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Tensions rise at Broncos-Texans joint practice 2

When the atmosphere is competitive and players are playing for their football lives, you best believe there are going to be some scrums.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Sanders Missing

Emmanuel Sanders was held out of live action at practice.  "He was out there. He just didn't practice live," said Coach Fox. "He is getting that quad back to 100 percent and this week we are just trying to get him ready for the game." With the absence of Sanders, rookie WR Cody Latimer saw some time with the ones and made another great grab in the back of the endzone on a Brock Osweiler pass.  Andrew Mason notes:

Osweiler has learned what kind of passes the rookie wide receiver can grab, and can place the throw to where no one else has a chance at grabbing the football.

It is a great sign that Cody and Oz are developing a chemistry together.  You never know what the future holds, this tandem might become one of the ones that decorate the Broncos record books someday.

Ball back at practice, but still no live action

Montee Ball returned to practice and lamented that it was tough sitting on the sidelines while other backs received reps and improved their game.  "I really wasn't contributing much except being a sideline cheerleader. But it's great getting back in pads and get back to what I love doing."  When asked about his return to live action, Ball said there was no timetable but that he feels no pain.

Even in practice, picking off Peyton Manning is a big deal

According to Andrew Mason, while the anger didn't correlate into thrown punches, Broncos and Texans players are reaching the height of their patience.  The offense who struggled quite a bit yesterday had some better success today, but still failed to convert on a two-minute situational drill when Peyton Manning was picked off by Texans safety D.J. Swearinger--which is where some of the tensions came to a boil:

"I think that 36 (Swearinger) was just talking," said Harris. "He'd just got a pick of Peyton, so he was just talking. His swag just went to another level."

Pass rushers steal the show

By several different accounts, some of the best competition has come from the 1-on-1 drills between linemen and the pass rushers.  Lerentee McCray made it into Mason's notebook:

Clabo was able to knock McCray off balance and get him low, but the second-year linebacker maintained his balance and kept going, working underneath Clabo to get to the tackling dummy.

McCray has had a great Training Camp thus far cementing his position on the team as Von Miller's backup at the SAM.  Will all the talented pass rushers the Broncos have at their disposal, I would love to take a peek inside Jack Del Rio's brain to see what he has in store for opposing quarterbacks.

Clowney gives props to Clady, leaves practice early after hit to head

Clowney looks like the real deal.  His athleticism is certainly "off-the-charts" good.  When you have two competitors giving it their best effort, it is good to see sportsmanship, especially coming from the young rookie..

Later on in practice during a 9-on-7 drill, Clowney collided will Broncos TE Jacob Tamme.  He would sit out the rest of practice, but there has been no new information regarding his health, so I would expect to see him in game action come Saturday.

How has the defense fared?

Manning put some heat on the offense by saying their effort stunk yesterday.  What we haven't heard about is how our Broncos defense has done against the Texans offense.  Rahim Moore had this to offer:

"I think today we got off to a slow start a little bit, but we ended up picking it up. We made some plays today. We forced some turnovers. We had a lot of coverage sacks today. Today was a competitive day. When the other team makes plays, they have to earn it. We did a great job communicating and facing adversity and it's been a great two days. If [QB] Peyton [Manning] said our offense isn't doing well yesterday, that's our job for us to force turnovers and for us to pick them up. When it comes Saturday, that's when it really counts and when it's time for us as a group to play great."

Lammey sheds some light on Marshall, offers thoughts on other LB spots

When pressed if that meant he would be taking some nickel snaps as well, Lammey clarified a bit:

Reading between the lines, Nate Irving should do fine when teams decide to pass the ball when our base defense is out there.  Brandon Marshall will continue to be the man at WILL with Trevathan out, and when the Broncos need a good coverage MIKE for their nickel defense, they will still turn to TJ Ward.

Thoughts on Norwood

Just a terrible situation.  This kid was poised to make the roster and was showing a good all around game that could provide depth to the receiving corps and a trusted hand on punt return duty.  With his injury, Isaiah Burse should have every opportunity to prove he deserves a spot on this roster.

I think this injury changes things as far as roster numbers.  Before, 6 WR seemed almost a certainty, but now, unless Burse shows something really special, it makes more sense to keep 5.  Omar Bolden is already slated to be your primary returner on kickoffs, the Broncos still have plenty of options to return punts without Burse on their roster.   One thing is for certain, keeping a player just to return kicks and do a mediocre job of it becomes a waste of a roster spot.