Denver Broncos players file into the South Suburban Sports Dome after lightning cancelled the outdoor practice Friday, July 27, 2012. (BroncoTalk.net photo)
Denver Broncos 2012 Training Camp Day 2 Practice Report
Nearly 3,000 Broncos fans gathered at Broncos Headquarters at Dove Valley for the second day of the team’s 2012 training camp… and nearly 3,000 fans were sent home 15 minutes later as the rain started drizzling and lightning threatened ominously nearby. The Broncos moved the practice into the South Suburban Sports Dome down the street (around 40-50 fans stood outside to cheer them on outdoors, but fans were not permitted inside).
“It was a little different,” Demaryius Thomas said. “Not enough room, but we got a lot of work done.”
Fortunately, so did we. Media were still allowed in the bubble, and our practice report from the session follows.
Manning looked excellent in the bubble. He completed roughly 80% of his passes across all seven-on-seven or 11-on-11 drills, but the real highlight was Manning’s pass to Eric Decker near the end of practice. Decker ran a deep post that beat double coverage (Tracy Porter and Quinton Carter) and caught Manning’s throw in the end zone in stride.
Brandon Stokley was back at practice. Jamie Blatnick (ankle) and Justin Bannan (calf) did not participate. Quinton Carter injured his right hamstring and was seen pacing along the sideline late in practice.
NOT WET, STILL SLIPPERY
Lightning was no longer a scare in the indoor practice bubble dome, but the condition of the turf was, with players slipping often during warmups and team drills. Champ Bailey opted not to participate in seven-on-seven and full-team drills altogether (Drayton Florence filled in), and Carter’s injury occurred after he slipped on that long pass from Manning to Decker. Head Coach John Fox said they’re not in an immediate hurry to change indoor facilities, but they are aware it isn’t the best situation.
“We make do with what we got,” Fox said. “I try to stay off this stuff as much as possible, but at some times, like today, we needed the work, and this was the safe place to get it done.”
OBSERVATION #1 – INTERESTING DAY FOR MIKE ADAMS
The Broncos brought Mike Adams to at least compete for a starting safety position, but so far the veteran has been playing with the second team, with Quinton Carter and Rahim Moore seeing first team duties. Adams has made the most of this semi-demotion; at one point he sniffed out a running play, penetrating the line of scrimmage for what would have been a tackle for loss. Even more interesting than his current position on the defensive depth chart, though, is his possible position on the special teams one. Adams was among five players to take snaps as a kick returner Friday, and he saw several of them (all five did). Adams assumed a defensive leadership role within that young defensive core during the offseason, but the first few practices of camp suggest his true role in 2012 could be vastly different.
OBSERVATION #2 – PORTER HAS MANNING’S NUMBER
For awhile, this looked to be The Practice In Which Peyton Manning Threads the Needle for Ridiculous Completions, To the Eternal Frustration of His Defensive Teammates. Then Tracy Porter stepped up. First Manning hit Eric Decker on an impressive out just out of the reach of Rahim Moore. The next play, Manning threw through Porter’s hands and into the tumbling form of Brandon Stokley for a completion. It looked like Manning was going to toy with the Broncos’ defense… then Porter adjusted. He picked off Manning two plays later (intended for Andre Caldwell) and ran down the sideline for what would have been a defensive touchdown. Later Porter deflected a Manning pass high into the air, and Wesley Woodyard almost came down with it. Porter may not be Champ Bailey, but he seems to get Peyton Manning. Let’s just be thankful he’s with the Broncos and not on another team.
Denver Broncos offensive linemen participate in individual drills at the South Suburban Sports Dome during training camp on July 27, 2012. (BroncoTalk.net photo)
OBSERVATION #3 – TIGHT ENDS GET IN THE MIX
Yesterday a large focus of the passing game seemed to be on Willis McGahee and other running backs. Today, tight ends got more work, with Jacob Tamme and Virgil Green hauling in some nice passes. The first team offense even opened up seven-on-seven drills with a three tight end set: Tamme, Green, and Joel Dreessen, all running routes.
OBSERVATION #4 – RONNIE HILLMAN HAS THE GOODS
Hillman stood out a couple of times Friday. The rookie running back made a nice cut in team drills that turned what would have been a two-yard loss into a five-yard gain, and possibly more. He also saw a lot of work as a kick returner: all in all, he, Adams, Matthew Willis, Andre Caldwell, and Omar Bolden saw snaps at kick returner, with Hillman and Willis seeing the most work. Hillman is relegated deep down the RB depth chart, so he doesn’t have a lot of snaps to evaluate, but I saw a few plays that raised my eyebrows.
- Hillman isn’t the only running back who busted a decent move Friday. Jeremiah Johnson got into the secondary then found another gear, beating Mike Adams in an impressive footrace.
- Either credit the defense or blame the offense, but Caleb Hanie had one heck of a bad play late in team work. A bad snap was followed by a jailbreak blitz that completely broke through the offensive line for what would have been a multi-man sack. Of course, players don’t actually hit their QB’s in practice, so Hanie threw anyway… right into the hands of David Bruton, who should have had the interception.
- Manny Ramirez continued to work in Chris Kuper‘s stead when actual blocking came into play.
- Rookie C/G Philip Blake saw snaps at 2nd-team Center, with C.J. Davis seeing time at guard with the two’s.
PHOTO GALLERY: Because of the tight nature of the indoor practice, Andrew Mason offered to share his photos from today’s session. A few Twitter-worthy photos taken from my iPhone are available at Twitter.com/BroncoTalk, but check MaxBroncos’ Facebook page for higher quality photos later tonight. We’ll update this post with better photos at that time too.
Several dozen fans waited hours simply to see Broncos players walk into their buses after practice concluded Friday, July 27, 2012. Fans were not allowed inside the sports dome after the practice was moved inside due to lightning. (BroncoTalk.net photo)
NEXT PRACTICE: Tomorrow, Saturday, at 8:50 a.m. It’s very likely this practice will break the record set Thursday morning, folks; get there by 7:30 if you hope to get a parking spot at the Broncos facilities. Gates open at 7:50.
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