in front of my position, ST Coordinator Jeff Rodgers works with the Kick coverage team. He makes sure they don’t go offsides during the kickoff, maintain lane coverage responsibility and pinch toward the return man. I notice Tyler Grisham, Ronnie Hillman, Greg Orton and Orlando Franklin on the sideline in shorts. The kickoff unit lines up and simulates an Onside Kick drill. They run through the drill 3 or 4 times with Rodgers explaining what he wants to see. HORN.
The players immediately assemble for an 11 on 11 session. The tempo of practice seems to be accelerating by increments each day. Jason Hunter, Ty Warren, Justin Bannan and Elvis Dumervil fill out the starting front four today. Chris Kuper takes the first reps at Right Guard, but rotates regularly with Manny Ramirez for the entire practice. Orlando Franklin is at Right Tackle for this segment, even though he is in shorts, The pace of the plays are at walk-through to ¼ speed, so the big man is safe without a helmet. Peyton Manning stop the first play before the snap to address an issue with Joel Dreesen and then play continues. I finally get a glimpse of the Nickel package next. Von Miller slides to the Left End or edge rusher position, Derek Wolfe and Mitch Unrein are the Tackles and of course, Elvis Dumervil is at Right End. Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard are the Linebackers and Chris Harris takes the Nickel back position, replacing the Left End.
Bubba Caldwell has some blue cleats on today. First it was gold cleats, then it was Orange cleats. Man, you talk about a collection. I’ll bet that he even has some pink cleats for breast cancer awareness month too. HORN.
Stretch time. I see that the replacement referees are back again. I also see some visitors and wonder who the big guys are shaking hands with some of the coaches. I find out later that the Colorado University football coaches are visiting. I also spot Billy Thompson and Larry Brunson. Those two seem to always turn up together, as I have seen them on multiple occasions. After the stretch session ends, the players huddle up and break it down with a hearty Saa-Lute! HORN.
The players break off into their position drills. I see Peyton Manning grab the ball from an intern and quickly pass it to another intern 15 yards away. He repeats this maneuver in rapid succession at least four times. After that, he switches to the other side The other three QB’s follow suit. HORN.
I notice the Defensive Line going over to the short field on the other side of the VIP tents. A few minutes later I find out why. They are attacking a blocking sled and by the sound of it, I’d say that they are winning. The Quarterbacks are now working with the Running Backs in a handoff drill and using the running lane mats. Manning says, "Come on guys, this ain’t no walkthrough."
A whistle blows and the RB’s go to work with Eric Studdesville while the QB’s join the Tight Ends and Wide Receivers running tandem passing drills. This drill is like beautiful choreography at a moderate tempo. Manning makes an adjustment, telling the receivers where he wants them in order to avoid the Inside Linebacker. The QB’s also practice looking off the Safety during this drill. HORN.
11 on 11’s. The line of scrimmage is the 20 and the Offense is moving out of the Red Zone towards midfield from my right to left. This time, the Defensive Line is Jason Hunter, Ty Warren, Kevin Vickerson and Dumervil. A play clock is simulated at both ends of the field. The referees and the chain gang are also present.
Von Miller bats a pass down at the line of scrimmage. Then Brandon Stokely has a catch and fumble that Chris Harris recovers and returns down the field. Manning overthrows Demaryius Thomas out of bounds. The 2nd teams roll in with Caleb Hanie at QB. After a Lance Ball run, Hanie bootlegs out to the right and hits Bubba Caldwell for 20 yards. That was the best throw in the run I’ve seen out of Caleb so far. Jeremiah Johnson rips off a 12 yard run, then it’s Adam Weber’s turn.
Weber’s first pass goes right through Caldwell’s hands. His next pass is a quick completion to Cornelius Ingram down the seam. Xavier Omon runs for 5 yards around the left end. Brock Osweiler comes in and rolls out to the right, only to throw the ball away. On the ensuing play, Brock draws the Defense in and dumps off a screen pass to Jeremiah Johnson, who runs across the field and up for 20 yards.
