Friday’s practice was highlighted by a number of big plays on both sides of the ball. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas continued to get into a rhythm with quarterback Peyton Manning, but in his battle with veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, both players got the best of each other at least once.
Today’s trivia question involves the defense. During the last minute of practice, a defender jumped a route on the sideline and intercepted quarterback Brock Osweiler. Who made the pick?
The answer — and winner — will be announced in the comments section of this blog at 8 p.m. MDT. The winner will receive a Broncos prize pack.
Safety Quinton Carter (hamstring and knee), wide receivers Tyler Grisham (knee) and Greg Orton (ankle), running back Ronnie Hillman (hamstring) and tackle Orlando Franklin (concussion) did not practice Friday.
Head Coach John Fox said that Franklin has been cleared by team doctors.
“We’ll use him sparingly tomorrow,” Fox said.
Defensive tackle Justin Bannan left practice early due to a calf injury.
- In seven-on-seven’s, Bailey jumped up to knock the ball away from Thomas, tipping it into the air. It nearly led to an interception for safety Mike Adams, but he was unable to corral the deflection before it hit the ground.
- Bailey also made a nice play in coverage on wide receiver Eric Decker, slapping the ball out of Decker’s hands to prevent a sideline reception.
- Later in seven-on-seven’s, Thomas again found himself covered by Bailey, but this time, Thomas hung on for the catch despite a diving effort by Bailey.
- During team drills, a pass rush from defensive tackle Derek Wolfe forced quarterback Adam Weber to scramble toward the right sideline, but the quarterback was able to complete a pass to wide receiver Andre Caldwell just before he reached the sideline.
- Also during team drills, Weber connected with wide receiver Gerell Robinson, who made a quick grab while reaching over his head on the run. Weber quickly went right back to him on the following play, but the two were unable to make it back-to-back completions because cornerback Joshua Moore was able to break up the pass.
IN THE RED ZONE
- Manning quickly found pay dirt during a red-zone session between the first string offense and defense. On the first play, he found Decker for a short gain, which set up a perfect lob to Thomas, who hauled in the touchdown over cornerback Tracy Porter.
- A pass near the goal line was deflected by cornerback Chris Harris, but the offense caught a break when tight end Jacob Tamme was able to make the catch anyway in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
- Tight end Joel Dreessen made arguably the catch of the day. Running full speed toward the back pylon of the end zone, Dreessen managed to catch the football and keep his feet in bounds even though cornerback Drayton Florence and linebacker Von Miller were both right there in coverage.
- Safety David Bruton recorded an interception near the goal line after a pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage.
- Running back Jeremiah Johnson turned in a strong performance this afternoon, turning a screen pass on the right side into a long gain that saw him reverse his field, coming all the way back to the opposite sideline from where he made the catch. That drew perhaps the loudest cheers from the croud of the entire afternoon. Later, Johnson scored a touchdown on a burst up the middle.
As covered earlier on the DenverBroncos.com blog, Decker also shined in the red zone during one-on-ones between receivers and cornerbacks.
Other highlights from the one-on-one drill included:
- Cornerback Joshua Moore grabbed the first interception of the drill on a pass from Caleb Hanie intended for Matthew Willis.
- Manning worked on back-shoulder throws as much as fades to the back corner of the end zone. Brandon Stokley was a recipient of both types of passes, hauling in a couple touchdowns.
- Cornerbacks Drayton Florence, Syd’Quan Thompson and Omar Bolden all had pass breakups in the drill. Bolden’s involved the rookie leaping to swat away a pass intended for Gerell Robinson at the last moment. “Nice job, Omar!” Secondary Coach Ron Milus shouted. “Good play, Omar!”
- Wide receiver Mark Dell had one of the prettier moves of the day, as he shook up Bolden with a few quick steps before cutting inside to grab a touchdown from Hanie. Willis found himself wide open on another route, running to the back of the end zone and faking outside before cutting back inside for an easy score.
- There were a few flags during the drill once tight ends and safeties joined the fray — one on safety Duke Ihenacho, who grabbed an interception in front of tight end Jacob Tamme, and another on tight end Joel Dreessen, who pushed off of safety Rahim Moore. Late in the drill, there was a flag thrown on a play when it looked like Robinson pushed Florence in the end zone, but it was unclear who the ref called the penalty on. Safety Mike Adams made sure to let the ref know who it should be on, however, chatting up the official for a while afterward.
- Friday’s practice saw some chippiness between the offensive and defensive lines. Defensive end Jason Hunter, who has been practicing with the first-team D-line, got into a few shoving matches with offensive linemen during both the line drills and full-team drills. He ended up with his helmet off after one play, and Wesley Woodyard came over to help calm him down. Meanwhile, behind the play, linebacker Von Miller was dancing in what looked to be an effort to cool some of the tension between the lines.
- Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway watched parts of practice alongside Coach Fox.
- A handful of Broncos alumni, including Billy Thompson and Larry Brunson, watched practice from the sideline. A number of University of Colorado and University of Wyoming football coaches took in the session as well. Former Broncos safety Renaldo Hill, now a coach at Wyoming, was at practice.
- At the start of practice, the defensive line, linebackers and secondary teamed up for an interesting drill. First, the linemen hit the turf in pushup position. Then they all leaped up and put their hands in the air before being directed to one blocking dummy, where all the defenders sprinted to simulate swarming to the ball carrier.
Tomorrow, the Broncos’ training camp practice will take place at Sports Authority Field at Mile High — this year’s Summer Scrimmage. It kicks off at 3:30 p.m. MDT and is scheduled to end at 6:05 p.m. MDT. It is free and open to the public. We’ll have more information on the scrimmage, including player reaction to the exciting practice, later this evening.
Click below for a photo gallery from Friday’s practice.
Tags: Training Camp 2012