Posted Mon Aug 3rd by Monty
Denver Broncos training camp… news and notes from the Monday afternoon session.
The weather was threatening but ultimately cooperated, and the Broncos continued their physical workouts Monday afternoon. They started with mental reps and formation work, followed by warm-ups and individual drills, and finished with team scrimmages (situational football).
Brandon Marshall was again missing. Robert Ayers, although signed, did not participate per the Head Coach’s suggestion. Knowshon Moreno was of course absent, along with Daniel Graham, Casey Weigmann, Ryan Torain, and Nick Greisen. Brian Dawkins, Correll Buckhalter, Wesley Woodyard, and Brandon Stokley all returned to the field after missing the morning practice.
Offensive MVP: Kyle Orton
This afternoon was Orton’s best practice to date. He still made a few mistakes, but I saw better footwork and better reaction to pressure overall. He made plays happen with his feet when he needed to and he stepped into his throws even under pressure (something he really, really hadn’t been doing to this point). He also threw very accurate passes today. Some highlights: With Buckhalter running a route against Wesley Woodyard, Orton was under some good pressure both on the inside and to his right. He stood firm in the pocket and delivered a perfectly placed bullet to Buckhalter’s outside shoulder; Bucky turned on the jets to get past Woody. Later, Orton executed a play-action bootleg to his left flawlessly, hitting Stokley for 6. He followed that up a few plays later with a risky ball to Stokley in the end zone again, but gave it enough zip to fly through Josh Barrett‘s hands. Touchdown.
With Weigmann out, Kory Lichtensteiger saw work as the starting center with the first team o-line. He consistently struggled though; Ronald Fields got the better of him more than once. The coaches must have noticed this too, and by the end of practice, Lichtensteiger was benched. Ben Hamilton was moved to center (remember that Hamilton played center in Tom Nalen‘s absence on more than one occasion), and rookie Seth Olsen filled in at left guard. Interesting. Also, check the defensive notes for the OL vs. DL drill.
Chris Simms was up-and-down again; he’ll make a big play out of nothing and then throw wildly inaccurate passes.
I also got a glimpse of McDaniels’ offense, and how it might attack a defense like Denver’s. I saw Champ Bailey get taken out of a play by clever route combinations, resulting in a touchdown on the other side of the field. Bailey got left having to cover tight end Richard Quinn who came from the inside, while all the playmakers went to the other side of the field.
Defensive MVP: Brian Dawkins.
Our big free agent signing wreaked havoc out there, forcing a fumble and intercepting at least one ball. He also laid the smack down, knocking the wind out of Lamont Jordan and laying out Richard Quinn on separate occasions.
2nd MVP goes to Ronald Fields. The nose tackle had a strong practice – perhaps partially due to the absence of Weigmann shutting him down.
The OL vs. DL drills were exactly what I’ve been thirsting for, and I wasn’t disappointed. Two d-linemen lined up against a full o-line, with the goal to get to the “quarterback.” It appeared to me that the o-line was not to double team any of the DL, though – they just all had to be ready in case they were engaged. Fun drill. Here are some notes (the speed of this drill didn’t help me in taking notes, so I apologize and ask you to fill in the blanks where needed):
- Matthias Askew and Darrell Reid dominated the opposing OL. Looked like backups. They got eaten.
- Askew got past the right tackle later as well.
- Carlton Powell pushed Tyler Polumbus around quite a bit.
- Powell was back at it, this time utilizing a nice spin move and beating G Matt McChesney cleanly. The coaches reamed McChesney for that one.
- Seth Olsen handled Chris Baker well. McChesney bounced back by controlling Rulon Davis with seeming ease.
- Davis had a rough outing in this drill, getting handled several times and also getting ripped by the coaches. One coach tested him on his technique “HOW MANY STEPS?!” and Davis couldn’t answer. Coach got disgusted and kicked him off the line.
- Reid and Everette Pedescleux lined up alongside each other when the former spun into the latter, tripping them both up and knocking them both down. Made me laugh a bit (sorry guys).
- Kenny Peterson and Elvis Dumervil went against the one’s and got there. It wasn’t a clean win but they certainly both pushed back their boys enough, and just in time.
Eleven-on-eleven drill was interesting, as we got to see some more Big Nickel packages with a few mix-ins (like Barrett lined up closer to the line of scrimmage). Alphonso Smith is proving to be a playmaker, batting balls away and oh-so-nearly coming up with an impressive interception (bouncing out of his hands as he hit the ground in the end zone). Tony Carter also made plays, executing a big blocked pass with a tall leap in the end zone and following that up with a sack on Simms on a blitz. Carter screamed in celebration, which gave the crowd a few laughs and cheers. I also liked what I saw from Vernon Fox. Playing with the two’s, I heard Fox read the play PERFECTLY, directing his CB teammate to the action. His fast thinking and directing turned what would have been a big play into a 3 or 4 yard gain.
Special Teams MVP: Kenny McKinley
The rookie looked far and away the best in kick return drills between him, Royal and fellow rookie Alphonso Smith. He had the two best returns of the group, one for a touchdown.
Matt Prater reminded me of Jason Elam circa 2006, when the entire special teams was rushed onto the field and the kicker was asked to make a field goal in under 10 seconds. It wasn’t quite as fast as the famed “Toro!” play, but he nailed the hurried kick just the same. Later he was a bit less solid, making 4 of 6 field goals at the end of practice.
Brett Kern is beginning to distance himself from Britton Colquitt, especially in placing punts in the corner of the field.
Just one practice tomorrow, from 2:30 to 4:30. Will Knowshon be a no-show again?