The Offense and Defense switch sides and the line of scrimmage is the 46 yard line. Time for 7 on 7’s. Manning passes deep for Demaryius Thomas, but Champ Bailey gets his hands in there. The ball pops up and Mike Adams dives for the interception but can’t come up with it. Willis McGahee beats Wesley Woodyard for a short reception. A melee breaks out over at the Linemen drills. Sealver Siliga is taking on three Offensive Linemen. Manning completes a pass to Demaryius Thomas, beating Champ Bailey that time. Peyton connects with Bubba Caldwell and then Osweiler returns.
Danny Trevathan pushes Julius Thomas in the back and I don’t know if the faux refs were going to call anything. Brock’s next attempt goes high over almost everybody. Mike Adams gets a hand on it though. Weber finds Gerell Robinson for a catch. Then the two try and hook up again, but Syd’Quan Thompson denies it. Weber finds Julius Thomas then it’s Caleb Hanie’s turn. Hanie passes to Matt Willis and then a pass to Cameron Kenney is broken up by Syd’Quan Thompson. HORN.
The QB’s and receivers move down to the End Zone on my right, while Osweiler is staying with the Linemen. Jason Hunter is in the middle of a skirmish with Chris Kuper. Chris throws Hunter’s helmet and the Defense starts barking like Mad dogs to the delight of the crowd. Knowshon Moreno runs for 7 yards behind Kuper’s lead blocking. The Lance Ball rumbles for a few yards,
Moreno gets another 4-5 yards on his next carry. Xavier Omon gets two carries that net one yard. Mitch Unrein throws Mario Fannin down making a tackle. Jeremiah Johnson runs for another 6-7 yards. Wayne Tribue tussles with Malik Jackson and Jamie Blatnick. All three get invited to the sideline to cool off and Jeremiah Johnson rips off another solid run. Xavier Omon gains two yards. The Offense really got the best of the Defense during this session. HORN.
11 on 11’s from the 25 yard line commence with Peyton Manning hitting Demaryius Thomas on a swing pass and then a touchdown catch in double coverage. Jacob Tamme makes a nice touchdown catch.HORN.
Red Zone 11 on 11’s. Chris Harris tips a Manning pass, but Jacob Tamme catches it for a touchdown, Brock Osweiler has a pass tipped at the line and it is grabbed by David Bruton for a pick six. The ball is moved to the 10 yard line. Jeremiah Johnson runs off the left side for a touchdown. Adam Weber throws to Jason Hill, who can’t make the catch. Jason has been struggling in Camp so far. Caleb Hanie throws a touchdown pass to Cornelius Ingram and then another to Cameron Kenney, who is blanketed by Joshua Moore. HORN. The Defense had the upper hand in that segment.
The ball is moved out to the 44 yard line and the 1st teams continue 11 on 11’s. Peyton Manning connects with Jacob Tamme, then Willis McGahee pushes the pile for 3-4 yards. Peyton completes a quick out to Brandon Stokely before Elvis Dumervil has a chance to get to the Quarterback. Manning tries to hit Tamme on a crossing pattern, but Wesley Woodyard breaks it up.
Caleb Hanie to Knowshon Moreno, who drop the pass out of the backfield. Knowshon atones with a set of push ups. Bubba Caldwell runs for a good 20 yards on an end around. This kid has some speed. Hanie hits Jeremiah Johnson on a swing pass and JJ jukes Nate Irving right out of his jock. Mario Fannin takes an inside handoff for 8 yards.
Brock Osweiler hits Cornelius Ingram on a bootleg rollout to the right. Xavier Omon rushes for 7 yards. Adam Weber’s pass intended for Anthony Miller is broke up by Danny Travathan. Weber sees an open field during the next snap and takes off for a 25 yard gain before sliding to the ground. HORN.
After another session of Kickoff coverage against the scouts, the last segment of the day is another 11 on 11 duel.
Manning’s first pass is incomplete intended for Eric Decker. Lance Ball gets outside for 13 yards. Peyton hits McGahee on a swing pass that is good for 8 yards. Knowshon Moreno runs for 7 yards and six yards on consecutive plays. Jeremiah gains 7 yards. Osweiler completes passes to Matt Willis and Gerell Robinson. ThenXavier Omon os tackled behind the line of scrimmage. Adam Weber is Sacked by Danny Trevathan and then hits Anthony Miller to finish practice. HORN.
This was another good practice. I think the team is building something good.
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