A 34-0 whooping of a near-NFC Champion, even in the preseason, can give a player a bit of confidence. An urge to brush off his shoulders, or to allow himself that extra pep in his step.
But to take it easy in practice?
Not if Peyton Manning has anything to say about it.
"I thought our offense stunk today," an annoyed Manning said after practice. "I thought the (Texans) defense totally kicked our butt."
"We did," Demaryius Thomas agreed. "I don't look at like he does, but we didn't do our best."
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase even got in on the practice-bashing routine, telling SI's Peter King everything was fine, "until J.J. Watt ruined our practice."
Third down and fourth down stops were the norm, according to reports, with Texans safety D.J. Swearinger breaking up consecutive passes to leave the Broncos scoreless on one two-minute drill. Andrew Mason of DenverBroncos.com details more of Manning interceptions and misfires in his Five Observations linked a sentence ago.
But how much of those comments represent true struggles in practice, and how much of it is Manning being Manning, not allowing the Broncos to rest on their laurels? It's just preseason, after all.
Jedi Manning obviously playing mind games with #Broncos. Smart guy. Also didn't say anything about #Texans' offense today, which was very eh— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) August 19, 2014
I would expect that Peyton being perturbed today will carry over to a better practice for Denver tomorrow. Today was sloppy.— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) August 19, 2014
Don't brush those shoulders off just yet, Broncos. Manning is watching. And he needs to see a bit more back sweat.
The Texans stunk too
Reading between the lines, it sounds like defenses in general had their way with opposing offenses Tuesday. Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted by Aqib Talib in one Hail Mary attempt, and another interception was wiped away by a penalty flag, to "loud protests" from the Denver secondary.
But that's not what caught my eye. This tweet did.
Something I've never had happen before, mid-practice a #Broncos player said to me "The #Texans are terrible..."— Brandon Krisztal (@BKDenverSports) August 19, 2014
Reading further into BK's timeline, I can infer the anonymous player in question was a defender. And that should be a natural reaction anytime someone goes from defending against Peyton Manning to, well, anyone else, let alone Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The moral of the story? Everybody stunk at Broncos practice Tuesday. Everybody.
Except J.J. Watt.
They'll give it another go, hopefully in full pads, Wednesday.