Posted Sun Aug 2nd by Monty
Denver Broncos training camp… news and notes from Sunday’s morning practice.
Welcome, Broncos fans, to the third day of live coverage of Broncos training camp! Today will be remembered by me personally as the day I became officially worried about the quarterback situation… but more on that later. The third day of camp saw Brandon Marshall leave the field early – I didn’t see him walk off but I’m told he was limping. Something to keep our eyes on… meanwhile, the practice was again in full pads, although guys were only going through what I’ll call “three quarters contact.” I guess that’s McDaniels‘ way of giving the guys a “break” after the full pounding they took yesterday.
Vernon Fox returned to the field, wearing an inside-out orange “don’t hit me” jersey that are usually exclusive to the quarterbacks. Jarvis Moss was again absent, along with the two rookies. Nic Clemons, who was carted off the field yesterday, was also absent, and the coach told reports he will likely be out at least a few days, but didn’t want to speculate beyond that.
So… quarterbacks. It’s still early, so they’re still shaking off the rust, but there isn’t a single guy I feel really comfortable with right now. Tom Brandstater is very raw and needs some development, particularly in his footwork and release. Let’s take him out of the picture right now and talk about Chris Simms and Kyle Orton.
In individual drills, Orton shines. He throws with power and places the ball accurately. Simms is a bit wild; his balls tend to sail high over the intended target quite often, and he’ll throw a knuckle ball straight into the grass just as often. He has better arm strength than Orton but can’t seem to control it.
In team drills however, with full contact at the line of scrimmage but only half-tackling today, Simms looked a lot better in the pocket. Orton looked indecisive; he didn’t recognize pressure and he seemed nervous whenever guys got around him. He threw several balls away but also threw an interception and was sacked. He threw off his back foot, and seeing him run out of the pocket nearly gave me a heart attack. When the pressure’s on, Orton is a fumbling bumbling mess.
Simms wasn’t perfect by any means, but he stood more firmly in the pocket and made a few more plays. It’s still early, so the offense is still catching up with the defense (as is the case every year). Receivers struggle to get open and the plays that will become second nature in a few weeks still have to be processed in the minds of the QB’s. It explains why the quarterbacks repeatedly took so long to get the ball off, but Simms was a bit quicker and used much better mechanics in his throws when the pressure was on.
Conclusion: If we could combine the consistent accuracy of Orton with the pocket presence of Simms, we’d have one helluva quarterback.
Eddie Royal caught a few long bombs today and dropped one too, while Jabar Gaffney is simply consistent. He’ll make the big play just as often as the tough catch; he’s an excellent addition to this team. Even with Marshall out, these two will spell trouble for opposing defenses.
Ryan Torain stood out in pass blocking today during team drills, delivering a brutal and crucial black to a resounding “oooohhh” from the crowd. The punishing hit allowed Simms to complete a 15 yarder down the right sideline. I’m liking Torain over Buckhalter and Jordan more and more every day.
Daniel Graham is a force.
At outside linebacker, Elvis Dumervil is starting to show some real potential. He was giving Ryan Clady all he could handle, getting by the menacing tackle during team drills for a clean sack. He’s lining up as a starter right now, and I’d be very surprised if he lost his job.
Tim Crowder, physically, stands out among his peers. He’s a tall, fast, physical freak of nature. He’s lining up more and more at oustide linebacker; it’ll be interesting to see if that changes if and when Moss returns tomorrow. He looks good in space but can’t seem to disengage his blockers; I am rooting for the guy.
I saw a bit more 4-3 looks today; I had hardly seen anything worth reporting in that area before now. When lined up in the 4-3, the first team defensive line went (from opposing left tackle to right) Elvis Dumervil, Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields, and Darrell Reid. There was a mix of backups and veterans in the secondary and linebacker units (Champ, D.J. and Dawkins weren’t on the field), so I couldn’t say who would be lining up at linebacker in this formation.
Rulon Davis, who had been playing DE the first two days of camp, also saw some work at OLB. The kid stood out during d-line drills but wasn’t noticeable at linebacker. We’ll see if the coaches persist with this move.
Jack Williams blocked two passes during one-on-one DB drills, having the best day of the group. David Bruton had a rough outing in these drills, getting burned out of his sneakers by C.J. Jones at one point (who, right?).
The Broncos moved afternoon practice, running from 4:45pm to 6pm, which really means until “6:45” by how the other workouts have gone. Special teams session, anyone?