In Champ Bailey’s mind, it is no accident that the Broncos have looked like a cohesive unit week in and week out six games into the regular season.
No mystery as to why guys are always on the same page. No mistake as to why the team is able to make quick in-game adjustments.
The 11-year pro attributes much of how the team performs on the field to one thing: an intense level of preparation.
“We practice like it’s a game,” Bailey said. “We just know how to prepare. I think you win the game during the week. You don’t win it on Sunday. If you don’t go in there with the right mindset and the right preparation, you’re going to lose.”
In an effort to get in the most effective preparation possible prior to Sunday’s Week 8 matchup with the Ravens, the Broncos have moved both their Wednesday and Thursday practices to an indoor facility down the road from their Dove Valley headquarters.
Eager to continue the success they established before the bye week, Head Coach Josh McDaniels said it hasn’t been hard to motivate his team to practice inside the small space. In fact, McDaniels said this week’s practice sessions have not lacked intensity.
“(It was) probably as loud of a practice as we have had in awhile, and I mean there was a lot of (pads) popping, a lot of banging going on,” McDaniels said.
The Broncos have made six strong impressions on Sundays. But it seems as if the team gets the big picture, and is focused on making another strong showing against the Ravens.
“They know what we know, which is we are 6-0, we haven’t accomplished anything and we have got a heck of a challenge in front of us this week,” McDaniels said. “I think they are excited to play this game. It is a really good team we are going to get ready for, and they have got a lot of work to put in today, tomorrow and Saturday and continue to prepare all the way through the game.”
On Thursday morning it was announced that the Broncos had selected Bailey as their Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award recipient for the second year in a row.
By winning the award, the eight-time Pro Bowler was recognized for his leadership both on the field and in the community.
Bailey said he was surprised, but appreciative of receiving the prestigious honor for the second time in as many seasons.
“I didn’t expect to win it again,” Bailey said. “It’s a great honor. I pretty much represent a lot of the guys in this locker room that do a lot of great things in the community. That’s one thing I pride myself on, is giving back. Hopefully that rubs off on a lot of guys in the locker room, around the league, and people in the community.”
After sitting out practice on Wednesday, Ronald Fields (hamstring) was a limited participant in Thursday’s session. Brian Dawkins (hamstring) was also listed as a limited participant. Spencer Larsen (shoulder) participated in full.
For the Ravens, T Jared Gaither (neck) did not partcipate in Thursday’s practice session, while LB Tavares Gooden (head) was a limited participant. S Ed Reed, QB Joe Flacco (ankle), LB Jarret Johnson (shoulder), WR David Tyree (hamstring) and K Steven Hauschka (right ankle) participated in full.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com
Here are a few pictures from the onset of Thursday’s practice session, including a few shots as the players arrived at the indoor facility.