This will be the 3rd Summer Scrimmage for the Broncos franchise and the first time for me in the Press box. The Summer Scrimmage began with the idea to replace the old "Fan Fair" the team used to hold prior to each season. That ended under Josh McDaniels stint as head coach. When John Elway returned to steer the ship, the Summer Scrimmage was added for the fanbase to reconnect to the team. In lieu of standing in long lines to get autographs from players, this event packages what occurs at Dove Valley during training camp with a bit more access to get player signatures, since all of them usually sign after the scrimmage. Plus there is more full team action with the scripted scrimmage portion.
At 10:45, the players enter the stadium from the locker room and begin to loosen up. 10 minutes, later, they go into the team stretching period. Von Miller welcomes the crowd and thanks them for coming. After they break the team huddle, individual position drills commence so the players can further warm up. The schedule for today will include a 12-play scrimmage with each unit. The 1st team offense will vie against the 2nd team defense. Then the 2nd team offense will work against the 1st team defense and to finish things, the ‘3's' will go against the ‘3's' per coach John Fox's post-practice presser yesterday.
Isaiah Burse fields a punt and breaks through for a nice gain as the special teams coverage unit (against the red hats) are getting some work in to start the festivities. The team is holding Julius Thomas out with a minor thigh bruise. Isaiah Burse and Jordan Norwood each run back punts like two players battling hard for one job. HORN.
7 on 7's start the next segment. Peyton hits Virgil Green, Demaryius Thomas (twice) and Emmanuel Sanders. Danny Trevathan breaks up the 5th attempt and then the second unit comes out. Brock Osweiler's first pass intended, for Virgil Green, falls incomplete. A deep pass into double coverage incomplete and John Boyett's headgear comes off. Osweiler's next attempt is for Gerell Robinson and David Bruton can't come up with the interception. Zac Dysert hits Greg Hardin on a side out. Dysert's next pass goes to Isaiah Burse and his last pass is complete for Jerodis Williams. HORN.
As the cheerleaders get some reps in, the players take a water break and the crowd begins "the wave." Next up, the field goal unit gets their first action. Matt Prater is good from 35, 40 and 45 yards. Matt Ewald is good from 45 and no good from 50 yards out.
The scripted part of the scrimmage with the 1st team offense against the 2nd team defense begins. Peyton Manning throws a completion to Emmanuel Sanders and then Montee Ball runs for 3 yards. An isolation play for Demaryius Thomas is complete, then DT jukes Omar Bolden out of his jockstrap and picks up another 12 yards in the process. Manning hits Jacob Tamme in double coverage and the tight end makes a highlight reel one-handed catch for a touchdown.
From the 20 yard line they start again. Peyton Manning hits Andre Caldwell. The next play is a long pass to Jacob Tamme and Jerome Murphy knocks him violently out of bounds. The play is good for about 25 yards. Ronnie Hillman takes a dump off pass to the side, makes a move on the defender and gains 5 more yards. Hillman runs for another 3 yards on the next play. Manning throws into the end zone in Jacob Tamme's direction is just out of the tight end's reach. Omar Bolden and Jerome Murphy are there. Peyton throws an end zone fade for Emmanuel Sanders just beyond the wide receivers grasp with Tony Carter covering. HORN.
Brock Osweiler leads the second unit starting from the 20 yard line. C.J. Anderson gains 4 yards and then Brock is sacked on the next play. He runs down the sideline anyway. Anderson rushes for another 3 yards and Osweiler can't progress through his reads fast enough and is sacked again. However, the next play is a nice, decisive pass to Gerell Robinson between the hands of the defender. After a false start on the offense, C.J. gets around the corner for 18 yards. Then Brock completes a pass to Bennie Fowler, who gets down to the 2 yard line. Juwan Thompson gets the call up the middle and picks up a yard. The next play has Osweiler toss a shovel pass to Gerell Robinson for the score. HORN.
Zac Dysert starts the third unit from the 20. He hands off to Kapri Bibbs, who picks up 4 yards before being tackled by Jerrell Harris. Bibbs runs for 3 more on the next play. Dysert then passes complete to Kapri, who gains 15 yards on the play. Zac throws downfield to Jameson Konz, who makes a sliding catch, then gets up and runs for more yardage. A flag flies on a catch by Nathan Palmer, but a holding on the defense is declined in favor of the play. With the ball at the 2 yard line Brennan Clay's number is called, but he comes up short. He is successful on the next carry for a touchdown.
They move back and start anew from the 20 again. Brennan Clay picks up 10 yards around the right side. On play action, Zac Dysert looks to the back side and throws complete to Cam Morrah who is all alone. The tight end picks up 15-20 yards and it could have been more if Dysert would have led his receiver. Passes complete for Bennie Fowler and Jameson Konz have the offense inside the red zone. Jerodis Williams gets a carry for 3 yards and then Zac hits Isaiah Burse. Brennan Clay rushes for 4 yards down near the goal line. After a false start penalty is walked off, Dysert tries to hit Isaiah Burse in the end zone, but the pass is incomplete. The final HORN sounds and after the team huddle, players disperse for autographs.
Jacob Tamme on his one-handed touchdown catch:
"I was able to get a little bit of separation on the route, just enough. [QB] Peyton Manning put it in a very good spot and every once in a while, a blind squirrel finds a nut. Just kind of got the arm out there and got it."
T.J. Ward on the confidence of the defense:
"It's not about being cocky or overconfident. We're just working hard right now, and all that other stuff will come when the season starts. Right now, the team cohesion and chemistry is really good. We're working hard together and we're feeding off each other, so when those games come and those live bullets start flying, we'll see what kind of swag we have."
Emmanuel Sanders on how the offense looked:
"It's something that we can continuously capitalize on, but that doesn't mean it's going to be that easy. Every game we've got to continue to get back in the lab and continue to work hard."
38,620 fans came out to this Summer Scrimmage today. more than last week's total of 22,000 but less than last year's summer scrimmage total of 44,439.
This has been an awesome experience for me personally and it may have dissolved some of my focus. Next time shouldn't be as overwhelming. I had a blast regardless. HORN!
-- Kaptain Kirk