Nowhere is change more evident on the Broncos this year than on special teams.
For one thing, Keith Burns’ transformation from player to coach has changed the tenor of the bi-daily training camp sessions. As assistant special-teams coach, Burns has to be quieter than he did as a boisterous, bellowing player; on punt plays, he no longer barks out the signals and the code words from just behind the long snapper and in front of the punter. That duty on Thursday belonged to safety Steve Cargile, whose clean-shaven head looks like Burns’, but whose cadence and personality is drastically different.
If a leadership role on special teams eventually lands in Cargile’s lap, however, it would be appropriate, since it was on special teams where he first announced his presence in the NFL, with three tackles in his pro regular-season debut against the Arizona Cardinals last Dec. 17.
Cargile was busy on Thursday, as the Broncos spent most of the afternoon working on punt rush and punt protection. Handling all the kicking was Todd Sauerbrun, who uncorked several long punts — including one that sailed 75 yards in the air and then bounced another 15, to the point where it landed in an area of the FieldTurf field more often populated by standing spectators.
Sauerbrun’s booming kicks didn’t impress one fan, who said, “Hey, Todd; put a little leg into one!” I sincerely hope he was kidding, otherwise, you have to wonder what is good enough for him?
The punt team also worked with a play clock for one period of the practice, working on getting set up and snapping the football within 15 seconds.
And this unofficial statistical nugget from media-relations numerologist Patrick Smyth: Eight of the 35 takeaways procured by the Broncos defense at training camp have come thanks to Dre’ Bly’s handiwork — seven interceptions and one fumble recovery. Next on the list are Champ Bailey and Jeff Shoate, each with three takeaways apiece.
Now, more photos, and we’ll call it a day at Dove Valley:
If you’re coming out to Dove Valley on Friday, please note — the morning practice has been pushed back a half-hour to 9 a.m., while the afternoon practice is now scheduled for 3:10 p.m. — 40 minutes earlier than normal. Enjoy the night, and until next time … vaya con Dios.
Tags: Training Camp