The Broncos hit the field again Friday morning for their third practice, again without pads. This was easily the hottest practice in the early going of camp, due mostly to the humidity.
As players walked out of the locker room onto the field, there were a lot of exclamations of “Woo!” and “Oh my God!” even from Miami native Orlando Franklin. Nate Jones just went with a, “Nice and cool out here.”
There were plenty of new faces present, as earlier in the day the team inked third-round pick Nate Irving, meaning the club’s entire 2011 NFL Draft class is now under contract.
Irving wasn’t on the field at the start of practice, but made his way out a little later and jumped right into the action. Second-rounder Rahim Moore entered the fray as well, and in his first practice joined fellow rookie Quinton Carter in taking reps with the first-unit defense.
LINE ‘EM UP
The first units were peppered with rookies, as Moore and Carter were at safety and Von Miller was in at strongside linebacker. When Miller wasn’t on the field, fellow rookie Mike Mohamed stepped in.
On offense, Franklin continued to take reps with the first-unit offensive line at right tackle.
Mohamed entered the lineup when Miller stepped to the sideline and laid down beside Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos, who proceeded to work on the rookie’s right leg. Miller stayed on the field for a while, but eventually walked back into the locker room.
Later in practice, Carter took a ride on a cart across the field, but got up and walked under his own power into the locker room as well.
Head Coach John Fox said after practice that Miller has a quad bruise, and Carter was suffering from heat stress.
During one-on-ones, the matchup the crowd enjoyed the most had to be Brandon Lloyd against Champ Bailey. Kyle Orton threw the ball deep to the end zone, and Lloyd nearly went up and got it but Bailey was having none of it, swatting the ball away.
Bailey had a big day, also picking off a Tim Tebow pass near the sideline, which drew its fair share of cheers as well.
Carter and David Bruton both had diving breakups to force incomplete passes during the drill.
Eddie Royal came back to make a back-shoulder grab of a pass from Orton just in front of Andre’ Goodman.
Goodman made up for it shortly thereafter, breaking up a deep bomb to the end zone from Tebow to Eric Decker.
Royal was active, making catch after catch from Orton, finding plenty of open space but making a few catches in tight coverage as well. He had the most exciting play of the day, when he caught a pass from Orton over the middle, turned and sprinted upfield through defenders all the way to the end zone. Knowshon Moreno sprinted to greet him, leaping in the air for a celebration, and Lloyd prompted Royal to join him in a “you can’t see me” gesture.
Meanwhile, the catch of the day might go to Eric Decker. Orton fired a bullet over the middle, and with Bailey and Moore closing quickly, Decker leaped and snared the ball out of the air with his arms outstretched, drawing cheers from the crowd and praise from the quarterback.
When Miller was on the field, he made his presence felt again. Orton was on a hot streak during the first 7-on-7 session, as he completed every pass — until his last. The rookie linebacker leaped in front of Orton’s final attempt of the session and grabbed an interception, bringing raucous cheers from the crowd.
Brady Quinn drew cheers of his own when the pocket broke down in a team drill. The quarterback scrambled down the middle of the field and kept sprinting all the way to about the 5-yard line, when the defense finally wrapped him up.
There were a lot of 7-on-7 and team drills during the session, much to the delight of the crowd, and it made for a handful of big plays.
Moore earned a high five from Coach Fox after contributing to tight coverage during a team drill.
After practice, Tebow was joking around and set his feet 20 yards away from the field goal uprights. He lofted a pass and drilled the crossbar on his first try.
Early on during quarterback drills, Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy worked with Orton and Quinn while Quarterbacks Coach Adam Gase focused on Tebow and college free agent Adam Weber.
During the walkthrough portion of practice, Assistant Secondary Coach Sam Garnes gave pointers to Moore after every play.
Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen made sure his players always ran to the next drill, at one point singling out his star rookie: “Let’s go Von Miller, don’t be the last one over here!”
Plenty of players fielded kickoffs during the special teams portion of practice, including Decker, Cassius Vaughn, Brandon Bing, Perrish Cox, Lance Ball and Chris Harris.
The team will be back on the field Saturday morning at 8:50 a.m. in another session free and open to the public. Look for plenty more content on DenverBroncos.com shortly, and be sure to check the Training Camp page for all of our coverage in one place.
Tags: Training Camp