The howling wind in the Denver area on Thursday was formidable enough to divert aircraft elsewhere, but it certainly did not divert the Broncos offense from taking to the air in practice.
While wind gusts of over 30 miles per hour forced planes to land at neighboring airports, quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert and Ryan Katz launched spirals through the blustery weather conditions at Broncos headquarters.
And while some balls bobbed, fluttered and sailed in the unrelenting breeze, the squall also helped simulate the unpredictable and often harsh weather conditions that transpire in the course of an NFL season – something that Manning believes is important to the team’s preparation.
“I think that’s a good thing,” Manning said on Thursday. “We had a little rain yesterday, wet field. A little wind today. Any time, whether it’s OTAs or training camp, as many game-like conditions that might come up during the season, that’s a positive.”
Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase mentioned that while breezy conditions may force quarterbacks to make adjustments on deep passes, the weather didn’t impact the general operation of the offense.
“When you have windy conditions, the only thing that it’ll effect probably is your down the field stuff,” Gase said. “If it’s a really deep throw, the quarterback may adjust and say, ‘Hey Adam, I’m going to have to work underneath.’ The last two days, it hasn’t seemed to be a factor for us. We’ve taken some shots down the field and it hasn’t really been an issue.”
The offense wasn’t the only side getting a feel for playing in inclement conditions.
The Broncos defense practiced slowing down an offense moving with the wind at its back – something that cornerback Champ Bailey noted is important for simulating game conditions.
“They tend to do all the passing drills going that way (with the wind) and the running drills going the other way,” Bailey said. “They play into whatever favors them. We have to be prepared for whatever. It works to their advantage sometimes, sometimes it works for us.”