During the last few days, it seems like I’ve been opening this report with a laundry list of assorted injuries, minor and major, to afflict key Broncos players.
On this day, however, the contact was down as the Broncos eschewed shoulder pads for the first morning session since last week, and Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos and his staff weren’t quite as busy as they’d lamentably been in previous days.
But did the absence of pads and lowered threshold of contract give the advantage to the offense or the defense?
“I think it’s an advantage all the way around,” safety Nick Ferguson replied. But his answer wasn’t about merely being diplomatic and respectful to the offensive line; rather, it was borne out of just how battered the Broncos became in recent days.
“Guys are sore, as one can expect. This gives you a little more time to fine-tune some techniques. But I think it’s a benefit all around.
“(Injuries) are part of training camp, but you don’t want to have too many guys nicked up. You want to have guys actually able to play in games. It was great to come out today, because sometimes you just don’t want to beat each other up.”
The result was one of the Broncos’ best practices so far in camp, and fellow safety John Lynch agreed that the absence of pads helped make that possible.
“(Practice) is always a little sharper (and) crisper if you know how to practice it that way,” he said.
Head Coach Mike Shanahan was generally pleased with the team’s practice after calling their Tuesday morning performance “below average.”
“(We were) a little bit slow in the first period and we picked up the pace,” Shanahan said. “I was really pleased with the effort.”
The crowd also got involved, particularly in goal-line and red-zone situations where Ferguson and Lynch each successfully implored the fans on hand to yell “Defense!” and “Go Broncos!” at appropriate situations. At least it gave the offense a little taste of what it was like to play amidst the din present at road games.
The morning practice also saw Tony Scheffler increase his workload after returning to light practice action Tuesday morning. Rookie defensive end Jarvis Moss was also back on the field, but he was limited to individual, installation and some brief team work as he returned to the field for the first time since twisting his left knee during Monday morning’s practice.
ATTENDANCE REPORT: Nate Webster sat out the morning session. “He’s a little bit banged up,” Shanahan said. “It’s just temporary. He should be all right.” … Darrell Hackney did not take part in the final half of the practice; a day earlier he pulled up after appearing to strain his hamstring but continued to work … Brandon Stokley did not practice; he is on the one-session-per-day schedule … Wide receiver Marquay McDaniel and Glenn Martinez remained sidelined, as did linebackers Louis Green and Warrick Holdman … First-string offensive linemen Ben Hamilton and Matt Lepsis remained sidelined; Lepsis injured his groin on Tuesday morning … Rod Smith and Brandon Marshall remained sidelined, and Quentin Harris sat out after banging his knee on a collision with Andre Hall a day earlier.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS: Red zone, goal-line, two-minute drill and field goals.
WHO’S WHERE: Jimmy Kennedy relieved both Sam Adams and Gerard Warren in the first-team base package, but both Adams and Warren played substantially. Moments after hobbling back to the sidelines following a goal-line play, Adams used a push of his arms to swat away running back Andre Hall just steps from the end zone … Preston Parsons took Hackney’s third-team snaps … With Hamilton and Lepsis sidelined, the first-team offensive line underwent a fairly significant shift, with Chris Myers filling in at left guard for Hamilton, right tackle Erik Pears shifting to Lepsis’ vacated left side and Adam Meadows filling in at right tackle … D.D. Lewis worked with the first-team at strongside linebacker … Ian Gold remained in his familiar first-team weakside linebacker slot, but also worked on the second team as its only linebacker in “move-the-ball” work at the end of practice … Denver’s first-team goal-line offense included its offensive line during Wednesday’s session — Pears, Myers, Nalen, Montrae Holland and Meadows — plus tight ends Daniel Graham, Nate Jackson and Stephen Alexander, with Kyle Johnson and Tavis Henry lining up behind Jay Cutler in the backfield.
ADAMS IN AND OUT: Even when Adams does practice, as he did Wednesday, he is occasionally relieved on the first team by Kennedy, as the Broncos remain cautious with the 14-year veteran. “We’ve don’t want to overdo it on his knees because he’s had arthroscopic surgery, he’s obviously had some problem with the knees, so we want to get him in football shape and that’s not always just banging them every day,” Shanahan said. “What we try to do is practice him one day. The next day he gets in there and lifts weights, he runs, he pushes a sled, gets on the treadmill, gets on the step master, and then the next day we bring him back with football.”
STANDOUT PLAYS: T.J. Hollowell notched a leaping goal-line interception of Cutler … Holder Todd Sauerbrun found Jason Elam on a fake-field-goal pass, but it must be noted that had the play been live in a game, Hamza Abdullah would have probably deflected the pass away for an incompletion … Teyo Johnson had a pair of touchdown grabs in the goal-line period … Nate Jackson beat Steve Cargile for a touchdown in team goal-line work, but Cargile notched an end-zone interception in the seven-on-seven red-zone period … Dre’ Bly and Domonique Foxworth each logged interceptions off Parsons, but the fourth-team quarterback rallied by leading the third offense on a two-minute drill touchdown drive against the No. 3 defense by completing five straight passes to set up first-and-goal from the 7-yard-line, then finding a leaping David Kircus for a 7-yard, third-and-goal scoring grab with just 20 seconds remaining. The second- and first-team offenses both moved inside the opposing defense’s 25-yard-line (the drives began at the offense’s 30) before petering out.
More to come, until then, vaya con Dios.
Tags: Training Camp