On January 12, 2009, Head Coach Josh McDaniels was named the youngest head coach in the 50-year history of the Denver Broncos.
Eight months to the day later, he and the Broncos will be on a plane destined for Cincinnati — marking the start of the 2009 regular season and the start of at least 16 chances to showcase their work over that time span.
That day couldn’t come any sooner for McDaniels and the rest of the organization.
“You want to get out there and get the butterflies out of the way, start playing football and execute the way you need to,” McDaniels said. “So I think our entire team, all our staff is excited for Sunday and just looking forward to the opportunity to play a real game.”
Part of McDaniels’ adrenaline comes from the special elements that the opener offers. From addressing the squad in the first morning meeting to listening to the first national anthem, he said opening day offers one-time events that are exciting in their own right.
But the most exciting prospect for McDaniels is leaving his home state of Ohio victorious.
“I’ve been through a lot of opening days in different roles and you’ve got that nervous, anxious energy that you can’t wait to go out there and get started, which is what I’m sure I’ll have on Sunday,” he said. “But I think everybody in the locker room and every coach that’s going to coach on Sunday will have the same feeling. I hope it’s a special experience for our team and our organization, and to win on Sunday would be a great experience for all of us.”
Brian Dawkins (hand) was added to the Broncos injury report on Friday, but fully participated in the afternoon session. He is listed as probable for Sunday’s opener against the Bengals. Josh Barrett (shoulder) and Le Kevin Smith (knee) did not participate in practice on Friday and both are listed as out for Sunday’s game.
Jabar Gaffney (finger), Chris Kuper (ankle), Knowshon Moreno (knee) and Kyle Orton (right finger) and Chris Simms (ankle) all took the field for limited participation. Each is listed as questionable for Sunday’s opener.
On the other side, Bengals cornerback David Jones (foot) and offensive tackle Andre Smith (foot) were held out of Friday’s practice and are listed as out for Sunday’s game. Tackle Scott Kooistra (knee) was a limited participant, and is questionable for the opener. Safety Roy Williams (thigh, wide receiver Chris Henry (thigh) and quarterback Carson Palmer (ankle) went through full participation on Friday. Each is listed as probable for Sunday.
Here are a few more pictures from the beginning of Friday afternoon’s practice.
–Chris Gentilviso, DenverBroncos.com