I make my way into the Broncos facility at Dove Valley 15 minutes before the scheduled start of practice. Bruce Springsteen's "I'm Going Down" is playing as I find my seat at the 45 yard line. Somebody must really like George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" because "the Dogcatcher" is at it again. Brady Quinn is the first player to emerge from the locker room today. Britton Colquitt, Matt Prater, Britt Davis, Johnny Williams, Joe Mays and Chris Kuper follow. They are decked out in full pads for this practice. The crowd is large, but not to capacity. The End zone area is roped off for Military Appreciation, so the Event staff tries to pack us all in tighter. John Mellencamp's "Hurt So Good" is playing now and a couple of interns set up the JUGG's machine to my right at the 25 yard line. "Livin On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi plays in it's entirety. HORN.
The segment clock is set for a 10 minute session and the Kickoff coverage Unit lines up against the "Scout" team. Matt Prater, Nate Jones, David Bruton, Kevin Alexander, Matthew Willis, Wesley Woodyard, Tony Carter, Perrish Cox, Jarvis Moss, Marquez Branson and Spencer Larsen participate on the 1st Unit. They rotate with the 2nd Unit and go through 5 or 6 reps each. Coach Priefer calls for the "Hands" team and they run some Onside kick drills. HORN.
10 minutes on the clock. The Offense works against the "Scout" Team simulating the Detroit Lions. There are defenders wearing red tank tops signifying Lions RLB Zack Follett, MLB Vinny Ciurciu, LLB Julian Peterson, and FS Louis Delmas. The Offense is doing a walk-through of running plays featuring Bruce Hall, Lance Ball and Justin Fargas. Marquez Branson is practicing today, as well as Eric Decker, who has more tape on his left foot but appears to be making cuts normally. HORN.
15 minutes of jogging, twisting and the Hop, Skip and Jump routines are next. Following this, the players spread out across the field for the stretch session with Coach Tuten. I see Jarvis Moss sporting his new cast, but it looks like Brandon Stokely and Champ Bailey have the day off. Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing Dustin Fry this week either. Ronald Fields is getting more tape applied. This seems to be an everyday occurrence so I yell out, "Hey Ron, you need to tell that guy to do it right the first time." He grins. After the stretching, the players split up and travel over into their position drill areas. The Ball carriers run through the hurdles and the Offensive Linemen do their "Shuffle" drills. HORN.
4 minutes of individual position drills are up next. The Quarterbacks warm up with the ball boy without Tim Tebow, who walked off before the stretch interval. Apparently that touchdown run in Cincinnati had a price. The Wide Receivers run their slalom drills and the Running Backs drill with the "Running Lanes" mat. HORN.
The clock resets to 5 minutes as the Wide Receivers join the Quarterbacks and passing drills continue. Josh McDaniels has some coaching tips for a few of the younger receivers. HORN.
5 more minutes go on the clock. The Defense changes their drills on the other field and Lonie Paxton, Britton Colquitt and Matt Prater jog over to the north field to practice Field Goal snaps. The QB's and WR's continue pass drills. QB coach Ben McDaniels and WR's coach Adam Gase give some personal attention to Brady Quinn. HORN.
A 6 minute segment of offense vs. the "Scouts" running plays using Lance Ball, Bruce Hall and Justin Fargas. They run single and two back sets as well as some 2 Tight End sets. HORN.
18 minutes are put on the clock and the 1st Team Defense comes over to line up against the 1st Team Offense for some 11 on 11 drills. The Linebackers are Akin Ayodele, Mario Haggan, D.J.Williams and Robert Ayers. The Defensive Backs are Andre' Goodman, Renaldo Hill, Brian Dawkins and Perrish Cox. The Offense is having trouble getting the play right or lining up wrong and Josh McDaniels is getting ticked (I wonder if this will mean extra laps later). The 2nd Teamer's give it a try and Riar Geer is lined up as the Fullback, blocking for Toney Baker. Cassius Vaughn gets an "Attaboy" from the coach. Baker has a nice run around the right side. The 1st Team Defense works against the Detroit Scout Team (2nd Team Offense). A handoff to a reverse end around is attempted but Jarvis Moss is there to meet it in the backfield (Nice play). HORN.
