Photo by Kaptain Kirk 8/5/11
The one hour drive to Dove Valley is a pleasant one and it looks like it will be a gorgeous afternoon. I arrive early enough to get a seat at the top of the berm on the 48 yard line. I can see Kyle Orton doing an interview and he is in Full pads. As I sit down and get reacquainted with my surroundings, I see Tim Tebow and Adam Weber tossing a ball around, Some of the Tight Ends are out early too, including Virgil Green, Dante Rosario, Daniel Fells and Julius Thomas. Practice isn't scheduled to begin for another 15 minutes and so I visit with a guy I met at yesterdays practice.
Special Teams will Kick off this practice just like all the other sessions. The coaches are doubling up the drills too. Coach Rodgers has half of the group working on coverage and closing on the first line of blockers and on to the returner. Assistant ST's Coach Keith Burns has another group that looks like the Gunners closing in on the returner. Britton Colquitt and Lonie Paxton are the faux return men for the first group. HORN.
11 on 11's begins, This is the walk through/play installation part of practice. It is the point where the visual instruction comes in, to reinforce what the players get from the classroom. I can see the defense as they have their backs towards me. Across the line I see Robert Ayers, Kevin Vickerson, Broderick Bunkley and Elvis Dumervil. The Linebackers Von Miller, Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard since DJ Williams is still nicked up. Champ Bailey and Andre' Goodman are the Cornerbacks. Brian Dawkins and Rahim Moore are the Safeties. The 1st and 2nd string Offenses are taking all these reps, with Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn running the drills. HORN.
I meet a newer member of MHR by the name of Chris, who tells me that I need no introduction. It is my privilege to enjoy the practice with him. We chat for a bit as Eminem's "Not Afraid" blasts over a lone crackling speaker and the team begins the Tuten torture session. "Oops Upside Your Head" by the Gap band is the next song up and Brandon Lloyd wants to dance. He
starts joking around with John Fox and a little ways away, Knowshon Moreno is tempted to break ranks and bust a move. It's refreshing to see a little bit of fun going on while you work. Jay-Z's "Heart Of The City (Ain't No Love)" is the third song up. A 4th song, Bon Jovi's "You give Love a bad Name" begins and then abruptly ends as the HORN blows.
The Offense does their, "Run a play then sprint 20 yards" drill. The first one has Kyle Orton handing off to Brandon Lloyd on the End Around. Lloyd stops and throws a pass deep to Eddie Royal for a TD to the delight of the crowd. Not to be outdone, Brady Quinn hands off to Jeremiah Johnson. From there it turns into a Flea Flicker to Jamel Hamler. HORN.
Individual position drills are next. The quarterbacks work with the Tight Ends, practicing Red Zone drills. This is a good thing. The Broncos have needed a Red Zone threat for another option. I know it's way too early and there is a whole season to play, but I'm nominating Julius Thomas for ROY consideration. Anyway, the Running Backs are running their low hurdle drills and slaloms with Eric Studdesville trying to knock the ball loose. They join the Offensive Linemen after that. The Wide Receivers are running sets of pass routes as an intern passes to them. I also see NFL Officials are in attendance again today. They did the new NFL Rules breakdown for the team yesterday. HORN.
11 on 11's full speed drills begin. Knowshon Moreno gets the first carry. The Kyle Orton hits Eric Decker with a quick enough pass that he has room to turn it upfield. On the next play, Robert Ayers Sacks Kyle. Orton misses Britt Davis low for a poor start. Brady Quinn hits Eron Riley but he ends up making a nice catch out of bounds. Then Quinn finds Virgil Green after
holding on to the ball for an extended period of time. The protection was good, but it was still about 8 seconds so draw your own conclusions. Tim Tebow lobs a pass to Matthew Willis for a TD, but it was clearly a Sack. Two Linemen and a Linebacker had him. Tebow passes high to Jamel Hamler who goes up for it, but he got hit by a Defensive Back and the ball came out. Brady Quinn hits Virgil Green on a quick out and green is bumped out of bounds by Chris Harris (38). I see Darcel McBath and David Bruton are taking 3rd team reps today. Tebow passes to Dante Rosario who makes a one-handed catch. The crowd likes that. Adam Weber gets Sacked on the next play and then recovers to put the ball in the hands of Richard Quinn on his 2nd
7 on 7's. Orton hits Moreno with a swing pass and Rahim Moore knocks him out of bounds. Then Kyle connects with Eric Decker on a crossing route. They run that play again and this time Decker gets tripped up after the catch. Orton threads a pass to Julius Thomas in between Wesley Woodyard and Rahim Moore. Kyle passes to Matthew Willis on a comeback route that Matt turns and crosses through the middle of the field getting good yards after the catch. Tebow floats a sideline pass to Spencer Larsen and Spence is hit immediately. On the next play, Tebow throws a pass intended for D'Andre Goodwin that Syd'Quan Thompson tips straight up in the air and then chases after and intercepts, terrific play. Brady Quinn hooks up with Virgil Green and then hits Eddie Royal with a beautiful pass on a skinny post. Tebow completes passes to Daniel Fells (86) and Austin Sylvester (40). On the far left side of the field and away from the drills I'm currently narrating, the O-Linemen are doing 1 on 1 drills. Meanwhile, Brady Quinn throws an incomplete pass intended for Willis McGahee that I think was the result of a miscommunication, since one of the coaches has a discussion wit2h Willis. Tim Tebow holds the ball long enough to go through his read progression twice, before throwing to Mark Fells for a TD. Adam Weber passes to Jamel Hamel and then gets Sacked. HORN.
