Posted Fri Aug 6th by Monty
On Friday, fans, coaches and teammates had to witness another outside linebacker, the team’s newly-signed running back, and one half of the practicing offensive linemen with game experience in Josh McDaniels‘ offense walk into the locker room in the middle of practice to not return.
Through one week, this year’s training camp has been remarkably brutal for the Denver Broncos, who have been decimated by injuries, starting with the losses of running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter on the first day. Today was merely a continuation of that trend. Outside linebacker Jarvis Moss left practice Friday with a broken hand, running back LenDale White walked with a trainer with an unspecified injury, and starting right guard Chris Kuper headed to the locker room with a reported sprained right ankle.
“We plan on taking the pads off tonight,” McDaniels said, “and having a walkthrough tomorrow morning before the stadium practice Saturday night. So you know, we should pull off with some of the banging around here, but ultimately I think we gotta continue to push through some of this stuff.”
Attendance: Good news: LB Joe Mays and DT Ronald Fields returned to practice, along with DL Ben Garland. Bad news: S Brian Dawkins, LB D.J. Williams, and DT Chris Baker continued to miss time, along with the usual suspects. Some vets (WR Jabar Gaffney, WR Brandon Stokley, DL Justin Bannan) were new absentees, though they could have just been given the morning off.
Injury Report: Moss, Kuper, and White. Robert Ayers and Mario Haggan played on the outside in Moss’ absence, with Wesley Woodyard and Akin Ayodele inside. Stanley Daniels filled in for Kuper at first team right guard.
What I Liked
WR Demaryius Thomas — The deep middle was Demaryius Thomas Land today. The Broncos’ top pick had a number of impressive catches Friday, especially when he crossed over the middle of the field 15 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage, in what was his best practice to date. Most notable was Kyle Orton‘s perfect rainbow-arc football in the end zone that hit Thomas in stride after he got behind David Bruton; moments earlier, Thomas had made a leaping catch for a high Brady Quinn ball. Later he got past double coverage (CB Perrish Cox and S Renaldo Hill) in the end zone to score six for Quinn. Thomas had a number of catches in that area, and the crowd loved it.
RB LenDale White — I’d mentioned in previous practice reports that none of the running backs were doing all that much to impress me. A few of them had nice runs today, but none impressed as much as the newest member, LenDale White. White delivered a pad-smacking blow to get to the second level in early 9-on-7 work (which left one media member adjacent to me repeatedly exclaiming “That was awesome!”) and had a number of good runs, firing up the crowd before leaving early. I’m hearing that he left because he was dehydrated, so hopefully he’ll shape up and come back without issue.
QB Kyle Orton — Orton executed the team’s two-minute drill with seeming ease today. He technically only had one minute, with Coach dictating the team’s goal being to get beyond the 30-yard line for a field goal in that time. After one incomplete he completed the next four passes to four different receivers, calling timeout for the field goal unit to do their work.
What I Didn’t Like
The Secondary Save a lone interception by Perrish Cox in the end zone, the secondary got pretty torched today. Every wide receiver was making the tough catches and made half of them look easy. There were a few breakups here and there, but the offense had their way with the defense today much more often than not.
Play of the Day
Demaryius Thomas’ big catch over David Bruton for the touchdown was easily the biggest play of the day.
WR Eric Decker also had a great practice, making a number of tough catches and getting good separation. Matthew Willis did too; there might not be any one true super-playmaker on this offense, but there are a number of guys that, in summation, will cause opposing defenses all sorts of problems. McDaniels must be salivating.
The pass protection was improved today — which is another way to say that the pass rush diminished. That comes with losing Dumervil and Moss, one would suppose, but I still saw a lot of good work from the o-linemen. They were picking up blitzes well, and I didn’t see any defender break through untouched.
The Broncos will hold a pads-free practice Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The session will be open to the public.