The skies above Dove Valley were drab Tuesday morning, and Head Coach Mike Shanahan felt that the performance of his team was equally so after a two-and-a-quarter-hour session that he termed “below average.”
“The intensity is there. Guys are tired, but they’ve got to work through it,” Shanahan said. “That’s what football’s all about; that’s what training camp is all about.”
However, one welcome sight was the return of tight end Tony Scheffler to the practice field. His time in his No. 88 jersey, however, was limited, as he went through calisthenics and installation drills, running a few routes before retreating to rehabilitation work.
“We tried to work him through about a 30-minute period, trying to get him used to running some routes,” Shanahan said. “He’s still a ways away.”
Jarvis Moss remained sidelined following the Monday morning scare he experienced with his left knee; he was on the field throughout the practice walking smoothly with his knee wrapped in a bandage. Other injuries, however, shook up the Broncos’ alignment as practice wound forward.
JOHN LYNCH: The 15th-year safety left the field late in the session after suffering a slightly bruised sternum on a collision with Travis Henry. Hamza Abdullah took his place with the first unit for the final periods of the morning.
“I’m all right. I’ve just been banging into Travis a little bit too much,” Lynch said. “Usually I grind through it, but they pulled me out … I’ll just come back and be ready to go tomorrow.”
MATT LEPSIS: The offensive tackle suffered what Shanahan termed “a little bit of a groin pull” and was replaced on the first unit by Adam Meadows for the final 45 minutes of practice.
“I’m not sure how serious it is right now, but it’s enough to keep him out,” Shanahan said. Lepsis did stay on the sidelines after incurring the injury.
MIKE BELL: The third-team running back was walking around slowly after being hit during team drills midway through practice and did not see much playing time thereafter, although he remained on the field.
QUENTIN HARRIS: The backup safety left the field after colliding with running back Andre Hall at the goal line during red-zone drills, and received on-field treatment on his right knee. He did not return, but he remained on the sidelines and did not leave the field until the end of practice.
NOTES FROM THE MORNING:
ATTENDANCE REPORT: In addition to the names listed above, the following players did not practice Monday morning: wide receivers Brandon Marshall, Rod Smith, Marquay McDaniel and Glenn Martinez, cornerback Lamont Reid, tight end Chad Mustard (who had returned to action Monday after missing four days last week), linebackers Louis Green and Warrick Holdman, offensive tackle Doug Neinhuis and defensive tackle Sam Adams. Wide receiver Brandon Stokley was in shoulder pads, but was limited to individual and installation work.
POINTS OF EMPHASIS: Wide receivers, defensive linemen and running backs were among the players to work on turnover drills, where a loose ball is tossed to the ground as though it were a fumble, leaving the player to practice diving on it … Extensive time was devoted to red-zone work, as well as to some specific down-and-distance scenarios that had not been touched upon prior to Tuesday. “We have all of our installation in and we have put them in some situations that they haven’t done a lot of such as throwing the football with different personnel groups and the two-minute drill at the end,” Shanahan said. “It is something that you like to do when the players are tired because it is very realistic of what happens on game day. You have to have 11 guys coordinate it, and we lost a few guys out there today and the guys that are backing up have to step up and get the job done.” … The defensive linemen worked on stunts and twists in their faceoffs with offensive linemen.
WHO’S WHERE? With Adams sidelined, Jimmy Kennedy was back at defensive tackle with the first team in its base package … D.D. Lewis lined up with the first team at strongside linebacker … Chris Myers filled in for Ben Hamilton at left guard … Montrae Holland remained with the first team at right guard, which Chris Kuper handling second-unit duties.
STANDOUT PLAYS AND PLAYERS: Javon Walker, with a one-handed grab in the red zone … Quincy Morgan, with a gorgeous, back-of-the-end-zone catch of a ball tipped by Jeff Shoate. Morgan made several nice catches during the practice … Dre’ Bly also made some solid pass deflections downfield during the session, including one where he broke up a deep pass for Brian Clark … Andre Hall picked up where he left off from Saturday’s red-zone and goal-line work, scoring on a red-zone play with a similar spin move to the one he executed on Saturday. Maybe I’ll start calling him Denis Savard, a.k.a. “Spin-o-Rama” … Tim Crowder looked good against the run with the second-team, at one point collapsing the wall of blockers to hold Cecil Sapp to a minimal gain … John Engelberger forced Travis Henry to fumble early in practice, causing an exuberant Jim Bates to run into the defensive huddle with an outstretched hand to high-five the Virginia Tech product, yelling, “That’s the way to pull it out, John!” Cutler and Henry also had trouble with a handoff, but Henry recovered it.
OTHER NOTES: Colorado Rockies second baseman Jamey Carroll was on hand … Lynch arranged for U.S. military personnel from Fort Carson and Buckley Air Force Base to watch the practice from the sidelines; they were introduced to the team at the end of the session.
Snapshots from the session:
Special teams at 3:40 this afternoon; photos and a few notes to come. Until then, vaya con Dios.