After a 3 minute water break, the players assemble for 9 on 9's on one side of the field. The quarterbacks pass to the Wide Receivers who are drilling 1 on 1 with the Cornerbacks. The running plays are more interesting as tempers start to flare. Marcus Thomas and Ty Warren are pumped up and talking smack as they stuff the run and get the best of the O-Line. Brady Quinn to Mark Dell on who is guarded by Brandon Bing. The defensive Line is dominating the Offensive Line. Mario Fannin is taken off the field by a couple of assistants. They remove Fannin from the field. A few minutes later, the injury Cart takes Mario away for an MRI. The Offense takes offense and a fight breaks out. HORN.
The squad moves down to the 20 yard line for Red Zone drills. Orton to Willis. Moreno carries for about a yard. Then Kyle leads Knowshon too much and the pass is incomplete. Orton hits Julius Thomas for a TD. Brady Quinn does nothing with his chance and it's Tebow time. He hooks up with Moreno, then throws a low incomplete intended for Lance Ball. Brady Quinn throws to the end zone for Mark Dell, but the Receiver can't catch up to it. Then Tebow throws a jump pass that ends up a TD and I shake my head. HORN.
The Special Teams continue drilling on their earlier program with the coverage unit. After a handful of reps they switch to live Kickoff practice. Matt Prater and Steven Hauschka take turns kicking it off the goalposts. Hauschka has a good leg, but Prater's job is safe this year barring injury. HORN.
More Red Zone 11 on 11's. Kyle Orton hits Daniel Fells for a TD. The next pass goes to Julius Thomas and he only manages a few yards. Orton to Matthew Willis for a TD. Kyle's pass is intended for Jamel Hamler, but is broken up by Wesley Woodyard. Tebow makes a quick pass to Britt Davis that goes for a couple of yards. Tebow takes off running after Derrick Harvey dives and misses the Sack. Quinn passes to Lance Ball, then throws too high through Julius Thomas' hands. Brady Quinn throws a TD to Willis. Brandon Minor carries the ball for 5 yards. Tebow rolls left, spins and rolls right, hitting Mark Dell in the endzone for a TD. Adam Weber throws a pass intended for Mark Dell, goes off Dell's hands, hits the goalpost and bounces back
to be intercepted. HORN.
The ball is placed at the 4-and we begin another round of 11 on 11's. Knowshon runs for 9 yards, then Orton's pass goes off Decker's hands. I see Orlando Franklin on his butt and wonder who put him there. Tebow passes low to a diving Virgil Green incomplete. He then overthrows Julius Thomas. Brandon Minor runs for 20 yards. Tebow for a short gain to Gronkowski. Then Adam Weber throws incomplete in between Gronkowski and D'Andre Goodwin. HORN.
Special Teams Kick coverage Part 3. The JUG's machine is set up on my left at the 25 yard line and the cover team lines up at the 30 against the Red Cap Scout team. They runs some reps with the machine and then both Prater and Hauschka take turns kicking off. Matthew Willis gets some "personal" instruction from coach Burns. HORN.
11 on 11's again. Kyle Orton gets the ball to Eddie Royal, but overthrows Willis deep. Kyle Orton pass to Eric Decker misses with a hand. I see Von Miller drop all the way back while Dawkins and Moore tighten the box. On the next play there is good pressure and the pocket collapses, and the end of practice arrives. HORN.
The Offensive Linemen are signing autographs this afternoon and I grab Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin again. Then I got Eric Olsen and Chris Kuper's too. I walked around to the ADA tent that is up on a platform to see if I could spot John, since we had planned on having dinner and talking football and specifically Broncos football. I couldn't see him, but we got together shortly after at a place that had food and WiFi. But while I was there, I met the famous Bronco Betty, Knowshon Moreno walked by with a wedge of Watermelon in his mouth and I told him he was looking good, so he thanked me. A few minutes later, I was in the presence of greatness. John Elway himself walked by with another gentleman. It looked like he had been working out. Well, Bronco Betty asks him for his Bronco Visor, so he gives it to her after he signs it. Here I am within arms length of one of the immortals and I couldn't do a thing but stand there. I at least held my composure to gawk and kept my mouth shut. After John walked off, BB was in tears. I had witnessed a supreme moment of joy for a fellow Bronco fan. John is bigger than I expected at close up. That's all I got. I just walked back to my car smiling and shaking my head. It had been a good day and I hadn't even had dinner yet. Oh, and that guy I met that I mentioned earlier? His name is Dario and he's a huge Bronco as well as MHR fan. Well Dario is starting a fledgling site by the name of Denver Sports Nation. Stop by and say hello.
It's time for bed and then it's off to the Stadium tomorrow for the team scrimmage, so I will see you on the other side of La La Land peeps.