Posted Thu Aug 2nd by Monty
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos again drew a record crowd Thursday morning, the seventh full practice of the Denver Broncos’ 2012 training camp. Over 5,000 fans and media were present to witness the emergence of Demaryius Thomas and the continued near-perfection of Peyton Manning. Let’s break it down.
Absent: S Quinton Carter (hamstring and knee), WR D’Andre Goodwin (foot, since waived), and WR Greg Orton (ankle). In shorts, not participating: WR Tyler Grisham (knee), RB Ronnie Hillman (hamstring), and OT Orlando Franklin (concussion). WR Eric Decker was limited with a groin.
PEY PEY TO BAY BAY ALL DAY DAY
(Someone make a shirt out of it. I’d buy it.)
You get the impression that Thomas had been simply biding his time, waiting for his opportunity to break out. With Decker taking it easy following a groin strain, opportunity knocked. Bay-Bay answered.
The full breakdown can be found here, but even that doesn’t quite elucidate how superb Thomas played today. He consistently got open. He didn’t have a drop. He made acrobatic catches over safeties and corners, and he stiff-armed his way to daylight.
He explored the route tree. He crossed short in shallow routes. He ran deep in flies and wheels. He adjusted to Peyton’s ball in curl routes.
He out-sped, out-jumped, and out-physicalled every opponent he faced today.
And Decker did look fine, by the way. He ran a few individual routes and looked full-speed. The Broncos really are just playing it safe — a fortuitous bit of caution for Demaryius.
MANNING IS SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY… SO GOOD
It’s only the team’s seventh full practice, and only their fifth in full pads, and Manning was nearly perfect. In team drills, Manning went:
- 6 for 6 in 7-on-7′s, including two passes to backup receivers against Champ Bailey.
- 3 for 3, including Thomas’ wicked stiff-arm, in 11-on-11.
- 1 for 2 with a sack in the next 11-on-11. They ran mostly running plays.
- 4 for 4 in the no huddle, including Thomas’ jumping end zone catch.
- 1 for 1 in red zone work, a touchdown to Jacob Tamme.
So Manning was 15 for 16. He had two other dropbacks where he was sacked.
TIGHT ENDS, TOO
I haven’t really talked about the tight ends enough in these reports, but they are going to be a weapon for Manning, particularly Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen. Tamme has the best hands I’ve ever seen from a Broncos tight end in person, and Dreessen has a phenomenal ability to change gears while the ball is in the air, speed up, and close on it.
“They can do a number of things,” Peyton Manning said. “Both Jacob and Joel fit into that role and present matchup problems for a defense. It’s a credit to both of them because they can run, both of them are good blockers (who give) a lot of effort blocking, and I know (Mike) McCoy’s excited about having both of them and just trying to keep defenses off balance.”
“I think Peyton’s showing a tendency to like tight ends,” head coach John Fox said. “They’re both very athletic as well as good receivers.”
Today, Tamme hauled in a touchdown from Manning, while both had impressive, acrobatic catches in individual work. Manning will have a lot of talented options this season.
THE ROOKIE RUNS THE NO-HUDDLE
Brock Osweiler was back to having a workload of some significance, seeing mostly #2 duty throughout the day. Most interesting, though, was watching Osweiler run the no-huddle.
Think about it. This is a rookie, with a new playbook, team, and coaches, asked to execute an offense built for Peyton Manning, without the benefit of a coach’s playcall or the pause of the huddle. Osweiler has only had five professional football practices in full pads ever.
He handled the no-huddle with surprising ease.
After a running play, he hit Jason Hill and Matthew Willis for a pair of completions. He followed that up with a quick out to tight end Cornelius Ingram, then finished the drill with a short inside throw to RB Jeremiah Johnson. None of the plays were particularly spectacular, and they didn’t gain a lot of ground. But Osweiler completed all four of his pass attempts, and he threw to four different receivers, including a tight end and a running back. That’s spreading the ball around, and that’s good, smart football for the rookie.
CHRIS CLARK COMING ON
I wrote earlier that the right tackle position had me worried if Orlando Franklin was slow to return… that isn’t the case so much anymore. In fact, Chris Clark has looked mighty impressive lately. Like most younger, inexperienced players on the edge of the OL, his run blocks are superior to his pass blocks, but he showed good improvement there today. At one point he picked up two rushers — Elvis Dumervil and Wesley Woodyard, I believe — and, after a second of of getting pushed back, suddenly stood his ground.
Clark has looked so impressive at right tackle it wouldn’t surprise me to see him push Franklin for starting time.
All my focus so far was on the offense (it was their practice, after all). But here are a handful of defensive notes:
- Players who got full sacks or were parts of multi-man sacks: Dumervil, Steven Johnson, Jamie Blatnick, Jeremy Beal, Jason Hunter, and Robert Ayers.
- Derek Wolfe continues to get in the mix on first-team nickel at defensive tackle. He continues to be moved around the defensive line.
- Batman and Robin (Dumervil and Von Miller ran wind sprints together while the special teams units did their thing. Good to see their camaraderie continuing to grow, even over hellish, dull running drills.
- Ayers had a few nice tackles today, especially his nice leveling of Knowshon Moreno. This demotion has lit a fire under his ass.
- That being said, Jason Hunter, the man who replaced Ayers in the starting lineup, has looked good too.
- My guy Cyril Obiozor got off a block to consume Lance Ball on one run.
PHOTOS AND VIDEO
Want a video showing Manning’s footwork and throwing motion? Check out Facebook.com/BroncoTalk. Also a photo gallery with over 30 photos from today’s practice.
The Broncos will practice at 2:20 p.m. MT tomorrow, and it’s open to the public. Stadium scrimmage Saturday!