After an hour and 45 minute drive in the rain, I finally make it to Sports Authority field. In the last mile, I see those red and blue lights flashing and so I get out of the fast lane. As it turns out, it is a police escort with 5 team buses in the motorcade and I breath a sigh of relief. Not that I was going to get pulled over, but that if the players are just now arriving, I know I'm not late. Everything is cool.
I am meeting Bronco Mike today, so I find that has set up a vantage point at the south 15 yard line. He has been there in the rain for at least an hour, but is in good spirits. I notice that the first 5 or 6 rows all the way around the rail of the lower bowl are filled and more fans are sitting underneath the facade to stay dry. At 11:10, the players begin to filter out on to the field. The sparse crowd cheers and the players show their enthusiasm as well. Ten minutes later, the HORNannounces the start of practice.
I see Chris Harris in full pads and a few minutes later, Demaryius Thomas hits the field too, but D.T. isn't wearing shoulder pads. Come to think of it, Sylvester Williams doesn't appear to be wearing shoulder pads either. But then, those defensive tackles are tough customers anyway. HORN.
The first team offense and defense split off to the north 30 yard line while the "two's" begin their work at the south 30 yard line. Brock Osweiler throws two consecutive completions to Bennie Fowler and I notice John Boyett is in shorts and not practicing again. Tight End Jameson Konz is back, but I don't see Greg Latta. I also don't expect to see DeMarcus Ware at all. I don't think his injury condition is bad, but it is slippery enough as it is. You don't want any pulled groins or hamstrings from a wet field. The organization didn't have to go on with this practice. It is a testament once again, toBroncos owner Pat Bowlen and the way things are done here, to show the fans just how important they are to this team. I mean, they just spent what, $60 million in Free Agency and then there is the $18 million man (Manning). Why risk that much on a training camp practice?
That's what happens when you have the NFL's best fanbase hands down. I don't believe you could get 9,207 fans to attend any other team's practice in unseasonal weather. If this practice was at Dove Valley, they would close it to the public and move over to the Bubble practice field down the street to finish their workout. They have done it before. Next year they will have their own indoor facility, so it won't matter
Anyway, there is more action with the second unit directly in front of Mike and I. Osweiler hits Cody Latimer and Kapri Bibbs on back to back plays. To the north, Peyton Manning completes one to Emmanuel Sanders and his next pass, intended for Demaryius Thomas is incomplete with Aqib Talib in coverage. Brock connects with Isaiah Burse twice and then Juwan Thompson runs for a couple of yards. The rain keeps falling steadily. An Osweiler pass goes through the hands of Jerodis Williams and I am only noticing now, that Peyton Manning is wearing gloves. HORN.
David Bruton grabs a microphone and thanks the fans for coming out and that the team really appreciated their support.GO BRONCOS!
It is time now for the team stretch segment followed by individual position drills as they do every other practice session. The only things missing are the blocking sleds. After 5 minutes, the drills rotate into the next segment. HORN.
The wide receiver/cornerback one-on-one battles are up next. Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler are lined up side by side so they can double up on the reps. Kayvon Webster breaks up Manning's first pass attempt, intended for Wes Welker. Round two goes in Welker's favor. Emmanuel Sanders is matched up with Aqib Talib and Peyton throws incomplete. Brock throws complete to Nathan Palmer, who beats Omar Bolden. The pace is off because of the slippery field and still, guys are losing traction. Rahim Moore breaks up a pass for Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer beats Tony Carter Greg Wilson puts a triple move on Jordan Sullen and makes the catch and then Brock Osweiler lays a beautiful pass in to Nathan Palmer, right over Rahim Moore. HORN.
7 on 7's start up. Peyton completes passes to Montee Ball, Andre Caldwell and Wes Welker, the latter being guarded closely by Bradley Roby. I almost feel sorry for the rookie because it really looks like Manning is picking on him every chance he gets. Trial by fire builds character kid. Welcome to the NFL. Manning's next pass is complete to Cody Latimer and the next line is blurry from the rain. Osweiler hits Bennie Fowler and Zac Dysert throws a long pass into double coverage and CB Jordan Sullen flat out drops what should have been a pick. Dysert then hits Jameson Konz, Cam Morrah juggles the following chance and Zac completes his last pass to Cody Latimer. Then Bryn Renner gets his first (and only) legitimate training camp snap and throws a wobbly incomplete pass. HORN.
11 on 11's begin with an announced emphasis on the Run game. After Montee Ball gains a yard on the first snap, Manning throws deep for Bubba Caldwell, but there isn't enough oomph on the throw. Montee Ball breaks off a nice run for about 10 yards and then Ronnie Hillman rips off one of his own after Virgil Green sets him up with a nice block. On the next play, Hillman gets no yards on a run up the middle. Osweiler handsoff to C.J. Anderson and Kevin Vickerson denies him the line of scrimmage. Anderson comes back with a nice run to the outside on the next snap and Brennan Clay follows suit. The offense is having much better results running to the outside and not during so well to the inside. And then the fight starts. Who else but Derek Wolfe. He mixes it up with Vinston Painter again. Juwan Thompson rips off a long run behind a Ryan Miller block and then a bad exchange between Zac Dysert and Matt Paradis ends up with the QB diving on the ball. HORN.
