Wide receiver Andre Caldwell had one of the biggest highlights from Wednesday’s practice, hauling in a deep touchdown on a throw from quarterback Caleb Hanie.
“That’s my motivation every day – to come out here and prove to everybody that I should be out there on the field making plays,” Caldwell said. “I can be a household name and help this team win ball games.”
Caldwell explained that on that route in particular, he was one-on-one with a cornerback, gave him a quick move inside and then used his speed to run underneath Hanie’s pass.
That speed, Caldwell said, allows him to play outside receiver, but he said he feels comfortable playing as a slot receiver as well.
Regardless of where he lines up, he’s excited to have quarterback Peyton Manning throwing him the ball.
“Peyton signing here had a big impact on my decision,” he said. “I wanted to go to a passing offense with a quarterback who could get the ball to me and use a bunch of receivers, just let us make plays. From what I have seen of Peyton in the past, he makes the receivers look great. He puts the ball in the right spot so we can’t help but catch it. Just put your hands out, it’s going to lay right in the basket.”
FOX: HIATUS ‘EVIDENT’
At the end of the session, Head Coach John Fox called practice “good,” with a caveat.
“I think it was evident — particularly offensively — we were on a four-and-a-half day hiatus,” he said. “But, that’s what happens when you get a little break. I think they enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend and now we just have to get back to business.”
Manning, wide receiver Eric Decker and tight end Joel Dreessen must have agreed, as the three stayed on the field after practice, working on routes and timing.
But Fox is still happy with where the offense stands in late May.
“We are way further along this year than we were a year ago without any offseason,” he said. “We’re making good progress. Guys are working at it hard. We’ve had excellent participation. We just have to continue to improve. Today we had a little bit to be desired, but I’m sure they’ll get back in the flow of things for tomorrow.”
DREESSEN HOME, HARD AT WORK
Dreessen, who played college football at Colorado State University, is excited to be back in the state.
But he’s past the “welcome home” phase as practices pick up in intensity.
“I know we’ve been talking about how great it is supposed to be for me to come back home, but it’s been a lot of work so far,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to be — I’ve got a job to do. I’m over the Colorado thing.”
That doesn’t mean he’s not thrilled to be with the Broncos — “This is where I’m going to be as good as I can possibly be,” he said.
The tight end said OTAs have been a big benefit in particular so that he can get used to all of the calls Manning makes at the line of scrimmage. He and the rest of the offense are getting “more and more comfortable” as the practices go on at a quick pace.
“We’re very high-tempo, getting things done — we’re moving very efficiently,” Dreessen said. “I’m pretty sure that practice is your conditioning, so you’ve got to move fast and get into shape that way.”
FANNIN GETTING ‘BACK TO NORMAL’
Running back Mario Fannin, who was placed on IR after suffering a knee injury in training camp last season, said he’s been working hard with the training staff to get “everything back to normal.”
“Just getting back and working every day to get (my knee) strong,” he said.
The payoff? Being able to take handoffs — and catch passes — from Manning.
“He definitely knows what he’s doing,” Fannin said. “He’s a vet and an All-Star player. He’s very smart and he’s witty and he’s a guy that’s going to lead this team to do great things. It’s always been a dream to catch a pass from a quarterback like that. Now it’s making sure I’m in the playbook and making sure I know everything and what to do and get the job done.”