Here we are, back in the press box at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The stands aren’t packed like they will be come the start of the season, but there are still thousands of fans around the lower bowl of the stadium ready to watch the 2011 Broncos hit the practice field for the Summer Scrimmage.
This blog will be updated every few minutes as the action unfolds on the field, so be sure to refresh the page occasionally.
2:05 p.m. MDT: The entire team ran out onto the field just a few minutes ago to loud cheers. Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey were the last two players out of the tunnel, and both acknowledged the crowd after receiving big ovations.
2:12 p.m. MDT: The team is running through individual position drills at the moment, but as players were warming up, Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow had a little fun, lining up about 20 yards away from the field goal uprights. All three tried to throw the ball to hit the crossbar. Tebow hit it first, then on the very next attempt, Quinn lofted a rainbow pass that drilled the middle of the crossbar, and the signal caller walked away with a big smile.
2:19 p.m. MDT: At least from up here in the press box, it doesn’t look like there are many rookie haircuts making an appearance at today’s practice. Remember, last year this event was the debut for Tebow’s “Friar Tuck” look. Max Henson is taking in the action from the field, so if he sees anything different, I’ll let you all know.
2:25 p.m. MDT: Eddie Royal is the only player deep to field punts during this special teams drill. In practices at Dove Valley, other players like Cassius Vaughn and Perrish Cox have rotated in with him. Today, it’s just Royal. Just now, the receiver found a gap in the punt coverage team and showed a quick burst through it, sprinting down the middle of the field. Needless to say, it brought another big cheer from the crowd.
2:27 p.m. MDT: Looks like I spoke too soon. Syd’Quan Thompson is now in fielding Britton Colquitt’s punts. Guess they’re still rotating in, but the other players are just waiting on the sideline.
2:34 p.m. MDT: Brandon Lloyd just made a nice catch over his head in a 7-on-7 session with Orton at quarterback. The two followed up that connection with a deep scoring strike down the sideline — a 40-yarder past Andre’ Goodman in coverage. Meanwhile, the offensive and defensive lines are going through stretches with Strength and Conditioning Coach Rich Tuten.
2:39 p.m. MDT: After Orton completed all of his passes in his 7-on-7 session, Tebow entered the fold, finishing his session without any incompletions as well. His last throw was a long bullet over the middle to Matt Willis for a solid gain.
2:41 p.m. MDT: Next up, Quinn, and his first pass has the potential for a big gain to Willis McGahee out of the backfield, but the pass bounces off the running back’s fingertips. He put his hands on his helmet in disbelief that he dropped it, then essentially tackled Kyle McCarthy as the two collided after the play. Both got up and jogged back to the huddle.
2:45 p.m. MDT: After another couple more throws for Tebow, including his first incompletion, Quinn is back in again in 7-on-7s. He just threw a pass toward the sideline, but cornerback Chris Harris jumped in front of Mark Dell for the first interception of the session.
2:47 p.m. MDT: Adam Weber just came in for his first reps, and he proceeded to throw a pass into tight coverage that linebacker A.J. Jones came away with for the defense’s second interception.
3:02 p.m. MDT: The scrimmage has officially begun — the first true live period of camp, where tackling is allowed. Kyle Orton is under center as the offense gets started. The first play from scrimmage is a screen pass to Brandon Lloyd, who picks up a first down. The second play is another screen, this one taking advantage of a called blitz and allowing Knowshon Moreno to pick up about 45 yards after following some nice blocks. But the drive stalls there — Orton finds Eric Decker in the end zone but the refs rule he was out of bounds, then two plays later the quarterback scrambles out of the pocket but slides at the 3-yard line. Matt Prater trots in and knocks home a field goal for the offense. Now Orton and the offense are back at their own 35-yard line again, ready to start another drive.