The clock resets to 9 minutes and the Units switch ends. The 1st Team Offense vs. the Lions "Scout" Defense. Lance Ball runs up the middle for good yardage behind the blocking of Spencer Larsen. Kyle Orton and Justin Fargas have trouble with a handoff and the Running Back is stopped in the backfield. Bruce Hall has a nice run and I silently hope this means more running plays on Saturday. Bruce Hall is stuffed by Chris Baker on the next play and Marquez Branson is on the ground, courtesy of the big Nose Tackle. Hall takes an inside handoff for some very nice yardage and then gets stuffed off the right side. Justin Fargas carries around the left side on a well blocked play and then takes the following carry for 5 yards up the middle. The 2nd Team Offense comes in and Russ Hochstein is taking reps at Center. Lance Ball runs behind Larsen for a nice gain as Riar Geer comes in motion and sets the edge with a nice block. Marquez Branson takes reps at Fullback. HORN.
It is time for 10 minutes of Kickoff Coverage drills. Matt Prater lines up for "Live" drills. The 1st and 2nd Units take a few reps each including some Onside kicks. Then the Return Unit gets it's turn. Alphonso Smith, Perrish Cox, Matthew Willis and Cassius Vaughn all take reps as Kick Returners. Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer calls out return blocking plays and Assistant Special Teams Coach Keith Burns makes the "Scout" Cover Team play calls. HORN.
The clock sets at 5 minutes.The O-Line and Defense return to their position drills and the Quarterbacks run passing plays with the Wide Receivers, Running Backs and Tight Ends. Riar Geer and Marquez Branson are taking all of the reps at Tight End today since Nathan Overbay, Richard Quinn and Daniel Graham aren't in attendance. HORN.
6 minutes on the clock. Offense "Scouts" vs. the 1st Team Defense 6 on 8's. Andre' Goodman breaks up consecutive pass plays. The 2nd Team Nickel Unit rotates in. Perrish Cox, Baraka Atkins, Wesley Woodyard, Nate Jones, David Bruton, Cassius Vaughn and Kevin Alexander are on the field. Alexander breaks up a pass over the middle. The 1st Team Base Defense takes a few reps. Renaldo Hill, Brian Dawkins, Andre' Goodman, Perrish Cox, Akin Ayodele, D.J.Williams, Robert Ayers and Mario Haggan make up the back eight. HORN.
The clock resets to 8 minutes and the Chains come out. The players switch sides and the 1st Team Offense goes up against the "Scouts." The ball is at midfield. Kyle Orton completes a sideline pass to Spencer Larsen. Orton then hits Brandon Lloyd on a deep pass. Brandon makes a shoestring catch on the play. Kyle connects with Eddie Royal on a crossing route and then Brady Quinn repeats the same play. Kyle passes to Lloyd on a 15 yard out. On the next play, Orton hits Brandon Lloyd on a 50 yard pass for a touchdown. Lloyd ran past the coverage and made the catch in the end zone. He then "Slam Dunks" the ball over the goal post for good measure. Kyle passes complete to Eddie Royal between two defenders. Brady Quinn connects with Britt Davis on a square out. Then Quinn passes incomplete intended for Alric Arnett that is just out of bounds. HORN.
8 minutes are put on the clock. I see matt Prater on the far field practicing Kickoffs. The "Scout" Offense is running against the 1st Team Defense. Defensive Coordinator "Wink" Martindale has some encouraging comments for Robert Ayers after one play. Mario Haggan penetrates into the backfield to hit the "Scout" Running Back. Brady Quinn rolls all the way to the right side and hits Patrick Carter (Nice play Scouts). Alphonso Smith lets a "Scout" receiver catch a deep pass on him (It didn't look like he tried very hard). On the next play, he breaks up a pass over the middle. Coach Nunnelly is berating the Defense for not paying attention to the substitution packages he is calling for. Coach Martindale has some praise for Andre' Goodman when he makes a good play. Then the Defense stuffs a run up the middle. HORN.
