Players and coaches took the field this morning in near-perfect weather conditions. Smiles broke out all over the field with the sun shining, a cool breeze blowing in and a crowd of 2,012 fans watching from the grass.
Several veterans taking the morning session off presented chances for some young players to get extended reps.
The practice featured 11-on-11 drills with an emphasis on passing and red zone play.
The goal line drills dropped to walk-through speed as Head Coach Josh McDaniels said the team had just installed the packages into the playbook. (McDaniels did hint the team might have live goal line drills at Saturday night’s practice at INVESCO Field at Mile High Stadium.) The intensity returned for the final 11-on-11 drill of the day — a final minute comeback drive scenario led by Kyle Orton.
The Broncos are scheduled to return to the Dove Valley practice field for their second workout of the day at 5:30 p.m. McDaniels said the team will not be in full pads for the workout.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Jarvis Moss took most of the first-team reps at outside linebacker until he headed to the locker room early. After that, Mario Haggan, who started all 16 games at outside linebacker last season, moved outside and Akin Ayodele moved into the rotation at inside linebacker. With D.J. Williams out of practice, Wesley Woodyard took almost all the reps at the other inside linebacker spot. During goal line, Jammie Kirlew also saw some reps with the first team.
After Chris Kuper gingerly walked to the locker room with an apparent injury, Stanley Daniels took most of the first-team reps at the guard position Kuper had been occupying.
Another veteran to get the practice off was defensive lineman Justin Bannan. Jamal Williams, Ryan McBean and Le Kevin Smith got most of the first-team defensive line reps during the practice.
Wide receivers Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Stokley also got the morning off. During one period of 11-on-11 drills, the team utilized mostly two wide receiver sets. Taking the first rep were Brandon Lloyd and Matthew Willis. Later in the drill, newcomers Patrick Carter and Britt Davis, signed yesterday, ran together.
The team ran through punt return drills today. The first group featured Willis, Woodyard, Haggan, Kirlew, Nate Jones, David Bruton, Nick Greisen, Spencer Larsen, Demaryius Thomas and Darcel McBath with Perrish Cox back deep returning. Part of the work included reacting to several fake punt scenarios.
Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey also got the morning off, resulting in more time for youngsters Cox and McBath to shine with the first-team. Cox came up with an interception during goal line drills.
LenDale White drew praise from fans with the power running they expected when he signed on Wednesday. During 9-on-7 drills, White put his head down and smacked into a defender in the hole, kept his legs moving and powered into the open field. White later headed off the practice field early as well.
Thomas showed good rapport with all three quarterbacks during the session. The rookie got behind the second-team defense to haul in a bomb from Orton early in 11-on-11 drills, earning an enthusiastic clap from the signal-caller. A few plays later, he leaped and snared a pass deep over the middle from Tim Tebow. Brady Quinn also hooked up Thomas on a pair of big plays. One was a deep ball that Thomas pulled down over Alphonso Smith. During a later red zone drill, Quinn found Thomas for a short touchdown.
On the final drive of the day’s practice, Orton orchestrated a sharp hurry-up drill to get the offense into position for what would have been a tying, fourth quarter field goal. The drive started at his own 35 with a minute to go and one timeout. He found Eddie Royal for a third down conversion early in the drive. He then threaded a quick sideline pass to Willis that the receiver pulled in with a toe-tapping, finger-tip catch. With seven seconds to go, Orton found Daniel Graham for a 10-yard gain and quick timeout to set up what would have been a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Former Bronco John Lynch and Denver Nuggets star Chauncey Billups attended this morning’s practice. They both chatted with McDaniels and defensive coordinator Don Martindale as the team warmed up at the beginning of practice.
Early in practice, the quarterbacks worked through a drill to emphasize maintaing proper footwork while stepping through pressure. As the quarterbacks took their drops, an operations staffer hit them with a pad as they stepped up and fired a pass.
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer worked his young returners through a drill, in which they caught a ball and then made their first cut. Cox, Willis, Cassius Vaughn and Syd’Quan Thompson participated, catching balls that were tossed high in the air by punter Britton Colquitt.
Eric Decker learned a lesson about finishing plays during one-on-one drills with the defensive backs. The rookie ran a crisp comeback route and made a catch that earned praise from Kyle Orton, but as he turned upfield, Jones slapped the ball away for a fumble. Decker took a lap as a reminder to protect the football.
Those hoping to impress coaches with their special teams work got a chance today during a drill in which two players raced about 20 yards and had to corrall a returner before he broke into open space. Several players, including Vaughn, earned praise for their pursuit angles, while others earned admonishment for overpursuit.
After the goaline drill, Martindale expressed his approval to the defense for a solid period of work.
TRAINING CAMP JUKEBOX
During warmups, McBean didn’t hide his enthusiasm for his own playlist.
His mix began with “On the Rock” by Movado featuring Jay-Z, which had McBean and several others dancing along. It continued with Rick Ross and Kanye West’s “Live Fast, Die Young” and Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard in Da Paint.”
As crowd noise later in practice, selections included Young Jeezy’s “Lose My Mind” and Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana.”
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com
Below are some more photos from the workout:
Tags: bob ligashesky, Jarvis Green, Jarvis Moss, Josh McDaniels, Marcus Thomas, Mike Priefer, Ronald Fields, Tim Tebow