The list of players back in action continues to grow as the Broncos near their second home game of the preseason. Darrell Jackson — who sat out the game against Dallas — and Josh Barrett rejoined practice a day after Champ Bailey, Louis Green and Tom Nalen all donned jerseys and pads again.
Hamza Abdullah, Boss Bailey and Daniel Graham remained out of pads.
The offense and defense each worked on individual drills before combining for 11-on-11 drills aimed at preparing for the Packers.
During WR vs. DB one-on-ones, several matchups stood out. First, with Jack Williams lining up against Samie Parker, Parker ran deep and Williams stayed with him the whole way, located the ball and swatted it away.
Next, Champ stood opposite Keary Colbert and knocked the ball out of his hands, prompting a, “Good battle!” from Defensive Backs Coach Ronnie Bradford.
Brandon Stokley and Dre’ Bly provided the most entertaining matchup of the drill. On a route up the middle, Jay Cutler fired a pass toward Stokley, but Bly lept straight in the air and just got his hands on the ball. It skipped off his fingertips, however, and into the waiting hands of Stokley, who stood still and let out a quick laugh while Bly laid on the grass staring at him. They both laughed as Stokley helped the cornerback up and gave him a quick five.
Eddie Royal looks to be gaining more and more confidence after starting the first two games of the preseason. Royal caught virtually every ball thrown his way, including a one-on-one matchup with Champ where he shook free and ran back to a pass on a quick turnaround. The one pass he missed was a little fast and over his head, but he made up for it toward the end of the session when he ran under a long bomb that had the rest of the offense “Ooooh”ing.
Nate Webster lined up at the middle linebacker position with the first unit defense during 11-on-11s, with D.J. Williams and Jamie Winborn on either side. The defensive line was still John Engelberger, Dewayne Robertson, Marcus Thomas and Elvis Dumervil, and the secondary was Bailey, Bly, Marlon McCree and Marquand Manuel.
The offensive first unit was the same as in the Dallas game, with Royal lining up opposite Brandon Marshall at the wide out position. Casey Wiegmann continued getting reps with the first unit while Nalen is getting back into practice.
Two plays stood out in 11-on-11s. One was a tipped ball by the defense that Bly came up with and took a few yards the other way before taking a knee. The other was a long ball to the corner of the endzone from Darrell Hackney. Champ Bailey had outrun his receiver and looked like he was going to come up with the catch, but it fell through his arms. Cornerback Domonique Foxworth heckled the quarterback, “If Champ can’t catch it, it’s a bad ball, Hack. That’s the rules around here.”
Matt Prater was seven for eight on field goals during practice. His first kicks were from just inside 40 yards, and he made all of his kicks up to a 53-yarder. Then he lined up for a 55-yarder that was wide left — his one miss of the practice — but Head Coach Mike Shanahan blew his whistle and the play was run again, this time with Cutler as the holder. Prater split the uprights on his second attempt from 55 yards.
Speaking of Prater, when he was practicing field goals earlier in the session by kicking through two sets of uprights, two kicks found its way directly into Andre Hall’s windshield. Hall said after practice he’s not planning on parking in the first row of spots anymore.
After practice, Royal, Glenn Martinez, Marquay McDaniel and Tyrone Poole worked on catching punts from the JUGS machine. Special Teams Coordinator Scott O’Brien watched as the players had to catch four punts, but after the first two they had to throw one of the balls in the air before they caught the next one, then catch the thrown ball as it came back down. Sound complicated? It looked that way, as Poole was the only player who managed to catch all four, then went for a fifth, exclaiming, “This pressure ain’t nothing. I’ve been to a Super Bowl.”
Now for a few pictures:
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com