The Broncos concluded their final minicamp on Sunday, and the team will now have over a month off before training camp begins at Dove Valley in late July.
Before departing, the club got in some serious work on Sunday. For the majority of practice, the players worked on game-simulating situations. Nearly every scenario was covered during 11-on-11s, as the team marched up and down the field working on different packages. On one play, the offense was backed up to its own goal line. A few plays later, they were working in the red zone.
McDaniels believes the players now understand what the coaching staff expects from them on a daily basis and what the systems are all about. Accordingly, he was pleased with what the team accomplished on the final day of camp.
“I think they finished today the way that we would want them to finish,” McDaniels said. “There were some mistakes out there, but it certainly wasn’t because it was a lack of energy or a lack of enthusiasm or a lack of effort, because (energy, enthusiasm and effort) is exactly what we’ve seen all spring, and it’s a tribute to them and the group that we’ve put together, and I think they’ve really meshed together well as a team.”
Highlighting the final day of minicamp was an appearance by former wide receiver Rod Smith. Although no longer suiting up, Smith said he was happy to be at practice and is very much looking forward to the upcoming season. Smith said he believes this group of Broncos can “take off” if they successfully buy into McDaniels’ philosophy.
“I get excited to come out and watch them,” he said. “With guys like Champ (Bailey) and D.J. (Williams), guys that I actually played with, Daniel Graham, I look for those guys to lead this team. Brian Dawkins, my son is his biggest fan — he doesn’t know that, though — so he’s going to be looking forward to go and watch Brian Dawkins. That’s huge. Brian’s one of those guys that has been around a long time and he can lead this football team.”
As you’d expect, Smith — who owns virtually every Broncos receiving record — is still a popular figure at team headquarters. Throughout today’s session he could be seen greeting familiar faces within the organization. After practice, Smith spent time talking with a number of Broncos, including Eddie Royal.
Royal said he and Smith talked about how doing the little things right on a daily basis pays dividends in the long run.
“Any chance you get to learn from a legend like him, you take every opportunity,” Royal said. “He’s got great knowledge; he’s played for a long time.”
While speaking with the press, McDaniels glanced out of the corner of his eye and saw Smith speaking with two young players on the team — a sight he was pleased to see.
“Any time guys like Rod Smith come around, I think it’s a great influence for a lot of our younger players … Anything they can learn from Rod Smith will help us out as a football team.”
- In between series, different special teams situations were emphasized. Matt Prater worked on onside kicks and angle kickoffs. Meanwhile, Britton Colquitt and Brett Kern alternated punt attempts. Colquitt had arguably the punt of the day — situated at the back of the end zone, Colquitt boomed a punt nearly 60 yards, forcing returner Alphonso Smith to backpedal.
- Working with the first unit, Kyle Orton showed some nice movement in the pocket — scrambling out of trouble on a few plays to make completions downfield.
- Richard Quinn showed that he was drafted for more than his blocking ability. The second round pick made a diving catch in the middle of the field during 11-on-11s.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Here are some pictures: