Both the offense and the defense looked sharp during this morning’s session. But throughout practice the offense had a slight edge on their defensive counterparts.
ATTENDANCE REPORT: Hamza Abdullah remained on the sidelines with a groin injury… Tom Nalen didn’t dress due to a right knee… Chad Mustard is still nursing a right hamstring. Montrae Holland is continuing to work with strength coach Rich Tuten to reach his reporting weight. Boss Bailey was back on the practice field after sitting out the last two sessions with soreness in his right knee.
POSTURING FOR POSITION: The battle for the starting middle linebacker position continues to be tight. Nate Webster was listed as the first team linebacker on the Broncos newly released depth chart but Niko Koutouvides got the reps with the first unit during this morning’s session. With Abdullah sitting out with his groin injury, Marquand Manuel was getting reps with the first team at strong safety.
The team debuted its first team defensive line as listed on the depth chart. Marcus Thomas joined John Engelberger, Elvis Dumervil and Dewayne Robertson on the first unit. Kenny Peterson, who had seen time thus far in camp with the first unit received reps with the second unit.
FOCAL POINTS: Practice was centered around full squad 11-on-11 drills. The team first worked on its passing and running attacks. From there practice focused on making plays in the redzone. The team then cycled back through again working on the passing and running game and again in the redzone. The Broncos closed out practice running several two-minute drills.
Kicker Matt Prater worked on his accuracy– the team wheeled out a second set of uprights on the 10-yard line and Prater practiced kicking through both sets of goal posts.
TAKE AWAYS: The offense and defense traded blows throughout practice.
Eddie Royal continued to impress with a leaping catch near the sideline for approximately a 35-yard gain.
The offense converted on several strikes through the air in the redzone with Brandon Marshall, Daniel Graham, Andre Hall and Michael Pittman all notching TD receptions.
Rookie running back Anthony Alridge continues to live up to his “Quick Six” nickname. Alridge had one long run down the sideline and had another long TD run down the opposite sideline.
Fellow rookie rusher Ryan Torain had a pair of touchdown scores in the redzone drill, he also showed his athleticism leaping over the defense on a dive and was only inches away from converting the touchdown.
Selvin Young and Andre Hall each had a pair of scores in the redzone.
Not to be outshined the defense stepped up several times during the redzone drill stuffing the runners and receivers short of the goal line.
The team closed out the morning with three 2-minute drills.
The first drill was headed by Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey completed a pass to Hall on second down. But after an incomplete pass to Marshall, a short gain to Glenn Martinez and a another incompletion, Ramsey was sacked on fourth down by Elvis Dumervil.
Jay Cutler was the quarterback on the second 2-minute drill. After an incomplete pass on a bootleg and a delay of game call, Cutler completed a pass to Brandon Stokley for a first down. After a false start call, a deflection by Tim Crowder, a short gain on a reception to Darrell Jackson and incomplete pass to Marshall, the defense again came through on fourth down pressuring Cutler on a scramble leading to an incomplete pass to the sidelines.
Third time was the charm for the Broncos offense. Darrell Hackney headed the final two-minute drive of the practice. After two straight completions to Taylor Jacobs gave the offense a first down and a short run by Torain, Hackney completed a long bomb to Clifford Russell to the 9-yard line. With 43 seconds remaining the clock, Alridge ran up the middle for the score.
And on that note the Broncos closed out the morning session.
QUOTABLE: “You faster than me?” Dre Bly to teammate Brandon Marshall as he covered Marshall’s route down the sideline.
“Heck yeah,” was Marshall’s response.
Check out this blog this afternoon for additional coverage.
-Jake Grilley, DenverBroncos.com