It was another hot afternoon at Broncos training camp with the team holding its special teams session. The team spent the afternoon working on kickoffs. Here is a recap of the action.
ATTENDANCE REPORT: Being a special teams only practice, many of the Broncos not on special teams hit the weight room early and had finished their workouts as practice was getting underway. The Broncos special team regulars with the exception of Peyton Hillis, who is still listed as out of pads, suited up for practice.
POSTURING FOR POSITION: Anthony Alridge, Samie Parker, Glenn Martinez, Eddie Royal, Clifford Russell and Andre Hall made up the group of returners fielding the kickoffs.
FOCAL POINTS: The team began practice working on its onside kicks.
Kicker Matt Prater worked on his kickoffs. One series of drill focused on higher, shallower kickoffs, Prater’s kicks were fielded by John Engelberger near the sideline at approximately the 15-yard line.
From there Prater focused on kicking it deep, he was kicking from the 35-yard line,during games kickoffs are from the 30, still Prater managed to have nearly 70-yard kickoffs. All of his kicks went into the endzone, about half landing near the front and the other half nearly clearing the back. Prater was kicking into a slight breeze.
The returners rotated who fielded the kicks with no one returner getting a bulk of the run-backs. The drill focused on positioning and making sure the coverage unit collapsed on the returner.
TAKE AWAYS:After practice Special Teams Coordinator Scott O’Brien talked about Prater’s production during camp.
“Every kick good or bad is a learning experience,” he said. “Why was it good, or why did he miss it. That is what camp is for, being a young guy he has to understand that the feel he gets after kicking the ball and the result that he has when he looks up and takes a look at the ball. That means a lot so he can learn how to adjust by that feel.”
Thus far in camp Prater has made 21 out of 24 field goal attempts, according to Coach O’Brien.
“So far so good,” O’Brien said. “Do you want him to make it all, sure you do. Does it happen all the time? No it doesn’t. But right now if we were in the season and in this position, I would be feeling pretty good as long as we are improving.”
O’Brien also addressed the punting situation. He said the coaches are looking for consistency in placing the ball, being able to get the ball off quickly, staying in control and accuracy.
He said Sam Paulescu is showing his experience having been through a training camp before but that Brett Kern is adapting and performing well.
As far as whose leading the battle, O’Brien said it is still up for grabs.
“Right now we don’t have a leader, basically they are really close,” he said. “I think they understand where they are at and what they need to do. Another week will give us another look at them and show us exactly where we are heading into our first preseason game.”
It’s a wrap from day eight of training camp, check in to the blog tomorrow for a recap of all the action from day nine.
NOTE: TOMORROW’S AFTERNOON PRACTICE HAS BEEN CANCELLED
The morning practice will go on as scheduled.
-Jake Grilley, DenverBroncos.com