After completing back-to-back two-a-days on Sunday and Monday, the Broncos returned to the field on Tuesday afternoon for their lone practice of the day.
During the session, the team scrimmaged for an extended period of time, marching up and down the field working on 11-on-11s for what seemed like the longest it has all of camp.
Tuesday’s practice also marked a first of camp, as three league referees were present at Dove Valley. But more of them later. Here are some quick hits from the afternoon session:
ROLL CALL: Jarvis Moss returned to practice on Tuesday after missing the last few sessions. The club wasted little time getting the third-year player involved, as Moss was working with the special teams unit on punt rush situations just moments after he took the field.
One day after officially signing with the team, first-round pick Robert Ayers made his training camp debut.
Nic Clemons and Brandon Marshall missed the session. Casey Wiegmann, Daniel Graham and Ryan Torain were back on the field after missing Monday night’s practice.
Speaking after practice, Head Coach Josh McDaniels said Nick Greisen, who was carted off the field during Monday’s morning practice, will miss the entire 2009 season. Greisen showed up at Dove Valley before practice on crutches, and the eighth-year linebacker was immediately greeted by linebackers coach Don Martindale. In his stead, Braxton Kelley also made a return to Dove Valley.
POSITIONING: During the team’s first special team’s session of the day, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer threw in a few fake punt situations. On one play, Nate Swift ran with the ball off a direct snap. On the next play, punter Britton Colquitt threw a pass to Swift, who streaked down field.
As the team partook in its first set of red zone 11-on-11s, the defensive unit consisted of Tim Crowder, Ryan McBean, Ronald Fields, Kenny Peterson, Andra Davis, D.J. Williams and Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey and Andre’ Goodman at cornerback and Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill at safety.
Dawkins left during 11-on-11s for the locker room, followed by a trainer. His injury was not visible, and Coach McDaniels said after practice he didn’t know about the veteran’s condition, but would update the situation tomorrow. David Bruton took Dawkins’ place with the first unit for the remainder of practice.
DRILLS: Talk about a hands-on approach. McDaniels and wide receivers coach Adam Gase spent time at the onset of practice working with receivers on route running. To do so, the two coaches shadowed receivers trying to make catches in the back of the end zone. A bit later, McDaniels jammed the receivers at the line of scrimmage, getting up close and personal with them as they broke into their routes.
During one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive lines, a number of players drew praise from their respective position coaches. Ryan McBean drew praise from defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely after his matchup with rookie Seth Olsen.
Later, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan complimented Moss, saying “good hands” after he completed a series of rushes against Stanley Bryant, Jr.
In a drill matching up linebackers and defensive lineman against tight ends and offensive tackles, Elvis Dumervil drew high praise from Martindale. At the same time, tight ends coach Clancy Barone stayed on rookie Richard Quinn, reminding him to be precise with his technique.
PLAYMAKERS: Jack Williams shined during practice, making a pair of interceptions. The first came off Tom Brandstater during red zone 11-on-11s. The second, however, was arguably the highlight of the day. One play after being whistled for pass interference by Ed Hochuli on fourth down at the five-yard line, the offense had the ball at the one. It was the final play of red zone 11-on-11s, and Williams jumped in front of a Kyle Orton pass, returning it 99 yards for the score to the jubilation of his defensive teammates.
“We wouldn’t have been in that predicament if I hadn’t gotten the penalty called on me,” Williams said. “So, I had to do something.”
Brandstater showed some resolve during red zone 11-on-11s. After Williams intercepted him, the rookie signal caller came back, firing back-to-back touchdown passes to Quinn.
During 11-on-11s, Orton showed his arm strength by connecting with Eddie Royal on a deep ball — drawing applause from the crowd.
During 7-on-7s in the red zone, Jabar Gaffney showcased his propensity for finding openings in the back of the end zone, buying time and moving around until the quarterback can locate him. Gaffney has owned the back line of the end zone the last couple of days, and is seemingly always that reliable target when his quarterback is looking for an outlet.
Orton finished out the same series strongly, connecting on touchdown passes to Tony Scheffler, Peyton Hillis and Royal. A few plays later, Chris Simms found Correll Buckhlater in the middle of the end zone for a score.
The defensive unit gave Simms headaches all afternoon, batting down three of his passes at the line of scrimmage. Mario Haggan and Marcus Thomas knocked down consecutive passes, and a bit later, Ayers batted down another one.
During the final series of 11-on-11s, Royal, despite being hounded by three defenders, was able to snag a pass in the back of the end zone while keeping both feet in bounds.
QUICK HITS: The referee crew didn’t just come to Dove Valley for a meet and greet — they were put to work. When Scheffler made a great sideline grab near midfield, a referee hurried over to the sideline, signaling that the tight end had both feet inbounds and position when he snagged the ball. A bit later during red zone 11-on-11s, Hochuli threw a flag, calling the offense for a false start.
Brett Kern showed off his strong leg midway through practice, booming a punt deep in his own territory (players were blocking the view, but most observers thought he was inside the 20), that went out of the back of the opposite end zone on the fly, drawing a host of cheers.
After practice, trays of ice-cold watermelon awaited the players off the field. And we’re talking Flintstones-sized slices — pretty much a quarter of a watermelon per person.
DAILY JUKEBOX: Stokley was in charge of Tuesday’s music selection. Here’s a list of a few of his picks:
Pearl Jam’s “Black” and “Corduroy” (Both personal favorites of Kyle Sonneman)
Drowning Pool’s “37 Stiches”
Rage Against the Machine’s “Renegades of Funk”
Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy”
“You know, people don’t let me forget it. Hard Knocks comes on all the time, so people still see it to this day.”
-Jack Williams, on being caught from behind by a Dallas Cowboys quarterback after grabbing an interception last preseason
The team will be back on the field tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. MDT. Just a reminder, the morning practice is not open to the public. In addition, the team will head to INVESCO Field at Mile High for a practice full of drills and scrimmages on Thursday at 6 p.m. For more information on that event, click here.
- Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Tags: Training Camp