After getting through two practices on the opening day of training camp, the team had just a single session on Saturday.
Here are some quick hits from the day.
ROLL CALL: Absent from yesterday evening’s practice, Champ Bailey, Renaldo Hill, Brandon Marshall and Marcus Thomas all participated in Saturday’s session.
Later in practice, play was stopped during an 11-on-11 drill and Nic Clemons was carted off the field.
Vernon Fox missed the session today, which Head Coach Josh McDaniels explained afterwards.
“Vernon Fox has a slight deal where he is a little sore, and he will be out until he can come back. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.”
POSITIONING: A few new faces cracked the first-unit defense when the group lined up in what appeared to be a nickel package. Only Ryan McBean and Kenny Peterson were on the line, while Darrell Reid, Wesley Woodyard, D.J. Williams and Elvis Dumervil were at linebacker. Cornerbacks Andre’ Goodman, Jack Williams and Alphonso Smith joined safeties Brian Dawkins and Darcel McBath in the secondary.
Correll Buckhalter, Peyton Hillis, LaMont Jordan and Ryan Torain continued to split carries with the first unit offense. The starters at the receiver and tight end positions rotated depending on the formation. Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal were in on most every play, while Marshall and Brandon Stokley played with the unit at different times. The same goes for Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler, who each saw their share of reps with the first unit.
DRILLS: Dawkins let out a giant shout and gave Bailey a powerful high-five before the first drill of the day began. Then the defensive backs proceeded to essentially stand still, working on getting the right play call and calling audibles. It was just a little taste of the intensity Dawkins brings to the field even during drills.
Brett Kern and Britton Colquitt practiced holding by taking a knee and catching the snap from a JUGS machine before placing it down for Matt Prater.
During one drill, tight ends worked on blocking one-on-one with linebackers. Two battles stood out — when Tony Scheffler took on Darrell Reid, the blocking was so vigorous that Reid’s helmet came off. Then when Richard Quinn took on Mario Haggan, he locked up the linebacker and blocked him all the way out of bounds, drawing loud praise from tight ends coach Clancy Barone.
In a full-speed, full-contact, one-on-one drill, several collisions drew “ooohs” from the crowd, including Hillis against Tim Crowder and Graham against Andra Davis. Josh Barrett’s battles with Marshall might have been the most physical, resulting in what looked like a ripped shirt or two.
“We were both going out there, trying to get the best of one another,” Barrett said, noting that he couldn’t judge who won the matchups. “I’ll give it to him if he thinks he won. I know he didn’t score.”
PLAYMAKERS: Dawkins had a near interception during 7-on-7s, bobbling the ball before it fell to the turf. He then dropped to the ground and immediately did 10 pushups, drawing cheers from the crowd.
During 11-on-11 drills, Kyle Orton launched a pass downfield to a streaking Marshall, who looked like he had a leaping grab. Bailey had other plans, however, bolting in seemingly out of nowhere to break up the reception.
“I saw him looking and looking and waiting for everybody to clear,” Bailey said of Orton. “I don’t think he saw me … so I just made him throw that ball, and he did.”
Prater showed off some of his power while Lonie Paxton and the punters worked on the snap and hold before field goals. Prater only had to kick it through an extra set of uprights brought onto the field a short distance away, but the far uprights were 53 yards downfield. He cleared the far field goal posts by at least 10 yards on one attempt, booting it over the back wall into the staff parking lot. On another attempt he hit the very top of the right upright.
In one-on-ones between defensive backs and wide receivers, Orton threw a strike to Eddie Royal, who jumped up and grabbed a nice catch over the back of Andre’ Goodman. Later in practice, however, during a two-minute drill, Goodman snared an interception from Orton to put an end to a drive by the first-unit offense.
Rulon Davis batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
QUICK HITS: It was a good day to be a fan at Dove Valley today. The only shade on the field during the 90-plus degree practice was on the hill where the fans sat.
Though it wasn’t used on Saturday, a scoreboard has been installed on the side of the building at Dove Valley, facing the practice fields.
Rookies Blake Schlueter and Tom Brandstater botched a snap, which resulted in a fumble. The ball on the ground meant both players had to take a lap around the field. They weren’t alone, however, because a few minutes later coaches didn’t like the play of the defense and sent the entire unit on a lap around the field.
It’s worth noting that an interesting rule has been mandated during offense vs. defense drills. When the ball hits the ground, no matter the situation, both units have to treat it as a fumble. The rule came into play a few times on Saturday, including on a dropped interception that was picked back up by another defender and taken back the other way.
DAILY JUKEBOX: As the team was filtering outside and fans were lining the hill alongside the far field, “Apache” by the Sugar Hill Gang pumped through the speakers. It was a fun start to a hot day of practice that featured yet another eclectic mix of music. A few other choice grooves:
Jay-Z “Oh My God”
Bruce Springsteen “The Rising”
Snoop Dogg “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”
Rolling Stones “Start Me Up”
Outkast “Hey Ya”
Below are pictures from the session. The team will be back on the field for a morning practice at 8:45 MDT Sunday morning.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com
Tags: Training Camp