The third day of Pro Bowl practice got off to an eventful start for the DenverBroncos.com contingent here in town. With thoughts of showing up to practice a little early today, we hopped in the car only to get stuck behind an open drawbridge immediately after pulling out of the hotel.
It’s a neat sight, watching a large bridge open up to let boats sail through, but it cut into our timing a bit. Then, wouldn’t you know it, we ran into another open drawbridge right before arriving at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. By the time the bridge closed again, we were stopped by a parade of police officers on motorcycles — the escort for the AFC team buses headed to practice. We made it to the session in time, but running into two drawbridges and a police escort is an interesting way to start your day.
After the morning chaos, the actual practice was the most relaxed session of the week. Players didn’t wear helmets today — instead, hats and visors peppered the line of scrimmage. While the positions groups were going through drills, the offensive linemen stood in a circle in the end zone and essentially played hackey sack with a football, trying to keep the ball off the ground without using their hands.
In 11-on-11 drills, the offense and defense typically jog through the plays, which of course means there is no contact. But defensive players tend to raise their arms and bring them down quickly to signify that they made the tackle. Even among the most talented defenders in the AFC, it seemed that Brian Dawkins was the one who constantly found his way to the ball to make the hypothetical tackle.
Some of the funniest sights and sounds once again came on special teams, as Chad Ochocinco continued making his way into the kicking game. At one point, Oakland punter Shane Lechler actually served as the long snapper, delivering the ball back to Ochocinco for a punt. When it came time for field goal drills, Ochocinco got one attempt in, and he drove it through the uprights. The receiver even tried his hand at kickoffs, and Champ Bailey and Dawkins sprinted down the field on the coverage team. Elvis Dumervil was one of the blockers for the receiving team, and made a point to find Bailey and block him to the sideline as both Broncos laughed.
It’s obvious the players are getting to know each other better and better, as Bailey had Darrelle Revis cracking up for much of the day, and Brandon Marshall spent part of the day joking around with Andre Johnson, Ray Lewis and Deion Sanders, who is in South Florida with NFL Network.
For more from the third day of Pro Bowl practice, check out a photo gallery, a Broncos TV report and a top story with reaction from Dawkins and Dumervil on the hiring of Don Martindale as defensive coordinator. More photos from today’s session are below.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com