11 on 11 situation drills. Each unit gets 3 downs. After Montee Ball loses a yard, Peyton Manning is sacked by Sylvester Williams. Peyton completes a pass to Jacob Tamme and then Rahim Moore makes a nice play on a sideline pass intended for Julius Thomas. The third play is an 11-yard pass complete to Wes Welker. The second unit begins with Kapri Bibbs running for 9 yards. Osweiler hits Jacob Tamme for 7 yards. Kenny Anunike sacks Brock after beating Paul Cornick. Brennan Clay picks up 6 yards. Zac Dysert makes a wide throw for Cam Morrah, who reaches back with a one-handed catch and turns upfield. Then Zac dumps the ball off to a wide open Juwan Thompson, who takes off for a 10 yard gain. After a Dyset to Isaiah Burse pass is complete, Jerodis Williams takes an inside handoff 2 yards. HORN.
The special teams kick return unit starts the next segment and right on cue, the rain stops. After taking a picture and a few tweets, the HORN signals an end to the segment.
11 on 11's start the next portion of practice. Montee Ball gains 4 yards on the ground. T.J. Ward blitzes on the next play for a sack. Ball runs for another 4 yards. Manning hits Welker, who is still working against Kayvon Webster. Peyton's next pass bounces short of Emmanuel Sanders. C.J. Anderson gets through the line for 3 yards. Brock Osweiler throws incomplete, then Brennan Clay picks up a couple of yards and Nate Irving gets up limping. He returns a few plays later, so it isn't serious. Zac Dysert hits Cam Morrah on consecutive plays and then throws a fade for Greg Hardin that gets caught out of bounds. HORN.
11 on 11 situation drill time. The scenario: 1st and 10 on the offense's own 40 yard line, 1:10 left on the clock, 1 timeout and down by 4 points. Peyton throws to Wes Welker twice, the first is caught and the second is nearly picked off by Kayvon Webster. Manning's next attempt is too low for Emmanuel Sanders. on 4th and 2, Manning connects with Julius Thomas to convert the 1st down and Peyton uses his timeout. Manning tries to force the ball to Wes Welker and Kayvon Webster turns it into a pick-six.
Osweiler has his first attempt tipped at the line of scrimmage by Kenny Anunike. He then hits Jacob Tamme for 20+ yards against Charles Mitchell. Another 7 yards comes on a slant to Jordan Norwood. After a swing pass to Ronnie Hillman fails to get out of bounds, the timeout is taken with 26 seconds left on the 30 yard line. Osweiler connects with Greg Wilson down to the 10 yard line, then makes a bad decision trying to hit Wilson in the end zone and Tony Carter prevents the touchdown. Zac Dysert throws incomplete for Bennie Fowler and then hits Cam Morrah. Kayvon Webster picks up a sack on a corner blitz to finish this part
The second part of the segment is setting up for a last second field goal for the win. 30 seconds on the clock, 1st down at the 20 yard line and one timeout. Manning takes the snap, runs to his left and goes to the ground. Matt Prater‘s first attempt from 39 yards is hurried and goes wide. They try it all over again and Prater is successful from 40 yards. Mitch Ewald comes in for an attempt of 39 yards and his try goes wide. HORN.
Another special teams session begins with the kick return unit drilling against the Red Hats. The first kickoff is muffed by not one, not two, but three players before a handle is found and a run back can begin. Ronnie Hillman takes a rep and then an onside kick is attempted, but Jacob Tamme alertly falls on the ball. Omar Bolden, Bubba Caldwell, Hillman again, Cody Latimer and Isaiah Burse all take reps as the return man. Another onside kick is tried, but C.J. Anderson is the alert one on the receiving team. HORN.
The field goal unit gets some work again. Matt Prater hots from 38 and 39 yards. Then Mitch Ewald makes a 41-yarder. The spot goes over to the right hash mark from 43 yards and Ewald's try is no good. Prater makes a 53-yarder. HORN.
The last segment is the red zone drills. Manning hits Julius Thomas, who goes out of bounds after a 9-yard pickup. The next pass is too low for Emmanuel Sanders. After an incomplete pass attempt to Wes Welker, Montee Ball runs it in for the touchdown from 4 yards out. Osweiler hands off to Brennan Clay, who falls down for a 2-yard loss when he runs into his blocker, Jacob Tamme. Kapri Bibbs runs for 5 yards as Duke Ihenacho and David Bruton assist the running back out of bounds. Brock overthrows the end zone and then connects with Jordan Norwood for the score. Zac Dysert hits Virgil Green on a quick slant for a touchdown and then overthrows the end zone on the next play. Dysert then completes a touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler into double coverage and defensive pass interference. Zac then grounds the ball on the last play of practice. HORN.
This was a wet and sloppy practice overall and definitely Peyton Manning's worst so far. Kayvon Webster stood out, as well as Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, Cam Morrah, the outside running game, Kenny Anunike and Jacob Tamme. Sylvester Williams also picked up sack and had a good practice.
I hope this is the last of the rain during practice time. I don't mind standing in it as much as driving in it with the rest of the world impeding me from finishing these reports.
-- Kaptain Kirk