After it looked like rain would move the Broncos’ practice to an indoor facility, the skies cleared, and the team was out on the field at Dove Valley. Despite a little wetness, fans still showed up in droves, and were treated to a session full of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, including several focusing on the red zone.
Here are some quick hits from the slightly more than two-hour practice.
ROLL CALL: Several veterans who missed practice yesterday evening were back on the field Tuesday afternoon, including Daniel Graham, Brandon Marshall and D.J. Williams.
It was the first day of practice for new Broncos defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith, who was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots yesterday.
POSITIONING: The first unit defense matched the team’s depth chart, with Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields and Ryan McBean on the line, Mario Haggan, Andra Davis, Williams and Elvis Dumervil at linebacker and Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman, Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill in the secondary.
The kickoff return team this afternoon consisted of Peterson, Peyton Hillis, Kory Lichtensteiger, Reid, Spencer Larsen, Wesley Woodyard, Darcel McBath, David Bruton, Haggan and Josh Barrett, with Alphonso Smith and Kenny McKinley rotating return duties.
Le Kevin Smith got some work with the second-unit defensive line.
DRILLS: During one-on-one drills between defensive linemen and linebackers versus offensive linemen and tight ends, things got a little spirited. On one battle between Richard Quinn and Darrell Reid, both linebackers coach Don Martindale and tight ends coach Clancy Barone claimed victory for their side. “That’s a win for us!” shouted Barone, while Martindale simultaneously heaped praise on Reid.
Peterson and Graham’s matchup brought a little talking from the two after the fact, but the two didn’t get a chance to go up again, and after the drill the players walked up to each other and exchanged a quick five and fist bump.
Later in more one-on-ones, the defense had a string of good matchups. Robert Ayers made a good move to get past his blocker, then a few plays later Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder got to the quarterback on back-to-back reps. The offensive ilne made some plays as well, with Ryan Clady stacking up nicely against Dumervil twice, and Matt McChesney recovering to keep his feet in front of a hard-charging Nic Clemons and keep him away from the quarterback.
In field goal drills, the unit practiced a fake, with Brett Kern connecting with Daniel Graham, who ran it in for a touchdown.
PLAYMAKERS: Quinn made a solid play in the passing game during a red zone 7-on-7 drill. Chris Simms backed up in the pocket and fired a pass directly to the rookie tight end in the back of the end zone, with fellow rookie Alphonso Smith in coverage. Quinn took the ball right out of the cornerback’s hands for a touchdown.
Kyle Orton found Eddie Royal for a quick touchdown in an 11-on-11 red zone drill, which disappointed the defense because it looked a little too easy. On the next play, the unit brought a heavy blitz, but Orton quickly dropped back and floated a pass high into the hands of Tony Scheffler — just past the coverage of Josh Barrett — for back-to-back scores.
Later in the 11-on-11 red zone drill, the first unit offense and defense stepped up to the line, and it was announced that there was one play to win the game. Orton took the snap and handed off to Hillis, who plowed his way through a hole created by the offensive line for a touchdown, giving the offense the win.
Marshall made a few tough catches during practice, once snagging a pass right in front of Brian Dawkins over the middle, and later doing the same thing in front of Renaldo Hill. Of course, no hits were made after the catch, but the receiver’s ability to go over the middle was evident.
Tony Carter almost had an interception during an 11-on-11 drill, but the ball fell to the ground. As has been the defense’s policy, the unit treated it like a fumble, but Jeb Putzier was able to get to the ball before the defense and jogged into the end zone.
Moulton ended the 11-on-11 session with an interception, causing his teammates to chant “Defense!” as the team moved on to field goal drills.
QUICK HITS: Le Kevin Smith and Chris Baker worked to the side with defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely in between drills.
Royal acted as quarterback for the rest of the receivers as they each ran routes to the far end zone to start another drill. Most of the balls were right on the mark, but some players goofed around with their fellow receiver throwing them passes — Chad Jackson tried to catch it behind his back, but it hit him right in the back as he and the rest of the receivers had a good laugh.
During a 7-on-7 drill, Marquez Brandon made a nice catch and turned to run up the sideline. Most of the defenders kneeling on the sideline got out of the way, but Rashod Moulton stepped up to playfully try to knock the ball away from the rookie. Branson held on.
DAILY JUKEBOX: There was quite a selection during Tuesday’s practice, as there were plenty of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills that required some crowd noise. The playlist was chosen by Head Coach Josh McDaniels and assistant to the head coach Mark Thewes. Here’s practically a whole Broncos practice mixtape:
Poison – “Nothin’ But a Good Time”
Kris Kross – “Jump” (Marcus Thomas, Darrell Reid and Chris Baker had a little head bobbing going)
Hurricane Chris – “Halle Berry (She’s Fine)” (This selection got Alphonso Smith and Joshua Bell dancing)
Notorious B.I.G. – “Hypnotize”
Michael Jackson – “Bad”
The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
Beastie Boys – “Intergalactic”
Black Eyed Peas – “Boom Boom Pow”
Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
DJ Khaled – “We Takin’ Over”
Neil Young – “Rockin’ in the Free World”
U2 – “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”
“That’s kind of like brothers. Daniel and I are really close. Sometimes out here in competition, we are both competitors, we get a little heated and tempers flare a little bit. But 15 minutes later we were laughing and joking about it, so it’s all in fun.”
-Kenny Peterson, on getting heated with Daniel Graham during practice.
The team will be back on the field for two practices tomorrow, scheduled for 8:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. MDT.
More pictures of the session below.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
Tags: Training Camp