It’s a nice sunny Saturday morning at Dove Valley. This is Day 11 of 15 Training Camp practices for the Denver Broncos. I’m sitting at the 48 yard line for this session. Thursday’s star, Safety Duke Ihenacho is the first player to emerge from the locker room and he is in Full Pads. For the next 5 minutes, the remainder of the team makes their way out onto the field a few at a time before the HORN signals the start of practice.
The Special Teams work on Punt protection against the Red Hats as Trindon Holliday, Omar Bolden and Eric Decker shag punts launched from the JUG’s machine. I notice Wes Welker (coaches decision) is in shorts, along with Jacob Tamme, a limping Jeremiah Johnson, Quinton Carter, Tony Carter and Greg Orton. I can see that Orlando Franklin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have returned. Ryan Clady is wearing shoulder pads, but is still in sweats. HORN.
11 on 11 walkthrough drills begin. The Offensive Line is back to where it was at the onset of Camp, with (left to right) Clady, Zane Beadles, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez and Orlando Franklin working together. Ryan Clady doesn’t take all the practice reps today, but does more work than he’s been getting so far. I’m hearing that he should play in the third preseason game against the Rams. Defensively, Stewart Bradley takes reps with the first unit at Middle Linebacker. The Safeties are Rahim Moore and Duke Ihenacho. HORN.
After the Stretch interval, in which the crowd continues to participate, Manny Ramirez breaks it down. HORN.
11 on 11’s begin with Peyton hitting Bubba Caldwell, who is working as the slot receiver in Wes Welker’s absence. Ronnie Hillman runs for 5 yards as Manning works the Offense at “Hurry, Hurry” speed. Caldwell makes another catch. Peyton completes passes to Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker and then Brock Osweiler comes in to work. Osweiler hits Montee Ball on a swing pass and then Ball gets stuffed at the line on the following play. Brock connects with Lamaar Thomas on back to back passes and then Montee Ball runs for two yards. Osweiler passes complete to Tavarres King as the Defense gets pressure. HORN.
It’s time for the Individual position drills to begin. The Wide Receivers add a gauntlet to their Ladder drills, while the Running Backs practice with the Tight Ends as lead blockers, otherwise the individual drills go on normally. After handoff drills with the Running Backs, the Quarterbacks throw Fades to the Wide Receivers and the Tight Ends run post patterns in the End Zone. Running Backs coach Eric Studesville throws passes to his charges and they turn to face a gauntlet of their peers. Over on the opposite field, I see the Defensive Backs as well as the Linebackers doing Fumble Recovery drills. HORN.
11 on 11’s begin with Ronnie Hillman running for 5 yards and then following it up with a 2 yard carry. Wesley Woodyard breaks up Peyton Manning’s pass intended for Bubba Caldwell, who is working as the slot receiver in Wes Welker’s absence. Montee Ball gains six yards over the right side. Brock comes in and runs a bootleg to the right before hitting Jacob Hester on a short pass. Montee Ball runs for 2 yards. Then Knowshon Moreno gets a yard and follows that up with a 7 yard burst. C.J. Anderson gets 4 yards and is stuffed at the Line of Scrimmage on the next play. Zac Dysert hits Trindon Holliday, Lance Ball carries for 5 and 4 yards respectively and then C.J. rips off an 8 yard run. HORN.
The ball is moved to the 25 yard line and 11 on 11’s start up again. On the first play, Derek Wolfe knocks the ball out of Manning’s hand just as he is cocking the ball. Rahim Moore Intercepts Peyton’s next attempt. Then Manning hits Eric Decker, who is sitting down over the middle, and he turns and scores. Peyton to Demaryius Thomas on a crossing route in the End Zone for six. The next pass is a low incomplete meant for Bubba Caldwell. On the ensuing play, someone runs the wrong route and Peyton throws it to an empty spot in the End Zone. Manning cedes the field to the second unit and he is mad. A minute later, he drops a few F-Bombs toward Bubba Caldwell, who was apparently the one running the wrong route.
Meanwhile, Osweiler throws a Touchdown pass to Virgil Green, tosses an incomplete intended for Tavarres King in the End Zone and then hits Gerell Robinson on a nice Fade for a score. After a bad snap by Ryan Lilja, Brock’s throw is too late and falls incomplete. Zac Dysert passes incomplete for D’Angelo Peterson in the End Zone and Steven Johnson applies enough pressure that Dysert must throw away the next pass. HORN.
After a short water break, the Special Teams continues with Punt protection against the Red Hats as Trindon Holliday, Omar Bolden and Eric Decker shag punts from the JUG’s machine, Ryan Doerr and Britton Colquitt. Assistant Special Teams Coach Derius Swinton works with the return men and a group of “Gunner” coverage men from 20 yards out and up to the returner. Coach Swinton barks orders, particularly to the rookies, but also doesn’t shy away from praising them when he gets them to perform as instructed. HORN.
Another set of 11 on 11 drills commence with Ronnie Hillman running for 9 and 8 yards on successive plays. Montee Ball joins in with an 8 yard carry of his own. Peyton passes complete to Demaryius Thomas and then hits Montee Ball on a reverse screen that is stopped, but the rookie still dives for 2 yards. Manning throws another low incompletion meant for Bubba Caldwell and then the “2’s” go to work.
Osweiler throws too long for Lamaar Thomas and then a late pass over the middle is picked off by Mike Adams. Montee Ball gains 3 yards and would have had more, but he was dragging Jeremy Beal, who had a hold of his jersey. C.J. Anderson runs for 5 and 6 yards and then Zac Dysert completes a pass to Kemonte’ Bateman, who grabbed the ball away from the Cornerback covering him. HORN.
The two groups switch directions and the 1st string continues 11 on 11’s. Ronnie Hillman gets 8-9 yards as I was paying attention to Ryan Clady, who blocked two separate guys on the play. Manning hits Bubba Caldwell twice, the second is a quick sideline pass that Andre breaks an attempted Tackle by Omar Bolden to gain an extra 5 yards. Julius Thomas runs an End Around for 6 yards, then Montee Ball carries for 4 yards. Ball tries to run over the right side, but the Defensive Line stacks up his blockers and so the play doesn’t get any positive yards. Manning completes a pass to Caldwell and then the second unit gets a turn.
Lamaar Thomas gets an End Around as Peyton Manning apologizes to the fans for the earlier F-Bombs. Knowshon Moreno runs for 10 yards and then gets 9 with his next carry. Montee Ball gains 4 and 5 yards consecutively. C.J. Anderson gains 15 yards with a nice seal block by Trindon Holliday on the play. Anderson dives for a yard as the Defense isn’t fooled by a fake End Around to Trindon Holliday. John Youboty gets into the backfield and disrupts Zac Dysert into throwing an Interception to Kayvon Webster. HORN.
One last Special Teams segment to finish of practice. Punt protection and coverage from the 45 yard line against the Red Hats. Ryan Doerr and Britton Colquitt try to pin the ball inside the 5 yard line with the help of the Gunners, who are to force the Fair Catch or down the ball if given the chance. Coach Swinton high fives Kemonte’ Bateman for knocking the ball back from the End Zone where his teammate can down the ball at the two. The coach then throws his paperwork down in disgust as the Gunners have back to back plays filled with mistakes as the final HORN signals the end of practice.
The third week of Training Camp starts out with further progress than the [previous two weeks. For one, the Running game was paying dividends today. Andre Caldwell struggled a bit in the slot, but after throwing to Wes Welker, I think it was a little frustrating for Peyton Manning and he may have put unnecessary expectations on Bubba. However, both will learn from the practice and there were more hits than misses between the pair.
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