After a whirlwind 36 hours for the Broncos, which saw them flw from San Francisco to Denver to Dallas, the Broncos practiced along with the Cowboys this morning, generating a performace indicative of the hurried travel schedule. Andrew Mason has all the details right here, with the best of the best below --
WHO'S WHERE: Wide receiver Brandon Marshall worked with the first team and expects to make his game debut Saturday night. "I'll play this week," he said. He added that while the physical portion of his recovery was complete, he still had some work to do in order to make it back to 100 percent, but that "it's mental now. It's all mental." ...
... Nate Webster lined up with the first team at strongside linebacker ...
... Amon Gordon remained with the first team at defensive tackle alongside Sam Adams. Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger rounded out the first-team defensive line ...
... Moss saw time in the first-team long-yardage defense at end opposite Elvis Dumervil ...
... Chris Myers filled in for Ben Hamilton at left guard with the first team.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS: Following individual and group drills, the teams faced off in nine-on-seven, seven-on-seven and team work ... On special teams, the Broncos worked on their punt and field-goal rush against Dallas' punt and field-goal units ... The teams also worked extensively in one-on-one work, with Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall and Quincy Morgan among those who made solid receptions.
STANDOUT PLAYS: Domenik Hixon and David Kircus each logged leaping grabs near the sidelines ... Travis Henry picked up where he left off Monday night, burrowing through the Dallas front for extra yardage in team work ... After allowing some big plays, the defense began to stiffen as practice progressed, with Jim Bates' exhortations audible from 100 yards away as his defenders recorded a series of stops in third-down situations.
At the end of the session, Shanny took some time to speak to the assembled masses. Much of the questioning dealt with the Broncos first trip to the Dallas area since the funeral for Darrent Williams and it was obvious that their fallen teammate and his family were at the forefront of the players' minds --
"Yeah, it's good. It's good for us. It's pretty hot in Denver right now to be honest with you, so it's good for both teams."
On practicing against another team --
"You're in the third week of two-a-days, so it's always nice to work against somebody else. You get a real good feel for your own personnel. To go against somebody different is a plus and then to go against a different scheme both offensively and defensively. I think it helps both teams. What we're trying to do is get them ready for everything. They all have a good feel for what we do offensively and defensively by the third week of camp and after going through 17 OTA days, they get a very good feel about not only what you're doing but your personnel doing it. So to go in these conditions is a really big benefit for Dallas and ourselves."
On working against a 3-4 defense --
"Well, we work against the 3-4 all through the preseason. Our first three games are 3-4 teams. We'll see it a number of times this year, and it's just the opposite for Dallas. They see a number of four-man fronts this year, so both teams get to work against things they're going to see during the season not necessarily what your offense or defense uses. We use a little bit more of a zone-blocking scheme than Dallas does. Dallas will use a little bit more power and counters than we do, so it's good for both defenses and offenses to see a little different look."
On honoring Darrent Williams and Damien Nash this season --
"We've done a lot since the end of the season relative to Darrent Williams and Damien Nash. I'm not going to get into to detail right now about exactly everything we have done, but I guarantee you there's a lot of thought that went into it and obviously there's a lot of emotion behind our football team toward both players and toward this season as well and their memory."
On DT Gerard Warren --
"When I know something about Gerard, I'll let you guys know."
On being back near Darrent Williams' hometown of Ft. Worth, Texas --
"Any time you have a young man pass away 24 years of age, obviously it's a very tough situation for every member on this football team. Obviously his family is around here. Hopefully we'll play very well, so there are a bunch of questions about Damien Nash and Darrent Williams this season, and we can honor their memory as best as we can."
On if Darrent Williams' mother will visit the Broncos while practicing in Dallas --
"I really don't know to be honest with you. She obviously has been invited. She's still going through a very tough time watching us play, and she's going to be at a game this season to honor her along with Damien Nash's mom."
On how the Cowboys look --
"I think the Cowboys are one of the few teams that have the opportunity in the NFC to go to the Super Bowl. I look at probably five of them, obviously I won't call off all of their names right now, but the Dallas Cowboys have a very strong football team offensively and defensively and it's great to work against them."
On the competition between both teams at practice --
"Obviously they are very competitive guys, they want to be out here, but at the same time we understand we're servicing each other. It's a practice format. It's not a live game situation. In a game situation when everybody is going full speed, it's much different than this. I think we have two class organizations that know how to work against each other, so I'd be surprised if anything comes up."
On the Broncos coming back to Texas for the first time since Williams' funeral --
"We've talked about it many of times. I think they're coping very well, as good as possible under these circumstances. We've talked about it quite often, and as you've mentioned it's almost brought up every day over the last three of four days and obviously coming back here, his home, and his family is in this area. We're going to embrace his memory as much as we can and at the same time go about his business."
On WR Javon Walker dealing with Williams' death --
"Javon has handled it very well. There are a number of people that have been in this situation before and obviously it's very tough to go through and Javon is handling it as well as anybody could possibly handle it under these circumstances."
On Jason Garrett and the Cowboys' offense --
"It's good. It's got a good reputation. I've heard a lot of great things about him. I really don't know him, but the people that I know that have been around him speak the world of him. They look like they're doing a heck of a job."
On talking with Dallas QB Tony Romo --
"See these Eastern Illinois University Panthers have got to stick together. There are not a lot of guys in the NFL (from Eastern Illinois), so it was good to get the chance to talk to him."
On the best EIU graduate in the NFL --
"I don't know. We'll find out. History will tell. It's good to have a few Panthers in the line. I talk to Sean (Payton) quite often and I was with Tony in Tahoe, and they're two great guys. To be honest with you I hope both of them get in the Hall of Fame some day."
On practicing against Dallas --
"We've got two class organizations. They know that we're servicing each other. It's a positive for both teams. Obviously some emotions are going to show up every once in awhile, but I believe our players have enough class and obviously understand the business to hit a little bit. But I'll be surprised if this is not a perfect working relationship."
On Dallas QB Tony Romo's strengths --
"Well first of all he went to Eastern Illinois University, so that's a big strength to start off with, and he's a football player. I mean you can see it... The way he handles himself, the confidence level. He reads defenses extremely well. He's got a great sense of timing, and he'll be a great quarterback for a lot of years. I'll be honest with you--I tried to sign him very hard. I liked him coming out of school. In fact we offered him $20,000 and Sean (Payton) offered him 10,000, and to show you my recruiting ability, Sean beat me and I offered twice the amount of money, so that really disappointed me at that time. I asked Tony not too long ago, I said tell me, `How could you go to Dallas?' and at least he said the right thing. He said, `Coach, I thought I had a much better chance of making the team there than I did at your place,' so he's a politician as well."