6:00 p.m. MDT: So here we are, back at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The players are in their uniforms — defense in blue and offense in white, except, of course, the quarterbacks, who are in orange — and three refs are on the field. It’s the second practice session of Day 7 of training camp, and we thought we’d try out our new live blog to keep you all up-to-date on the goings on at INVESCO.
6:01 p.m. MDT: Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is running the team through some punting drills, with Brett Kern and Britton Colquitt splitting the punting duties and Eddie Royal and Alphonso Smith taking turns on the returns. It seems to be focused mainly on blocking for the punt.
6:02 p.m. MDT: An interesting tidbit from before practice began — Miles the mascot is here, and apparently challenged Chris Baker to an impromptu danceoff, much to the delight of the crowd. The 329-pound rookie held his own — that is until Miles broke out “the worm,” earning a handshake of defeat and congratulations from Baker.
6:06 p.m. MDT: The team is jogging from the end zone to the 25-yard line and back again several times, and the crowd is standing to cheer. Head Coach Josh McDaniels has said there will be plenty of “live” drills and hitting to see, so we should be in for a fun practice experience this evening.
6:12 p.m. MDT: The team is spread across the field for stretches. Looks like there will be a little warm-up before the live sessions begin.
6:29 p.m. MDT: Defensive assistant Jay Rodgers has been throwing deep passes to the cornerbacks to help them work on catching deep interceptions. Defensive backs coach Ed Donatell acts as a receiver trying to leap at the last minute. They’re some pretty tight spirals by Rodgers, by the way — a quarterback for three seasons at the University of Indiana and one year at Missouri State.
6:32 p.m. MDT: Offenses working on packages with three receivers, a tight end and a running back. Kyle Orton just connected with Tony Scheffler as every player runs their precise routes as if they were in a game. Pretty deep pass to Jabar Gaffney on the next play. Now it’s Chris Simms with a bullet to Eddie Royal.
6:33 p.m. MDT: Just got an attendance update — between 6,000 and 7,000 fans are lining the seats at INVESCO. I see plenty of Champ Bailey jerseys, a Karl Mecklenburg and a few new jerseys, including Brian Dawkins’.
6:37 p.m. MDT: Here we go with the first 7-on-7 period while the offensive and defensive lines work on one-on-ones in the end zone. The first play of the period was a quick pass from Orton for Brandon Stokley, but Smith broke in at the last moment to break up the completion.
6:42 p.m. MDT: The big screen — ThunderVision — here at the stadium just showed a replay of a Smith pass breakup. Pretty cool to see replays at practice.
6:45 p.m. MDT: Head Coach Josh McDaniels stood back with Smith and gave him a few pointers as he prepared to field a punt from Kern. Now he’s standing beside Kern as Colquitt prepares to punt to Smith again — but it’s Josh Barrett who breaks through the line and blocks the kick — drawing cheers from the crowd.
6:47 p.m. MDT: Colquitt gets his next opportunity away, booming it to Smith, who shows some agility, finding a few holes upfield past the punt coverage unit.
6:50 p.m. MDT: The team is practicing kickoffs, both from the coverage and and return standpoints. The return team is working on following the new wedge rules that referee Ed Hochuli went over yesterday with the media.
6:51 p.m. MDT: Nate Swift fumbled the ball on the return, caused by Tony Carter, who also picked up the fumble. Rashod Moulton then caused Carter to fumble it, and picked the ball up himself. Interesting sequence.
6:52 p.m. MDT: Smith fielded a kickoff eight yards deep in the end zone and it looked like he had a chance to go all the way — at least to midfield — but stopped the run so the next drill could begin.
6:53 p.m. MDT: Kenny McKinley returned the following kick, one-upping Smith’s performance. He found his own seam and continued all the way up the sideline to the end zone, hearing raucous cheers from the crowd.
6:57 p.m. MDT: A live 11-on-11 scrimmage session has begun. The first play was a quick pass to Jabar Gaffney, who was wrapped up by Andre’ Goodman. The next play saw Orton drop back and find Brandon Stokley for a big-time catch on the sideline and a first down — but the ref waived it off, saying he bobbled it.
6:58 p.m. MDT: Stokley follows that up with a first-down catch on a bullet from Orton. Some fans are filling in the opposite side of the stadium to get a better view of the action.
7:00 p.m. MDT: Simms in the shotgun, drops back and Jarvis Moss roars back for what would have been a sack. Play continues, however, and Simms gets a quick pass off to Chad Jackson. The next play has the quarterback in shotgun again, this time stepping up and finding Royal, who tight-roped the sideline for what appeared to be a catch — but was waived out of bounds by the referee.
