Day 7 of Broncos Training Camp has me at the 46 yard line, just like yesterday. One full week of Camp has elapsed without a lot being resolved, the lone exception being Dan Koppen’s injury. Two players have stood out so far this week; Wide Receiver Greg Orton on the Offense and Safety Duke Ihenacho on Defense. Both players resided on the Broncos Practice Squad last season and it is obvious that they are determined to make the final 53 man roster. Tight End Julius Thomas is seeing a great deal of work again this Training Camp as well. The coaches have thrown him in with all 3 Offensive units and he has done well. We shall see if this is his year. The high ankle sprain that has Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sidelined for 2-3 weeks has opened up practice reps for rookie Kayvon Webster and 2nd year man Omar Bolden to show their mettle. The Safety pairings continue to differentiate, but Ihenacho has been exclusively working with the first unit and as the extra Safety in Dime situations.
As Tavarres King, Ross Rasner and Aaron Hester take the field, I can see that it’s going to be another full pad practice. The JUG’s machine sits at the 17 yard line to my left and begins launching punts towards Trindon Holliday, Wes Welker and Quincy McDuffie. The Punt protection and coverage unit works against the “Red Hats” and I notice Jeremiah Johnson is in sweats. Further investigation reveals Jacob Tamme, Quinton Carter and Justin Boren have joined Sylvester Williams, Chris Kuper and DRC among the walking wounded. Tight End Joel Dreessen is back however. HORN.
11 on 11’s at the Goal line get the day started with some runs and passes mixed in at Walk-Through speed. After about 5 or 6 plays, Ryan Clady is relieved at Left Tackle by Chris Clark. 20 reps later the ball is moved out to the 25 yard line. I notice the Defense is in their Dime package. Rahim Moore, David Bruton and Duke Ihenacho are the Safeties, Wesley Woodyard and Von Miller at Linebacker, Champ Bailey, Chris Harris and Tony Carter at Cornerback and Shaun Phillips, Derek Wolfe and Kevin Vickerson at the line. HORN.
The stretch interval commences as once again the spectators join the team for calisthenics.
After the HORN signals the end to the stretching period, the players break off into their individual position drills. Peyton Manning acknowledges the crowd chanting his name with a double “thumbs up” to their delight. Receiver’s coach Tyke Tolbert is during the tip drills again with his charges and is taking pleasure in telling the Receiver’s who miss to do the drill over. The Quarterbacks do their footwork and dropbacks and then the Running Backs join them in hand off reps using the running lane mat. The Tight Ends are during one-on-one pass protect drills against some of the Linebackers. After 10 minutes or so, the Running Backs trot off to the short field and I hear the sounds of them hitting the sleds shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, the Tight Ends and Wide Receivers work on passing drills with the QB’s. When they are nice and warmed up, Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase signals for the HORN.
11 on 11 Scrimmage starts. The Chains, play clock and referees are activated as Ronnie Hillman gets a yard. The Defense catches the O-Line into a False Start on the next play. After Hillman gains 5 yards weaving his way up the middle, Peyton throws incomplete over Demaryius Thomas’ head. An inside handoff nets Hillman another 5 yards and then Montee Ball carries for 4 yards.
At this point a melee breaks out. I’m told that Julius Thomas may have started it (perhaps by Holding), but any rate I see Derek Wolfe punch/shove Chris Clark in the front left shoulder pad and knock him to the ground. Tempers flare and Punches are thrown. Then I see Danny Trevathan’s helmet go flying so he’s involved. When the dust clears, they go back to work.
Manning hits Eric Decker and then Knowshon Moreno makes a good cut for about 8 yards. The second unit rotates in and Brock Osweiler connects with Greg Orton for a Touchdown between Kayvon Webster and David Bruton. Montee Ball runs for a yard and Moreno gets 2-3 yards. The 3rd unit goes to work as Zac Dysert hands off to C.J. Anderson for a couple. On the next play, Dysert dumps the ball off to Anderson, who takes it 5 yards and out of bounds. C.J.’s next carry is good for 3 yards. Lance Ball runs for 2 yards and Jacob Hester gets a good push for 5 yards. HORN.
It’s time for some 7 on 7’s and Peyton Manning hits Ronnie Hillman for 4 yards. Manning then completes his next three for Demaryius Thomas, illman and Eric Decker respectively. The next attempt, intended for Demaryius, is broken up by the tandem of Tony Carter and Duke Ihenacho.
