Welcome to Day 12 of 15 Denver Broncos Training Camp practice. Since it’s a late morning practice, I grab a spot in the shade around the 47 yard line and settle in. The JUG’s machine is sitting at the 30 yard line to my right. Duke Ihenacho is the first man out and he is in Full Pads. Ross Rasner follows shortly after and 10 minutes elapse before the HORN signals the start of this practice session.
The Special Teams unit getting work today is the Kickoff coverage team. The JUG’s shoots squib kicks for this drill and ST’s Coordinator Jeff Rodgers informs this unit how he wants them to react in different scenarios. The JUG’s operator is spraying kicks all over the field to simulate these scenarios for the coach. Trindon Holliday, Andre Caldwell, Kemonte’ Bateman, Lamaar Thomas, Mike Adams and C.J. Anderson all take reps as return men. About this time, Wesley Woodyard comes over close to the crowd and chats for a bit and then informs us that there will be extended scrimmage segments today, “Fun for you all, not fun for us.” HORN.
11 on 11 walkthroughs are up next. Ryan Clady has shoulder pads on, but is still in sweat pants. That tells me he is still limited. Jacob Tamme has also returned, though I don’t notice him too much during the entire practice. He does participate in the walkthrough though. After 5 minutes, they switch sides and line up for some Red Zone practice. I notice Chris Clark taking a few reps at Right Tackle while Clady is in, though Orlando Franklin isn’t hurt. HORN.
The stretch interval begins and the crowd once more joins in. Duke Ihenacho starts doing a weird high pitched cat call that is echoed back by the fans and Wide Receiver’s coach Tyke Tolbert plays catch with a young fan. Quinton Carter and Jeremiah Johnson are not practicing today, but Tony Carter is back. HORN.
Position drills are next up. The Wide Receivers are doing ladder drills and I notice Quincy McDuffie and Greg Orton are still out. That conjures up an adage from Jake Plummer, “You can’t make the club from the tub.” The job openings at the Wide Receiver position are hotly contested this Camp and you can’t afford to rest on your laurels when there are 2 or 3 guys hungering after a roster spot. Meanwhile, the Running Backs are running the strings and after 15 minutes, the Quarterbacks and Wide Receiver start their passing drill routine. HORN.
3 on 3 blocking drills between the Offensive and Defensive linemen over to my left and Wide Receiver/Cornerback one-on-ones begin to my right. Over on the opposite field, Trindon Holliday is fielding punts launched by the JUG’s machine. The coach has him line up close to one side of the field as the JUG’s lobs punts to the other side. Holliday has to run down the yard line and field the punt. HORN.
The referees, chain gang and play clock are activated for a 7 on 7 segment. Peyton Manning’s first pass is complete to Julius Thomas. Demaryius Thomas is featured in the next two plays, which go for catches. On the second one, I see Wes Welker running a “Go” route. Champ Bailey makes an Interception and then Manning’s next pass, intended for Demaryius Thomas, is broken up by Chris Harris. Then Peyton hits Welker on a crossing route with Danny Trevathan scrambling to keep up. No chance of that as Wes turns it upfield with a nice burst. Not bad coverage, Danny just can’t keep up with the speedy receiver, especially getting the pass in full stride. Peyton tries to hit Welker again, but the throw is long.
Brock Osweiler leads the second unit out on the field. His first pass, intended for Lamaar Thomas, is broken up by Kayvon Webster. After a short completion to C.J. Anderson, Brock makes a nice pass over a linebacker for Gerell Robinson. After a short completion for Gerell Robinson again, Lamaar Thomas makes a catch and would have been leveled by David Bruton if the Safety hadn’t pulled up. The “threes” are up as Zac Dysert hits Lance Ball on a dump off. Dysert completes one to Kemonte’ Bateman in traffic and a short pass to C.J. Anderson. HORN.
After a 2 minute water break, it’s time for 11 on 11’s. The ball is placed at the 29 yard line with the Offense working toward the End Zone. Ronnie Hillman runs for 4 yards and then he gets around the right side and goes for a Touchdown. Jacob Hester made a nice block on Von Miller to spring him. Hillman gets another carry, this one for 3 yards and then it’s time for the “2’s.”