The clock resets to 6 minutes as the Units switch direction. 1st Team 11 on 11's. Lance Ball rushes off Right Tackle for a nice gain. Tony Carter breaks up a Flea Flicker pass intended for Brandon Lloyd. The 2nd Team "Scouts" rotate in and Lance Ball runs up the middle for 5 yards. I notice Nate Jones and Davis Bruton are taking reps as the 2nd string Safeties. Kyle Orton runs a screen to Bruce Hall and the O-Line blockers were there and ready to roll. Perrish Cox gets a hand in to break up a deep pass to Jabar Gaffney. Bruce Hall makes a good run off the left side and Chris Kuper hits the ground and drops a very loud F-Bomb. I think he must have re-injured his foot. He is helped out to the back of the immediate play area and the trainer has a look. Matthew Willis makes a nice grab on a bad Brady Quinn pass. Justin Fargas runs up the middle. Brady Quinn completes a pass to Britt Davis. I see Kuper testing his weight on the sore foot. A Kyle Orton pass is dropped by Jabar Gaffney and Gaff pushes David Bruton. I couldn't tell if Jabar thought it was pass interference or if David was jawing at him because I was trying to keep an eye on Kuper. HORN.
10 minutes are placed on the clock for the next session. The Units switch sides and I see Chris Kuper slowly make his way to the locker room. It doesn't look like he is limping very much so let's hope for the best. The Chain Gang arranges themselves on the sideline for some down and distance situations. On the first play, Jamal Williams bats the pass down, denying Kyle Orton. Orton completes a quick sideline pass to Matthew Willis, who is well covered by Andre' Goodman. Coach Wayne Nunnelly is hollering at Ryan McBean about something. The Defense decides to test Kyle Orton. The blitz comes from the left side and Kyle calmly finds Eddie Royal over the middle. Bruce Hall runs up the middle, and then the Defense decides to send a Corner Blitz. Orton finds an open Eddie Royal once again. One more blitz, and this time Kyle gets the ball to Matthew Willis on a post route. Brady Quinn rolls way right with Justin Bannan on the chase. He finds Spencer Larsen at the sideline for a completion. Brady hooks up with Alric Arnett over the middle, then throws behind Patrick Carter, who slips while trying to make the catch. Kyle Orton passes to Lance Ball who "Stone Hands" the pass. Justin Fargas runs up the middle. Paul Daniels and Stanley Daniels double team Ronald Fields to the ground. Brady Quinn passes to Marquez Branson on a side out. HORN.
The clock is set to 5 minutes and the Units switch ends and the 1st Teamers run 11 on 11's. The Chains are out again. On 1st and 10, Jarvis Moss gets to Kyle Orton for a Sack. 2nd and 18. Kyle tries to connect with Lance Ball on a crossing route but the Running Back bobbles it three times and drops it. 3rd and 18. Orton passes deep to Jabar Gaffney and it is broken up by Nate Jones. 4th and 18. Orton throws incomplete to the middle of the field. The Defense wins that round. 1st and 10. Kyle Orton passes to Riar Geer for 20 yards. Brady Quinn comes in and his pass is tipped by Tony Carter and Kyle McCarthy intercepts it.
The Field Goal Unit gets it's turn to run drills. The narrow Goal posts are put into place at the front of the end zone and Matt Prater makes Field Goals from 37, 40, 42, 45, 46 and 48 yards. Perrish Cox gets pretty close each time for a block attempt. Maybe this Unit can accomplish one of those this year. That would be Special.
The whistle blows and the players line up for sideline sprints. Josh McDaniels twirls his whistle and Coach Tuten yells "Ready-Go." I then hear someone tell the players to pick up the pace. They run there and backs 3 times and then Huddle at mid field. The players break huddle with some cheering and there must be an incentive coming. Russ Hochstein is tabbed to field a punt to represent the Offense. He catches the punt from Britton Colquitt cleanly and then spikes the ball. He then gets swamped by some of the Offense. Justin Bannan represents the Defense and he makes the catch and then rolls the ball up one arm and down the other, showing off Harlem Globetrotter-like skills. Then he punts the ball back the other way to the cheers of the entire team.
Autograph time. It is the Defense's turn to do signatures. Most of them sign autographs for the Military crowd at the end of the field. Some other players drift over for the civilian spectators and I am able to get Alphonso Smith, Lance Ball, Bruce Hall, Brandon Lloyd and Britton Colquitt (I know, I know a punter?) to sign a ball cap. Anyway, the last practice open to the public is tomorrow morning so I better get some rest.