Montee Ball catches a pass coming out of the backfield and puts a spin move on a Linebacker to gain a few more yards. The “2’s” are up next as Osweiler completes a pass to Andre Caldwell. He uses a double pump and then tries to hit Virgil Green, who drops the pass under pressure. After a pair of completions to Gerell Robinson, Brock connects on four straight passes with Lamaar Thomas, Trindon Holliday, Lance Ball and Gerell Robinson and then Robinson drops the final rep. HORN.
11 on 11’s breakout of the Red Zone area at the 10 yard line. Manning throws two incompletions, one due to pressure and coverage, the other because Montee Ball fumble/drops it. The ref calls it an incomplete pass. Peyton hits Demaryius Thomas on a comeback and then Julius Thomas on a crossing route. Osweiler steps in and they run the same play to Julius again with success. Malik Jackson gets to Brock for a Sack after flushing him from the pocket. After a pass to Gerell Robinson and a dump off to C.J. Anderson, Dysert steps up to Center. He hits Lamaar Thomas, who makes a very nice catch at the sideline against Mario Butler. Linebacker Damien Holmes uses his speed along with a nasty Rip move to close in and Sack Dysert. On the next play, Guard Quentin Saulsberry slaps one of the Defensive Linemen on the helmet as Offsides is called by the official. I hear Coach Fox say,
“I don’t know if I’d be slapping a Defensive Tackle in the head like that. Probably wouldn’t get away with that.”
Dysert throws incomplete, then tries to hook up with Quincy McDuffie, but the ball is Intercepted by Ross Rasner. HORN.
After a 2 minute water break, the Special Teams Punt protection and coverage unit drill s again against the “Red Hats.” Britton Colquitt and Ryan Doerr alternate punting with the JUG’s machine. Five minutes later, the HORN blows once more.
11 on 11’s again as Peyton Manning completes passes to Julius Thomas and Wes Welker before throwing incomplete for Ronnie Hillman. A Draw play to Montee Ball nets a good 8 yards and after another completion to Demaryius Thomas, it’s Osweiler’s turn. Brock’s first pass for Greg Orton is broken up by Mario Butler. He then hits Knowshon Moreno on a slant. Robert Ayers, Jeremy Beal and Mitch Unrein meet at the lanky Quarterback for a Sack and then Ayers, Unrein and Kevin Vickerson are there on the following play. A long pass intended for Quincy McDuffie is knocked away by Kayvon Webster. Robert Ayers gets pressure again, forcing Osweiler to throw sooner that he wanted to and Omar Bolden breaks up the pass intended for Tavarres King. HORN.
The ball is moved to the 20 yard line, with the Offense moving away from the End Zone. Ronnie Hillman gets carries for 4 and 6 yards. With a fast closing Von Miller, Manning tries to hit Wes Welker, but Chris Harris knocks the ball away. After throwing a completion to Demaryius Thomas with Robert Ayers in his face, Manning goes back to Welker, who wins this time against Harris.
Brock Osweiler completes a short pass to Montee Ball and Danny Trevathan breaks up his next attempt. Jeremy Beal is there for the Sack as Brock throws deep for Gerell Robinson, but the pass falls incomplete. Zac Dysert steps in and his throw intended for Tavarres King is nearly picked off by Mario Butler. Zac goes back to Tavarres and completes it this time. After Steven Johnson breaks up a play, Dysert fires one to Quincy McDuffie who is met face to face with Danny Trevathan and the rookie holds on to the ball. Dysert hits Kemonte’ Bateman on a nice play and there’s the HORN.
Special Teams Field Goal Unit drills with the mobile goalpost with the narrowed uprights. Matt Prater goes to work and due to the tips of the goal posts appearing to be touching, no one can tell how accurate Prater is. It’s said that he has shortened his approach step a little bit for better accuracy. A fake Field Goal is attempted and Britton Colquitt throws to Virgil Green. However, Rahim Moore is covering the Tight End and breaks up the pass. Meanwhile, Chris Clark is wide open in the middle of the field and says, “I was open baby, I was open.” HORN.
11 on 11’s Goal Line drills closeout practice. Montee Ball gets 3 carries and the Defense holds. Manning throws incomplete. Then Brock Osweiler throws the ball away on a fade that his receiver might not have known about. Knowshon Moreno shows them how it’s done with a quick burst around the left side to score. HORN.
The Tight Ends and Peyton Manning sign autographs today. I picked up Virgil Green and then on my way out, stop and say hello to Ben Garland, who cheerfully adds another signature to my hat.
– Kaptain Kirk