The Broncos closed the early report portion of training camp with a workout Friday morning, while welcoming first-round pick Tim Tebow to his first professional training camp.
Youngsters and select veterans went through their fourth “opportunity practice” without pads on a sunny morning at Dove Valley in a final chance to impress coaches and learn the system before full-team workouts begin. The players are off this afternoon before veterans report to the facility tomorrow in advance of Sunday morning’s first full-team practice.
Full-squad training camp workouts, most of which are open and free to the public, kick off Sunday at 8:45 am.
In other words, the level of physicality and competition is about to go up very quickly.
Tebow, who officially agreed to a contract Thursday afternoon, was the first quarterback on the practice field, a few minutes before the 11 a.m. workout. He went through drills with Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn.
Drills for quarterbacks were quite similar to the first two days of training. The Florida product got a chance to work with all early reporting wide receivers, tight ends and running backs at different points in the workout, while practicing a variety of throws.
However, most of the drills were focused on footwork and fundamentals during the hour-long workout. That included a period in which quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels and coaching assistant Brian Callahan pretended to be dropping linebackers, while the quarterbacks took short drops or feigned play action and zipped passes to other staffers. Several times during these drills Tebow stepped behind the action to consult with McDaniels.
During the brief closing team period, which focused almost exclusively on run plays, Tebow did not get any reps under center. Orton took the first few snaps before Quinn took the last two. Tebow stood with the offensive extras behind the play beside Ben McDaniels. When the period finished, the Broncos’ second of two first round picks threw an arm around offensive coordinator Mike McCoy as they shared some last second thoughts before the closing huddle.
Jeff Stehle and Ben Garland have seen a lot of each other this week as the only two early reporting defensive lineman. They continued to get a lot of one-on-one instruction with Wayne Nunnely on Friday and spent a lot of time lined up across from one another in drills throughout the three days. One interesting drill from Friday practiced batting balls at the line of scrimmage. The players locked onto each other at the point of attack, while Nunnely fed balls into a JUGS Machine and one of the players had to swat it down. The good news is they should get some company on Sunday in the form of the rest of their peers, including new additions Justin Bannan and Jarvis Green.
Wide receivers coach Adam Gase and vice president of team administration/assistant to the head coach Mark Thewes seemed to particularly enjoy a wide receivers drill designed to test body control in traffic over the middle. With McCoy watching closely, receivers hauled in passes while Gase and Thewes slammed them with blocking pads and tried to dislodge the ball. Despite Gase and Thewes’ best efforts, the receivers won a majority of the battles.
It’s clear that defensive coordinator Wink Martindale appreciated the opportunity to work with his young defenders this week. While it’s not easy to simulate game action practicing opposite garbage cans as linemen and operations staffers playing the skill positions, he stayed on his players throughout the week about the little things, including pre-snap stance. He particularly seemed to enjoy pushing the linebackers through a drill in which they had to take their drops and then try to intercept a pass, focusing his players on proper footwork.
Today’s special teams period focused on tackling. On one field, linebackers, tight ends and running backs had to break past a player holding a blocking pad and crash into a ball carrier as if they were going to form tackle them. On the other field, wide receivers and defensive backs did a similar drill in which two of them had to get past two pad-wielding blockers to corral the returner.
Marquez Branson got an opportunity to showcase his versatility during the closing team period. On several plays, Branson lined up in the backfield as a fullback. Spencer Larsen, the lone fullback on the roster, did not report early, and McDaniels has said Branson is comfortable lining up in the backfield if necessary.
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com
Below are some more photos from the workout:
Tags: 2010, Rookies, Tim Tebow, Training Camp