7:04 p.m. MDT: Orton rolled to his right, avoiding pressure, and found Scheffler in the middle of the field for a big gain.
7:05 p.m. MDT: Attendance update: more than 10,000 fans have showed up to the stadium to watch the team practice. On a play-action pass, Orton just tried to find Gaffney up the sideline, but Darcel McBath jumped in to break it up, getting a hand on the ball before it fell to the ground.
7:08 p.m. MDT: Royal looked to have a catch in the middle of the field from Orton, but Tim Crowder’s footsteps may have caused him to bobble it before the outside linebacker/defensive end put a little contact into him and the pass fell incomplete.
7:09 p.m. MDT: On the next play, Simms was back in the game and found Peyton Hillis out of the backfield. Hillis was forced out of bounds after a quick gain by Darrell Reid. Now it’s Hillis out of the backfield on a draw play and he picks up some yardage up the gut.
7:15 p.m. MDT: A lot of movement on the defensive side of the ball before the snap. Robert Ayers and D.J. Williams blitz on the snap, and a late blitz by Darrell Reid forces a quick throw from Simms that falls incomplete.
7:18 p.m. MDT: Fans continue to file into INVESCO, and the newest attendance figure has the crowd at 13,500.
7:19 p.m. MDT: Simms steps under center with the offense at the 10-yard line. He pitches to Correl Buckhalter, who is gobbled up after a short gain. The run defense has been stout in every unit that’s been on the field this evening.
7:22 p.m. MDT: Now it’s Orton in with the ball inside the 10-yard line. He hands off to Hillis, who is met by Jack Williams and stopped without much of a gain. On the next play, Orton rolls to his right, avoids the rush and finds Stokley for the touchdown.
7:24 p.m. MDT: The team is huddled up, offense on one side and defense on the other, with McDaniels in the middle. He’s pointing to one end zone, and the teams head towards it. The offense is now pinned at its own three-yard line on first down. It’s one of the situations that McDaniels sets up for his players to help learn the offense. On the first play, Orton drops back and finds Gaffney for a quick first down, buying some breathing room for the offense.
7:27 p.m. MDT: On the next play, Orton drops back and launches a pass way downfield for a streaking Gaffney, but Andre’ Goodman steps in out of nowhere for the interception, heading back downfield and hearing cheers from the crowd.
7:28 p.m. MDT: Andra Davis bursts through the middle of the line and just misses Hillis as he takes the handoff, but Elvis Dumervil is right there to put an end to the play.
7:29 p.m. MDT: On the following play, Orton drops back and Goodman almost has his second interception of the drill, but a flag was thrown on the defense.
7:30 p.m. MDT: Ronald Fields just ripped through the line for a sack on Orton — but no real contact on the quarterback is allowed, so the play was just blown dead. On the next play Goodman grabs another interception — and the active cornerback takes it back 54 yards for the score.
7:36 p.m. MDT: The defense certainly has been active today, bringing all sorts of blitzes. Andra Davis just burst through the line again and wrapped up Orton for the sack as he was just starting to drop back. On the next play, however, he found Gaffney to pick the yardage right back up.
7:40 p.m. MDT: Now the offense is at the 25-yard line. After a handoff to Hillis for a gain of two, Orton is in the shotgun. He takes the snap and quickly finds Stokley for a pickup of five more. Now it’s third and two, and the offense huddles up. Orton drops back and finds Gaffney inside the 10-yard line for a first down.
7:41 p.m. MDT: On the very next play, Orton buys some time, pump fakes, rolls to his left and finds a wide open Stokley waiting at the 5-yard line. The veteran receiver runs down the sideline into the end zone for another touchdown. Now the team is practicing a two-point conversion. With Orton in the shotgun, he throws a strike to Stokley again in the end zone. Two big-time connections.
7:43 p.m. MDT: The official attendance figure has now been released. It’s 13,402. That’s some nice support to come out and watch the team practice. In fact, it’s the largest crowd to ever watch a Broncos practice.
7:45 p.m. MDT: Jack Williams with another nice tackle on Hillis, swinging him out of bounds after a pass out of the backfield.
7:48 p.m. MDT: Torain ATV Fan had a good comment. It’s true, Coach McDaniels said you find out quickly that you never have a good practice when you want both the offense and defense to do well. But that’s also why this practice is so exciting…big plays on both sides of the ball.
7:52 p.m. MDT: A hit from Joshua Bell jarred the ball loose from Jabar Gaffney for the incompletion.
7:55 p.m. MDT: The team line up for field goal drills next. Matt Prater missed his first two attempts, but drove the next three straight through the uprights. The team is huddling up now as practice is coming to a close. Thanks for checking out the live blog…we’ll have the normal Day 7: P.M. Blog in a little.