Peyton moves over to my right and is throwing a set of 1 on 1’s between a Receiver and a Cornerback. Manning tells the receiver what route he wants him to run privately, so the Corner has to really work without a net here. Meanwhile, Brock hands off to Montee Ball for 4 yards. Montee is stretched out on the next run and gets little to nothing. Running behind Jacob Hester’s lead block, Montee picks up 3 yards. After another 5 yards for the rookie Running Back, Knowshon Moreno comes in and rushes for 4 yards. A False Start on the Offensive Line delays the next play. Moreno gets 5 yards over the left side and then the third unit comes out to work.
Lance Ball is stuffed by Steven Johnson, then Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picks off Dysert. Lance Ball gains 1 yard and on the ensuing play, Steven Johnson thumps him again. C.J. Anderson breaks through the line for 12+ yards and gets 2 yards on the last play of the segment. HORN.
The ball is placed at the 25 yard line with the Offense moving toward midfield. More 11 on 11’s as Ronnie Hillman takes off over the left side for 15+ yards. Robert Ayers is there to Sack Manning, who throws complete to Julius Thomas anyway. Peyton rolls out to the right on the next play and tries to get the ball to Julius again, but Rahim Moore breaks up the play. Manning misses Demaryius Thomas to the left and then hits Gerell Robinson who makes the catch despite tight coverage from Duke Ihenacho. Peyton draws the Defensive Line offsides and then hands off to Montee Ball, who runs for 3 yards. After the play is over, I see Derek Wolfe and Montee Ball about to get into it.
The second string enters the playing field and Montee Ball carries for 2 yards. Brock hits Virgil Green for a nice reception and I can hear Offensive Line coach Dave Magazu yelling, “Hey, give me a Tackle!” as Paul Cornick runs to the sideline with one shoe in his hand. Knowshon Moreno runs for 2 yards and Osweiler hits Gerell Robinson. The third unit comes out and Zac Dysert makes a nice pass to Trindon Holliday at the sideline. Zac’s next attempt is picked off by Stewart Bradley. HORN.
One part of the Special Teams unit drills on their “Get Off” with Coach Rodgers and on the other side of the field Assistant coach Derius Swinton has his players busting through the lead return blocker. Five minutes later, they move to Kickoff coverage, with the focus on keeping coverage lane integrity. HORN.
The Line Of Scrimmage is the 25 yard line with the Offense heading toward the End Zone. Robert Ayers does a good impression of Dikembe Mutombo’s commercial “Not in my house” on Peyton’s first attempt and Kevin Vickerson gets a piece of Manning’s second attempt. Rahim Moore breaks up a Fade pass in the End Zone intended for Demaryius Thomas. They try the same play over again, this time Chris Harris is in coverage, but the pass is long and incomplete. Manning finds Virgil Green and then Julius Thomas for Touchdowns on consecutive plays from the 15 yard line.
Reset the ball at the 20 for the second unitas Osweiler hits Bubba Caldwell for 10 yards on a crossing route and then finds Julius Thomas for another catch. Brock’s next pass is intended for Lamaar Thomas but Kayvon Webster breaks it up. Osweiler has to throw away the next pass and then it’s time for Dysert to step in. Zac hits C.J. Anderson for a Touchdown and then throws too high for the 6’-4” Gerell Robinson in the End Zone. HORN.
11 on 11’s begin with what basically ends up as the “Manning and Welker show” as the pair connect on three of the first four passes. Julius Thomas gets a catch and then a short pass toward the sideline is caught by Montee Ball and Chris Harris kind of manhandles the rookie to the ground. Knowshon Moreno runs over and takes offense, but it is quickly diffused even though Harris doesn’t back down. Montee seemed indifferent toward it all. Osweiler’s next pass is dropped by Lamaar Thomas and then Aaron Hester tips Brock’s pass right to David Bruton. After a completion to Virgil Green, Lance Ball catches a short pass from Brock and cuts inside for more yards. Zac Dysert enters and throws complete to D‘Angelo Peterson. Ross Rasner gets a Sack off of a straight Safety blitz and Zac hits Gerell Robinson. HORN.
After another short water break, the last segment is the Special Teams Kickoff coverage unit working against the “Red Hats.” Kemonte’ Bateman and Lamaar Thomas are back as the return men. Matt Prater sends a few kicks through the End Zone and then the final HORN blows.
The Offensive Line signed autographs today, along with Peyton Manning of course. I manage to get 3 signatures and call it a day. Tomorrow is an early practice.
– Kaptain Kirk