3:07 p.m. MDT: On first down, Lance Ball takes a carry 11 yards for a first down after putting a juke move on Kyle McCarthy. On the ensuing first down, Orton evades pressure after a play-action fake handoff to Ball, but his pass to Ball afterward falls incomplete. On the next play, Orton fires over the middle to Eddie Royal for a big gain to the opponent’s 35-yard line. The ensuing run is blown up in the backfield by Jeremy Jarmon, however, bringing up second-and-14. Orton found Daniel Fells in coverage for a 10-yard gain, making it a manageable third-and-4 on the next play, but his pass to Decker over the middle is bobbled a little bit and broken up by Nate Jones. Now Hauschka is in to kick a field goal from the 29-yard line — and it’s good. The blue team has six points.
3:12 p.m. MDT: Now Tim Tebow is in to lead the offense from its own 35-yard line, and his first pass is over the head of Julius Thomas for an incompletion. On second down, Tebow hands off to Jeremiah Johnson, who finds a hole on the right side of the line and streaks down the sideline to the opponent’s 38-yard line. That makes it first down, and Tebow is sacked by Von MIller (or the play was blown dead — he wasn’t actually hit) for a 4-yard loss. On the next play, Elvis Dumervil streaks around his blocker for what might’ve been another sack on the second-year quarterback, but the refs don’t blow the play dead and Tebow runs to pick up 5 yards. Afterward, Elvis talked to him to let him know he had him in his grasp. So on the next play, Dumervil left no doubt, wrapping up Tebow for another sack before pounding his chest as the punt team heads onto the field. But the ball isn’t actually punted — Tebow and the offense just start back over for another drive from their own 35-yard line.
3:16 p.m. MDT: Fans should be happy to see the dynamic duo already in full swing, as Miller and Dumervil were both credited with sacks on the last drive. Speaking of which, Dumervil just notched another sack on Tebow’s second drive, forcing a 6-yard loss on second down to bring up third-and-16. Tebow proceeded to fire a pass to Matt Willis on the next play for 15 yards, bringing up fourth-and-1 — and the offense is still on the field after Tebow ran to the sideline to get the call from Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy. It’s a run on fourth down, and after a lot of scrambling, Referee Bill Leavy signals that the offense didn’t get it, and the defense celebrates the turnover on downs.
3:19 p.m. MDT: I knew the stadium looked fairly busy — turns out all the INVESCO parking lots are full, so if you’re still making your way to the end of the scrimmage, all traffic is being directed to Pepsi Center for parking.
3:22 p.m. MDT: Brady Quinn just lofted a pass down the sideline under pressure, and Dante Rosario came down with it over top of Darcel McBath for a big gain into opponent territory. The drive continues with a nice connection with D’Andre Goodwin to the 21-yard line. On the next play, Quinn tries to find a streaking Mark Dell in the end zone, but his pass is nearly intercepted before it hits the ground. After a run on second down, Quinn hits Dell on the sideline for a nice grab the rookie receiver had to reach down for, giving the offense a first-and-goal at the 3. Brandon Minor takes a carry to the 1-yard line, and the next play features three tight ends — Dan Gronkowski, Virgil Green and Dante Rosario. Quinn finds Green in the end zone for the offense’s first touchdown of the scrimmage.
3:32 p.m. MDT: It’s Adam Weber’s turn, and his drive ends with a pick by Brandon Bing, but there’s a flag on the play on the defense. Bing runs down to inside the 25-yard line, but he’s tackled hard by offensive lineman Curt Porter. Porter gets high fives, as does Bing, as Head Coach John Fox blows his whistle to bring the session to a close. The team is huddled up at the moment and there will be interviews off the field shortly. We’ll have more photos from the session in this blog soon, video highlights courtesy of Broncos TV and a top story a little later.
Keep in mind, Shannon Sharpe will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight, so tune in to NFL Network — and we’ll have the Broncos legend’s speech on DenverBroncos.com either later tonight or tomorrow morning.
For more photos of today’s action see below.