The tedious doldrums of the NFL offseason finally came to an end at 9:30 am MT this morning, coinciding with the remnant humidity from last night’s thunderstorm as the dew evaporated from the berm at Dove Valley and the Bronco Quarterbacks emerged from the locker room to loosen up their arms with some pre-practice soft toss and the onset of another Denver Broncos Training Camp.
Then, the word many of you were longing for was sent across the Twitterverse:
The players scramble to their position groups for warmup and the music begins. I see a happy group of Broncos enjoying the fan support. Demaryius Thomas throws a few balls into a waiting crowd in front of the group I’m with. Meanwhile, Von Miller is starting to dance over towards the field to the left.
I am sitting in the front row today, on the field to the right as you walk into the complex. Specifically, I’m right beneath the goalpost on the far right. I generally sit up aways, in order to see jersey numbers more clearly, but opening day of Training Camp has been reserved for a group of special ladies and I for an annual visit. HORN.
In years past, the Broncos have gone into a team stretch period. But with a new head coach, there are always subtle changes. Make no mistake, there IS a Bronco way of doing things and that will continue as it has since John Elway was lured out of retirement. The way practices are run has always been part of the personality we the public can see out of the head coaches that have been in Denver.
Today, the team went straight from position warmups to a short Punt protection segment and then immediately into Red Zone Offense for most of the remainder of practice. There were some other situational-type drills in the RZO, including 2-point conversion reps and Field Goal Attempts, but the focus was on getting their work in. Such as it was, practice ended much earlier than expected (or scheduled). I found out on the drive home, that Vance Joseph said they got all their scheduled work finished early. Even on the first day of Camp, that’s got to score points with the players. Then again, it’s also a testament to the maturity of the leadership on this team. My memory isn’t as good as it used to be, but it has seemed quiet lately on the police scanner. Maybe the coach sees that if the guys are doing the proper prep work for the season and decides to throw them a bone in acknowledgement. Or maybe, JUST maybe, they love playing in front of the best fans in the NFL.
Or it could simply be Mile High Magic.
Anyway, I wasn’t all that prepared for Training Camp this year so this won’t be like the previous Camp chronicles.
The Quarterback situation didn’t get resolved today despite what anyone says. Both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch had good and bad throws. Personally, I thought Kyle Sloter had a better day than the other two, whether he’s been practicing during the off time or the urgency of his own situation: trying to get some game tape before Chad Kelly returns from injury. Either way, the kid looked good throwing inside slants and finding the second receiver. I did notice on consecutive plays, that Paxton Lynch threw behind CJ Anderson on a crossing route in the end zone and stared down his intended target from the snap to the throw on the other play. Now that isn’t the be-all and end-all of my analysis. It’s just two plays. I took all the QB play as “Rusty from 2 weeks off.” But I had seen enough for a baseline to move my focus on our first round draft pick. Especially since he was working directly in front of my vantage spot.
I thought the kid did pretty well. Garett Bolles is a big body that moves well. He didn’t come out and dominate like Ryan Clady, but he tasted some live action against Von Miller and Domata Peko on back to back pass plays and survived. He had to hold the Vonster (but that’s nothing new) and had his hands full against the wild Samoan. Later on, Bolles successfully fended off Shane Ray on an outside speed rush, though Sting Ray would have ended up with a Sack had the play extended for any length of time. In the Red Zone Run Offense, Bolles used Jared Crick’s body to help push the line sideways so C.J. Anderson could cut into the end zone. On another play, he pulled up the middle and blocked both Brandon Marshall and Crick to set up another C.J. Anderson touchdown scamper.
Due to the wrist injury to Devontae Booker, and his placement on the PUP list, Juwan Thompson received a lot of reps — and looked good.
Isaiah McKenzie cuts almost as tight as Wes Welker and I believe he is much quicker than Wes. I saw him run a quick slant very early in practice and he dropped the ball. I didn’t notice him any other time. I’m not sure if he just didn’t look the pass into his hands or not. I just don’t want to notice a trend like that on a speedy guy that could stretch the field.
Shagging punts from the JUGs machine this morning were: Isaiah McKenzie, Carlos Henderson, Hunter Sharp, Kalif Raymond, Brendan Langley and Jordan Taylor.
Brandon McManus still has a booming leg, but can’t catch a fake Field Goal Attempt.
Lorenzo Doss had a stripped ball Pass breakup against Carlos Henderson.
Marcus Rios had the first Interception in Camp 17.
At the Double HORN, the Offensive Linemen draw autograph duty.
Usually at this time of the year, I am completely amped up for football. That hasn’t been the case this time. My Dad passed in November and I have been occupied with the cleanup of our property in order to relocate. That has left me with very little time for writing because I spend the time not working, in rest and recovery mode. I haven’t had much desire to write much either and the Siemian-Lynch debate is old for someone who recalls the whole Tebow-charade all too well and it seems rather petty when compared with real-life events.
I suppose what I am getting at is this: I’m not sure how many more Camp reports you will see from me. However, I will be there Monday morning.
– Kaptain Kirk