After a morning full of less-than-ideal weather — on and off rain showers, occasional snow flurries, gusting winds and chilly temperatures — Head Coach Josh McDaniels was asked if he planned on conducting the afternoon practice session outdoors or at the team’s indoor facility just down the street.
Although the club practiced at “the bubble” during minicamps, the club hasn’t been back at the indoor facility since then. McDaniels said returning indoors isn’t in the cards anytime soon, citing that the team needs to get used to possible conditions that could arise on Sundays.
“If we are going to play in it, I hope we’ve practiced in it,” McDaniels said. “That’s going to be our philosophy. If it’s wet, damp, raining, snowing, whatever — we’re going to be outside.”
To McDaniels, attention to detail is a focal point of his day-to-day operations, and having players ready for the conditions they may face on Sunday is one of his priorities. McDaniels said the most important issue when preparing to play in poor weather conditions is for players to understand what they can and can’t do the same compared to normal conditions. For instance, players likely can’t cut the same way, quarterbacks may not be able to make the same throws downfield and the kicking is game is almost always affected by poor weather.
Thus, McDaniels wants his players to simulate all sorts of game experiences in all conditions before they take to the field on Sunday.
“You can’t just tell the guys, ‘Hey we’re going to practice inside in a bubble all week long and then we go out there and play in the snow on Sunday, just make sure you do all the things you’re supposed to do when the weather is bad — stay on your feet, field the ball, throw it in the wet (weather) and all that stuff,’” McDaniels said.
As of Thursday afternoon, Sunday’s forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of precipitation and temperatures ranging between the low 30s and high 40s. During Thursday’s practice session, conditions were nearly identical to that estimation, as temperatures were in the low 30s and snow showers appeared throughout the windy two-hour session.
The way Ryan McBean looks at it, the team might as well get used to playing in snow and sleet since the Broncos will likely face similar circumstances at some point during the season.
“That’s what we are going to be playing in, so you’ve got to prepare yourself for anything,” McBean said. “You want to practice what you are going to be playing in.”
Only in the rarest of circumstances does McDaniels foresee his team practicing at its indoor facility this season.
“If there was some clear-cut thing where we knew the weather was going to be beautiful on Sunday and we are out there trying to practice in two feet of snow, I don’t think that would be smart,” he said. “If the weather has a chance to be poor on the weekend, I think we’ve got to get ready for it.”
There were no changes to the Broncos’ Week 5 Injury Report. On the Patriots side, after not participating in Wednesday’s practice, WR Randy Moss (not injury related) was not listed on Thursday’s report. Linebacker Adalius Thomas (not injury related) was added to the report, and did not participate in Thursday’s practice.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Here are a few more pictures from the onset of Thursday’s practice session: