Sunday, August 29, 2010

Broncos abuse Steelers, earn first preseason win

The Broncos earned their first preseason victory of 2010 on Sunday night after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-17. With a trio of interceptions, and 3.0 sacks the defense was a key part of the victory, scoring two touchdowns of their own. Rookie cornerback Perrish Cox started the interception mania by picking off a pass and tip-toeing to stay in bounds. Not to be outdone by a rookie, Andre' Goodman returned an inception of Dennis Dixon 70 plus yards for a score, then rookie Syd'Quan Thompson followed suit intercepting a pass and returning it 48 yards for a score. Joining in on the big defensive plays was Robert Ayers who recorded 2.0 sacks on the night.

The offense performed just as well, starting quarterback Kyle Orton was 9-of-14 for 80 yards and one interception while Lance Ball rushed for 75 yards of 10 carries. Tim Tebow played well, while his statistics were mediocre, going 5-of-10 for 72 yards an interception and one touchdown pass. As a whole the offense played well, putting up some good numbers against a top notch defense.

Tonight's game was by far the Broncos best game of the preseason this year. The special teams units performed great, the defense was better against the run, and the offense continued to impress - especially in the passing game, while the rushing attack looked much improved. Bronco fans have plenty of reasons to be excited for the season, while it was "just" a preseason game, the team did look great.

Photo(s) courtesy of the Associated Press were used in this post.

Five things to watch for in tonight's game

The Broncos will get a tough test tonight, as the Steelers will be ready to play. Here are five things to watch for in the game:
  • The game. Tonight's game will be Nationally televised on Fox, at 6p.m. (MT). It will also be re-aired on NFL Network Wednesday, September 1st at 11 a.m. (MT).
  • The starters performance. The third preseason game is traditionally the one that best resembles a team's future performance in the regular season. That is because the starters play most of the game. Expect Kyle Orton and many of the other starters to play into the third quarter, giving fans and coaches a good look at what the starters are capable of.
  • The offensive line. Josh McDaniels will be juggling the offensive line in tonight's game, looking for the group that messes together the best. "You'll definitely see a combination with Daniels at left guard and Beadles at left tackle," McDaniels said. "There's a lot of guys who are still competing for that job. We have not given the job to anybody." Keep an eye on the line's play, tonight could determine he starts, sits and gets cut.

  • The pass rush. Last week the Broncos had two sacks, one coming from Jarvis Moss and another from Robert Ayers. Against the Steelers getting to the QB will be key, expect a heavy rotation of linebackers with Jason Hunter, Moss, and others getting a crack at creating some pressure.

  • The run defense. The Broncos run defense has been (next to the rushing attack on offense) the most troubling. This week, Robert Ayers and Jarvis Moss will be the outside linebackers, and will be called upon to help against the run."I think when they're all in there and they're all healthy and they're all trying to play together, I think we can be a good run defense," McDaniels said. "I think that, I really do."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Broncos start final cuts early, good news on injury front

Though the deadline for the first roster cuts is not until August 31st, the Broncos started trimming their roster a week early on Monday when the team announced they waived running back Toney Baker, offensive lineman Kirk Barton and wide receiver Patrick Carter.

Baker joined the team as a college free agent after the draft in April, and saw his chances for carries disappear after the team signed free agent running backs Justin Fargas and LenDale White in August. Barton joined the team on July 7th after being waived by the Detroit Lions, and Patrick Carter joined the team on August 5th, but with a long list of wide receivers ahead of him on the depth chart, never really had a chance to earn a roster spot.

On Tuesday, Josina Anderson of Fox31 reported the Broncos had released veteran linebacker Akin Ayodele, who signed with the team as a free agent in March. Ayodele was drafted by the Jaguars in 2002 and also played for the Dallas Cowboys and most recently the Miami Dolphins. Ayodele started both preseason games at inside linebacker against the Bengals and Lions, racking up 8 tackles. The release of Ayodele was followed by the news of the release of offensive lineman and former Colorado Buff Tyler Polumbus, who replaced Ryan Harris last year as the starting right tackle, but clearly struggled. Polumbus was signed in 2008 by Mike Shanahan, and was a better fit for the zone blocking scheme. Polumbus will likely draw some interest from Shanahan's Redskins, but other zone blocking teams such as Houston and Seattle could be a good fit too.

Though some might wonder why the team would release players now while the deadline to bring the roster back to 75 players is not until next week, coach McDaniels has said before that if the team has already made a decision about the player's future, they want to give him a chance to catch on with another team.

The best news on Tuesday came from Josh McDaniels' press conference, where he announced several injured players were scheduled to return to practice this week. Champ Bailey, D.J. Williams, Demaryius Thomas, Chris Kuper and Correll Buckhalter returned to practice on Tuesday, while Ryan Clady and LenDale White will join their team mates on the field again on Wednesday. Though some of those players might not get playing time in the two preseason games that remain, it is a good sign that they are back on the field for practice instead of rehabbing from their injury.

The team also announced they were awarded Colorado native Kory Sperry, a second year tight end who was waived by the Miami Dolphins and came into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Chargers in 2009. Sperry will be able to help out Marquez Branson at tight end while starter Daniel Graham and backup Richard Quinn remain sidelined with an injury.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Broncos rushing offense, defense must improve

Last Saturday the Broncos played their second preseason game of 2010, their INVESCO Field @ Mile High home opener, against the Detroit Lions. Denver fell behind by 13 points early, but Kyle Orton rallied the offense to take the lead back. In the fourth quarterback however, Brady Quinn was sacked and fumbled, Detroit recovered and won 25-20. The two main areas the Broncos struggled with in the loss were stopping the run, and creating a good rushing game on offense.

The absence of starting left tackle Ryan Clady and running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter has been dubbed the sole reason for the lack of rushing production. "Obviously, those guys are great players and we'd love to have them back," Said offensive lineman Russ Hochstein. "When they do get back, things will be great. But in the meantime, we still need to make it go, and we're not doing that yet."

The starters on Saturday rushed for a mere 20 yards on 8 carries, and if not for a 23-yard scamper by Bruce Hall in the forth quarter, the Broncos would have rushed for just 32 yards in the game. Through two pre-season games, the Broncos have an average of 55.5 yards rushing, ranking 2nd to last in that category. This week the Broncos will face the Steelers, whose run-stopping defense only allowed 129 rushing yards from the run-happy Giants last weekend. Clearly, Denver will have to improve in the running game.

Thankfully, there hasn't been much of a need for a rushing attack from the first string offense, as Kyle Orton has been next to flawless. Orton, the only quarterback in the NFL to throw multiple touchdown passes in each of his preseason appearances, has gone 24-of-35 for 261 yards, 4 scores with one interception (that the receiver tipped into the air). With a pass-happy offensive attack, and a slew of injuries, the running game being placed on the back burner is understandable, but soon won't be acceptable. "We've still got a long ways to go, but we're working on it," wide receiver Jabar Gaffney said of the rushing game. "We'll have it all together, hopefully, by the time we go to Jacksonville."

The Broncos were out rushed by the Lions 151 yards to 75 yards, drawing concern not only about the offense, but the run defense as well. The Broncos are ranked at the bottom-of-the-barrel in rush yards allowed this preseason, allowing 171.0 per game. Notably, D.J. Williams, Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, and Elvis Dumervil have all missed one or more games already. The Broncos linebackers will have to step up without Dumervil and Williams against the Steelers, or the game could get ugly. Similarly to the offense, the defense's aiming point for correcting the run defense is the season opener. "You're always going to think you can do better," defensive end Justin Bannan said. "But it's all about being ready for that opener, and we're working toward that."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Five things to watch for in tonight's game

Last week the Broncos first stringers played well, but the Broncos couldn't find a way to come away with a win. This week, the team is staying home as the Detroit Lions come to town. The game starts at 7pm (ET), here are five things I'll be watching, and suggest you do as well:
  1. The game. You can watch the Broncos game on NFL Network re-airing on Monday!

  2. The quarterbacks. Last week Kyle Orton was more than fantastic, Brady Quinn was worse than Chris Simms, and Tebow showed brilliant flashes and some rookie stupidity. This week Orton looks to again have a good game, as do the starting receivers. Quinn looks to recover from last week and get things rolling against the Lions second team defense. It is not yet known if Tebow will play, but I suspect he won't. He banged up his rips last week, and is still recovering.

  3. The pass rush, and defense as a whole. Against the Bengals, the Broncos didn't have a very good pass rush, giving Palmer time to find receivers. Meanwhile, the linebackers didn't play all to well either. It was apparent the defense had holes with Brian Dawkins and D.J. Williams not playing. This week, the defense needs to step up, generate a pass rush, and stop running backs from breaking into the secondary.

  4. Hunter, Sheffler facing old teams. A preseason game it may be, this will be the first time Tony Scheffler will be playing in a football game against the Broncos. "It is going to be a lot of fun," Scheffler said. "I spent four years there, and it is a great organization with great fans. I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the guys again, because I've kept in touch with everyone." While Tony will be playing with the Lions, former Lion defensive end Jason Hunter, who the team signed on Thursday, will be playing against the Lions. Last season Hunter started fourteen games for the Lions, registering nine sacks. It will be interesting to see how both players fare against their former teams.

  5. Game day traffic. The Broncos have posted a Gameday Traffic Advisory on the their blog, if you are going to be driving to the game be advised there are roadway repairs on Northbound I-25 and northbound / southbound Santa Fe Drive. For more info, click here.

Update: Although Tim Tebow and D.J. Williams were spotted jogging around the field with the Broncos Trainer, Tebow wasn't wearing cleats, and CBS4's Gary Miller just reported Tebow won't be suiting up. There is no official word yet, so we'll keep you posted.
Photo courtesy of DenverBroncos.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Denver Broncos 2010 Preview

Fresh off a week of attending the Broncos training camp and reviewing the Broncos first pre-season game, I've been contemplating the state of the Broncos. While trying to avoid being biased, yet not countering that and saying the sky is falling, I've written up a little season preview, and would love your feed back.

After a fast start followed by a late season collapse in 2009, Head Coach Josh McDaniels is looking to get the Broncos back on track and back in contention for the AFC West crown. To do so, McDaniels has rid the team of distractions, and brought in players who know what he is looking for out of a team.

Here is a quick run down of each position:
Quarterbacks - Kyle Orton doesn't have as many endorsements, female fans, or screams of support as Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow do, but he does have control of the offense, and Josh McDaniels endorsement. Throughout training camp, Orton displayed time and time again his thorough knowledge of the offensive playbook, quick decision making, and accuracy. He also took care of the ball, throwing the ball away numerous times. To say Orton hasn't vastly improved from the 2009 season would be like saying Brett Favre won't play in 2010 (he will by-the-way). With Orton leading them, the Broncos offense looks to improve from last season; with a year under his belt, McDaniels knows what Orton is and isn't capable of, and will use that to the Broncos advantage. Last night Orton was on target, going 8-of-13 for 84 yards and two touchdowns. If the offense's passing attack will be this season like what it was in the pre-season so far, the Broncos will be a scary team to face.

After being acquired from the Browns in the offseason, Quinn looked poised to erect his career in Denver - until the draft came around. The Broncos drafted Tebow, putting Quinn's hopes of being the Broncos future to rest, that is unless Tebow becomes one of the biggest busts in the history of football. From what I've seen though, Quinn probably wouldn't have much of a chance to become the Broncos starter anytime soon even if the team hadn't drafted Tebow. Brady has a nice spiral on his passes, is good looking, and athletic, but that's about it. During camp, Quinn seemed to be just a body - not making big mistakes while not making any big plays. At first I was impressed with Quinn, he throws more gracefully than Orton, and far more gracefully than Tebow. As time went on though, my first impression of Quinn disappeared and reality came into focus - the prettiest technique doesn't equal the best option at quarterback. I imagine Tebow will be quick to pass Quinn on the depth chart, especially after last night's performances by both quarterbacks.

Tim Tebow's training camp performance, throwing motion, and new hair style have all been heavily documented, so I don't feel there's a need to expound much on Tebow in this post. I will however admit that I'm becoming a bit shaky on a prediction I made in July. I had predicted that weather right, wrong or indifferent, the Broncos wouldn't be playing Tebow much - if at all - this season, and certainly not in the 'Wild Horse.' There are numerous logical explanations for such an assumption, among them: Playing Tebow in a Philly style Michael Vick-like role would risk injuring Tebow. Using Tebow in certain situations (e.g. goal line, short yardage downs) would let the defense know; "Ok, Tebow comes in on this situation and does this, now we know how to prepare for it and stop him, and set up our guys to tee off on him." His technique, and the traditional view of letting a quarterback sit and learn before being thrown onto the fire, are two other arguments as to why Tebow shouldn't be starting, or playing - just yet. After Training Camp however, and seeing how Tebow reacts to a stadium not even half full of supporting fans, and how the Broncos have been using Tebow in practice, I'm not so sure that Tebow won't be playing this season, if only in a limited role. A couple of times in practice, Tebow lined up in the shot gun, took the snap and ran right up the gut, yielding a short gain. At the Broncos Invesco Field @ Mile High practice, the Broncos used a similar play down near the goal line. Tebow received the shot gun snap, ran to his left, cut back, and rumbled into the end zone. That wasn't Tebow only score during the scrimmage, he previously threw a touchdown to Demaryius Thomas after fooling the safety with a pump fake to the opposite side of the field. The former Florida super star has showed rookie flaws, and doesn't always (hardly ever) throw a traditional pass, but his athletic potential, leadership, and team first mentality outweigh his cons. It's hard to say how the Broncos will use Tebow as a rookie, but the outcome of using his raw talents could produce phenomenal results. From looking at Tebow's track record, and Josh McDaniels' history of experimenting with players and formations, I'm concluding my prediction of Tebow not playing much is in a considerable amount of jeopardy. He really impressed in his Pro dubut, making just a few mistakes expected of a rookie quarterback. I do know this, Tebow isn't going to pass Orton as the starter anytime soon, and barring an injury to Orton, I don't see Tebow becoming the starter this season.

With Tebow seemingly miles behind Orton, and Brady Quinn looking unimpressive, I now question the decision the Broncos made in June to release second year quarterback Tom Brandstater. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do, Quinn and Tebow showed promise, Orton was the already-named starter, letting Brandstater go before many teams' training camps started gave him a chance to join a team and learn the new offense before camp, opposed to a crash course mid-camp. Now however, it would be really nice to have Brandstater back. Kyle Orton is the starter, but not the future, Tebow is the future, but hasn't proved anything just yet, and Brady Quinn is - well, the man-in-the-middle. Keeping Brandstater up till this point, and seeing how he would perform in the pre-season--which by-the-way he probably would have done very well given how he performed last pre-season as a rookie, and entering his second year with the team, he would no doubt have made strides in McDaniels' offense--before making the decision to cut him, I believe would have been the better option. Because, in my mind, Brandstater has more upsides than Quinn does, and fits into the Broncos system better. Albeit, what's done is done, so this was a wasted paragraph as it won't bring Brandstater back. Just let it be known I didn't, and still don't, approve of what went down with Brandstater.

Overall, the Broncos have some commendable depth at the quarterback position. With almost every other position on the roster plagued with injuries and uncertainties, the Broncos remain safe at Quarterback.

Receivers, Tight Ends - A question many have proposed over the past few months has been: How can the Broncos replace Brandon Marshall's productivity? I present to you the answer: Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Jabar Gaffney, Matt Willis, Eddie Royal, Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Stokley, Daniel Graham and Marquez Branson. The depth the Broncos have at receiver heading into 2009 is astounding. The depth is so great that one of the receivers will have to go. With Decker, Thomas, Gaffney and Royal possessing the lock-in spots and Brandon Lloyd sitting atop the Broncos receiver depth chart, the race for the Broncos final opening at receiver seems to have come down to Brandon Stokley and Matt Willis. Twenty-six year old Willis is entering his third season in the NFL, spending last season on the Broncos practice squad. Willis has had an outstanding Training Camp, making all three quarterbacks look good by catching nearly anything and everything thrown his way. Meanwhile, thirty-four year old Stokley, who has been called by Mike Shanahan the "best slot receiver in football," has remained old reliable. The decision the Broncos face is a tough one, one that I would loathe to make. From everything I've heard out of Dove Valley though, it looks like Willis may have cost Stokley a job, if for no other reason because Willis also contributes on special teams making him versatile - something Josh McDaniels lives and breathes.While Stokes and Willis fight for the Broncos' 6th spot on the depth chart, the veteran receivers have all improved from last season, and the rookies continue to improve. I was impressed with the physicality of Thomas in camp, as he at times outfought even Champ Bailey to come down with the ball. From such a nice kid with a great smile, it was a little surprising to see such a physical football player, one the Broncos may come to heavily rely on sooner rather than later. Fellow rookie Eric Decker also established himself as a weapon to be reckoned with, letting his hands do his talking. Throughout camp I rarely saw Decker drop a pass (something he doesn't know how to do very well, after only dropping three passes in his collegiate career), and his route running reminded me of Eddie Royal's - exceptional. Both Royal and Decker run crisp routes, using speed and agility to get open, opposed to Thomas's method of overpowering a corner. There's not a right or wrong when it comes to a WR's style getting open, and often a receiver's technique depends solely on his size.

Two vets who are getting their first real chance to prove themselves in the NFL are Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney. Towards the end of the 2009 season, the two receivers got more opportunities, and took full advantage of them. In the season finale against the Chiefs, Gaffney was just one yard short of tying the Broncos record of receiving yards in a game. In that same game Lloyd only caught four passes, turning receptions into production, Lloyd took those four catches for 94 yards. In Gaffney and Lloyd, the Broncos get two similar receivers, who give production without an attitude... ahem Brandon Marshall.

Traditionally, McDaniels hasn't used Tight Ends excessively in the passing game, and it looks like that will continue in 2010. Dan Graham is known as one of the best blocking Tight Ends in all of football, so much so that his great hands often get overlooked. Graham provides a big target, and is hard to bring down after the catch. Joining Graham as a receiving option on the line is Marquez Branson. After Richard Quinn did all of nothing in the passing game as a rookie, and Scheffler was traded to the Lions, McDaniels moved Branson up from the practice squad. This season Branson could see considerable time, both at End and the Full Back position - giving Spencer Larsen some breathers, and giving the Broncos a great receiving threat out of the backfield.

I think last night was a good preview of what we can expect from the passing game this season; Gaffney and Lloyd getting a lot of catches and yards with guys like Eddie Royal, Thomas and possibly Decker not getting so much the big yards, but scores.

With a verity of receivers from deep threats to slot production guys, the Broncos posses a terrifying group for defenses to contain. If Decker and Thomas can fully recover from their ankle injuries, and the others stay healthy, the Broncos passing attack could very well rank in the top 10 this season.

Running backs - This spring Knowshon Moreno was primed for a break out sophomore season, Correll Buckhalter was ready to be the great second punch back he was last year, and Peyton Hillis was ready to be the Broncos much needed short yardage back. Then, Hillis was traded, and both Moreno and Bucky went down with injuries. Without those players at Training Camp, Lance Ball topped the Broncos depth chart, and Denver brought in veteran proven running backs LenDale White and Justin Fargas. From what I've seen, the Broncos rushing attack will be in serious trouble if Knowshon isn't ready when the season starts, or if he goes down this season. White is a punishing back and is a nice safety net who can contribute, much like Fargas, but neither provide what Moreno posses. Reportedly, Buckhalter is expected to be back at practice for the Broncos this week, while Moreno has smoothly recovered and is on track to be ready at least by the seasons' start. With a year under his belt, Knowshon Moreno looks to amass his first 1,000 rushing yards as a Bronco, with able Correll again seeing playing time like last season, but not to the same extent. In week one of 2010, Buckhalter was the starter, and as the season went on he become a relief back for Moreno. This season don't expect Buckhalter to see the field as often, as Moreno will be running hard and often, yet not right into the ground. With new capable 3rd down backs, the Broncos short yardage down woes of 2009 shouldn't flow over into 2o10, giving the Broncos more options on 2nd and short.

The Broncos will be asking a lot of Moreno and company this season, and Moreno is poised to deliver. Statistics show Moreno's greatest success in 2009 came when he rushed behind a fullback, and this season fullback Spencer Larsen will be seeing more than double the time he did in 2009.

Offensive line - The Broncos offensive line has been totally revamped from the 2009 unit. After a slew of injuries to the starters, the offensive line has consisted of D'Anthony Batiste at LT, Zane Beadles at LG, J.D. Walton at Center, Stanley Daniels at RG, and Ryan Harris at LT. Obviously, the Broncos are hoping that is not the unit that takes the field on September 12th in the teams first game, but the chances of the starting line-up looking similar to the take of the O-line listed above are prominent. The Broncos are hoping Ryan Clady will return soon, and Chris Kuper is expected to able to return soon, at any rate two rookies will have to start on the line for the Broncos this season. The notion of two rookies starting on the O-line has raised concern, and for good reason. Several times during the Invesco Field @ Mile work out the Broncos held just over a week ago, Kyle Orton was sacked (the defensive linemen are not allowed to literally tackle the quarterback as that risks injury, they can however get to him and touch him, simulating a sack). Whether or not the Broncos have a great pass rush or the offensive line was struggling can be debated, it should be noted however that Elvis Dumervil wasn't practicing. Some of the sacks were coverage sacks (meaning the coverage by the secondary was so good Kyle Orton was forced to hold onto the ball longer than he wanted to), while others were the the result of the offensive line being flat out beat by the defensive line. To further cause for alarm, in the Broncos goal line drill the offense didn't score once. The defensive line got penetration, and the linebackers came up field to make tackles, embarrassing the offensive line. All this is not to say all hope is lost, as the line did show some flashes of brilliance, double teaming well and springing running backs into open holes in practice, as well as providing good time for Orton at times.

Entering 2010, the Broncos position of most concern was undoubtedly the offensive line, and the success of the offensive will wholly depend upon the production of the boys in the trenches. Depending on how soon Ryan Clady can return, the Broncos pass protection may suffer early on this fall, as well as the rushing attack. When Clady is able to return, the line should be pretty steady, paving the way for the offense to put points on the board. Even without Clady, the starting line looked superb last night, in the passing game anyway. The Broncos had No rushing attack, but that can't all be thrown on the line, what's-his-name-Ball was the starting running back . . . (I do know his name is Lance, and have respect for him, hopefully he'll make the practice squad).

Defensive line - Last season one of the weak points on the team was the front three in Denver's 3-4, most notably the nose tackle. Addressing that, the Broncos went out and signed three defensive linemen in free agency, including All Pro Nose Tackle Jamal Williams, formerly of the San Diego Chargers. Currently the Broncos starting front 3 consists of; Ryan McBean, Williams, and another free agent signee, Justin Bannan. While those players will be the key guys, the Broncos will keep the front three fresh, "There's going to be a lot of defensive linemen playing this year for us," Said Head Coach Josh McDaniels. "[It doesn't] matter who starts the game, keeping guys fresh will be key for us."

At the start of training camp, Williams was absent due to injury, and Ronald Fields filled in with Marcus Thomas getting some nose reps as well. From what I saw of Thomas, I'm a little surprised he is still on the team. Fields was better, but certainly not a dominating force. A few days into camp Jamal Williams returned to practice, and played with the first team defense. The difference a nose tackle like Williams made was easily visible. The front three created penetration and was suburb against the run, keeping the offensive line in check and freeing up the linebackers to make plays in the backfield.

There is a concern about the age of the Broncos defensive line, but I'd advise brushing off that concern, as the Broncos have had great production from "old" defensive linemen in the past, and look to do so again. I like to replace the word"old" with "experienced" when it comes to the Broncos defense, heck, as long as the big boys are creating a push I don't care if it's 52-year-old Brett Favre out there.

The Broncos will have a lot of role players on the line, with many players subbing in and out for different situations, the likes of Jarvis Green and Chris Baker may see some consierable playing time, as well as a few others. The Broncos new Defensive Cordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale, likes to mix things up, and specializes in linebacker blitzes, don't be surprised to see the Broncos switch to 4-3 and 5-2 defensive alignments throughout games, like they did last season.

With Jamal Williams anchoring the line, the Broncos defense, specifically their run defense, will build off 2009's campaign. With much more depth in the trenches than they had last season, the Broncos defensive line figures to be a dominating force in 2010.

Linebackers - When Elvis Dumervil went down with an injury I heard many remark; "There goes our season." While the defense will assuredly miss Doom's contributions, the season is far from lost. The Broncos have a lot of guys behind Dumervil who are waiting to prove themselves, meanwhile, Dumervil is expected to be back before season's end.

In Elvis' absence, second year outside linebacker Robert Ayers and Jarivs Moss will be thrust into the Broncos pass rush spotlight. During Training Camp, Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers complimented each other on the edges. While the line focused on Dumervil, Ayers broke through and reached the quarterbacks on many occasions. Ayers has missed the attention Dumervil had been getting, but has been working well with Jarvis Moss and Mario Haggan. Both Moss and Ayers have had great camps, and should provide a good pass rush for the Broncos this season. Much like the defensive line, the Broncos outside linebackers will be rotating throughout games. To date, the starters on the outside are Ayers and Haggan, with D.J. Williams and Akin Ayodele playing on the inside. Versitile Wesley Woodyard is capable of playing both OLB and MLB, and will contribute as well.

The Broncos pass rush won't be the same without Dumervil, however, it will still be present. Robert Ayers applied some pressure last night, and Mario Haggan, as expected, was the team's leader.

The diversity of youth mixed with experience in the Broncos linebacking corps this season will lead to energy, aggressiveness, and big plays.

Secondary - Entering 2010, the Broncos have a secondary that has been called the Broncos deepest defensive backfield ever. From veteran starting cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Andre' Goodman, to promising corner Perrish Cox, the Broncos conerbacks comprise one of the deepest groups in the teams history. Behind Champ and Andre', Cox is joined by free agent signee Nate Jones, who started the past two seasons in Miami. The depth continues, at saftey the Broncos have Brian Dawkins as the Free Saftey, and Renaldo Hill as the Full Saftey. Behind them, solphmore safties Darcel McBath and David Bruton await their time to shine. I've been very impressed with McBath, after a solid rookie season Darcel has continued to improve in training camp. In Denver's Nickle package, Brian Dawkins has been playing in a linebacker-like role and McBath has been the Free saftey.

The Broncos secondary is probably the one area the team has no issues to address. Countless-time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey had a great Training Camp, and continues to be one of the best in the league. Across from Bailey, Goodman has quietly emerged as one of the best #2 cornerbacks, with big play potential. Backing up the Champ is Cox, who has impresed even Bailey, "If me or Goodman go down with an injury, he [Cox] could see some playing time - if not before," Baily said of Perrish Cox. The last line of defense--the safties--are two underrated players with ball hawking skills. Renaldo Hill displayed his versitilaty last season, recording two sacks complimented by his two interceptions. Continuing the Broncos long history of hard hitting safeties, Brian Dawkins has made his mark with the Broncos. Last season Dawkins terrorized offenses, and has shown no sign of slowing down.

This season the Broncos secondary will be one of the main factors to Denver's success on defense. As long as Champ plays like he did against the Bengals, and Brian Dawkins can stay healthy, the secondary looks to be in good shape.

Special Teams - Last season Matt Prater and Eddie Royal were the key players on special teams. On kickoffs, Prater led the NFL in touchbacks, while going 30-35 on field goal attempts. Like Prater, Royal was absolutely phenomenal. His average punt return distance was 11.2 yards, and his average kickoff return distance was 23.9 yards. This year Eddie won't be seeing as much time on special teams, as he'll be focusing more on receiver. In his place, rookie Perrish Cox will be playing sooner rather than later. In training camp, Cox showed great speed and vision, two attributions a returner must have. With a combination of Cox and Royal, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Broncos run back a few kicks for scores this fall.

The Broncos kick coverage wasn't as good as its kick return team, but the Broncos have addressed that signing and drafting a few special teamers, Joe Mays, Nate Jones and Baraka Atkins among them. Special teams is a big part of the game that goes unnoticed, and this season the Broncos will have to improve their 'teams if they want to contend for the AFC West.

Conclusion, predictions - The Broncos enter the season boosted with more offensive weapons, and equipped with more depth and bulk on defense. In the wake of injuries, a few unknown players will be called upon to perform, and I believe they are up to the challange. Injuries were a factor last night, and may be this season. The Broncos defense looks like the biggest concern at the moment, but I'm confident they'll look much better when Dawkins returns. Things could get ugly mid-season with a brutal four game stretch against the Colts, Titans, Ravens, and then Jets, but the Broncos finish the season with a relatively easy schedule. I think it's realistic to anticipate 9-to-10 wins from the Broncos this season, with less being a bit of a disappointment and more being a pleasant surprise. The season is upon us!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Broncos prepare to face Bengals

The Broncos have been preparing for Sunday's preseason opener at Cincinnati, watching film of the Bengals and having the defense imitate the Bengals starting defense.

The Broncos starters will see a very limited role in the game, playing the first series and perhaps a little more. As the pre-season goes on, the starters will begin seeing more and more playing time.

Pre-season games don't count for anything, but a win is always nice. The games also give a chance to the younger players to adjust to the pro level, and earn their roster spots.

No matter the out come of the game, all highlights afterward will no doubt be steered toward rookie quarterback Tim Tebow, who will be playing in his first pro football game. As expected, Tebow is pretty excited. "I'm a pretty amped-up person and get hyped pretty easily, so I've always had to really try to stay calm before the storm and not get overhyped or too excited," Tebow said. "Most people listen to some type of music to get them going. I honestly listen to either soft country, Frank Sinatra, Christian, (Christian artist) Chris Tomlin, something like that. Usually calm music, just to try to relax. It's hard for me, but I try."

We'll have full coverage of the game, with updates throughout the game on our facebook and twitter pages, be sure to check back on Sunday! The game starts at 7:00 pm (ET).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Around the web: Fargas excited to be a Bronco

Recently acquired free agent running back Justin Fargas is excited to get another shot in the NFL with the Bronco. "The Broncos have always been a team I've respected, and now that I'm apart of the team it feels good," said Fargas. "I've always had admiration for this organization, the way they conduct themselves, the way they treat their players, [they are] first class - I'm glad to be a part of it." Talking that way about his former rival gives an impression that perhaps Fargas wasn't treated very well in Oakland, staying professional, Fargas didn't go there, "There's no animosity [towards the Raiders], but obviously I wanna go beat 'em."

On Thursday the Broncos announced the signing of free agent linebacker Johnny Williams. Williams, a former college free agent from Kentucky, signed with the Jaguars in 2009. After being cut by the Jags, Williams went on to join the Steelers - where he remained on the practice squad up until he was recently released. During his collegiate career, the 6-foot-2, 246-pound linebacker played with current Denver Bronco Wesley Woodyard, while piling up 131 tackles in 49 career games. Mr. Williams will compete for a spot on special teams.

Four former Denver Broncos are interns for coach Mike Shanahan at the Redskins' training camp this summer, among them are former running backs Michael Pittman and Terrell Davis. Davis and Pittman have been working with former Broncos running backs coach Bobby Turner, now a Redskins assistant. Shanahan is giving the former greats a crack at coaching, while giving the young Redskins a chance to learn from some of the best to play the game.

Below is the Broncos first released depth chart for the 2010 season. For the defensive depth chart click here.

POS First Second Third Other
WR1 Brandon Lloyd Demaryius Thomas Alric Arnett Patrick Carter
LT Ryan Clady Tyler Polumbus Zane Beadles
LG Zane Beadles Seth Olsen Eric Olsen
C J.D. Walton Russ Hochstein Dustin Fry
RG Chris Kuper D'Anthony Batiste Stanley Daniels
RT Ryan Harris Kirk Barton Paul Duncan
TE Daniel Graham Richard Quinn Marquez Branson Riar Geer
Nathan Overbay
WR2 Eddie Royal Brandon Stokley
WR3 Jabar Gaffney Matthew Willis Eric Decker Britt Davis
QB Kyle Orton Brady Quinn Tim Tebow
FB Spencer Larsen
RB Knowshon Moreno Correll Buckhalter LenDale White Justin Fargas

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two steps forward, three steps back: Bronco injuries amounting

A day after linebacker D.J. Williams returned to practice, Bronco fans were greeted with more good news at the linebacker position. Mike Kils of the Denver Post said in a recent article, based on nearly everything he's been hearing, Elvis Dumervil is expected back this season. Kils went on to say, "Barring a setback in his rehab, expect Dumervil to return and play in 2010."

With the news comes more bad news,
as linebacker Robert Ayers and tight end Marquez Branson both left today's practice session, just before Jabar Gaffney joined them in the training room. Fortunately, Ayers and Gaffney's injuries do not seem to be serious, ”I’m OK,” Ayers told the Denver Post. “‘I just got checked out. I’m fine.” Unlike Ayers, Branson doesn't look to be in good shape. Branson was taken off the field in a cart, and had to be helped down off the cart after not be able to put any weight on his right leg. Receiver Jabar Gaffney has an unspecified injury, and the severity of said injury is still unknown.

The three newly injured players join Chris Kuper (ankle), Eric Decker (ankle), Demaryius Thomas (foot), Elvis Dumervil (pectoral muscle) and Jarvis Moss (hand) as the most recent victims of what seems to be an injury curse hovering over Dove Valley.

The Broncos are hoping the players quickly recover and are ready to go on Sunday when the team plays their first preseason game against the Bengals. Photos used in this post were used courtesy of the Associated Press.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Team report: August 10th

With their first pre-season game just five days away, the Denver Broncos finally got some positive injury-related news.
  • Linebacker D.J. Williams was back with the team Tuesday after missing the majority of camp for an undisclosed reason. He practiced in a limited role. Fullback Spencer Larsen also took the field, as did defensive lineman Chris Baker and offensive lineman Dustin Fry, who all had missed time with injuries.
  • Receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas missed practice, and their statuses are day-to-day. "I know they are eager [to return]," Head Coach McDaniels said. "Hopeful that he'll be out there soon. But we'll see how long that is."
  • Former Oakland Raiders running back Justin Fargas is scheduled to take a physical with the Broncos, and he will sign with the team if he passes, according to a league source. The Broncos know Fargas all too well, in seven seasons with the Raiders, Fargas rushed for nearly 450 yards against the Broncos alone.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Broncos' Invesco Field practice session a success

Rookies get new hairdos, Tebow electrifies 20,000 fans at Invesco Field practice

Rookie hazing at it's best - bold hair styles. The Broncos veterans got a big kick out of enhancing the rookies' appearance on Friday, cutting the rookies hair at uneven lengths. Crazy hair cuts has become a Training Camp tradition, and not even Tim Tebow could escape the fandimoniam. The fans that cathered at Invesco Field got a good laugh out of the new dos, meanwhile, Tebow got more cheers than the whole team. From entering the field to throwing a perfect touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, chants for Tebow kept on coming. The rookie Quarterback was on fire, throwing for multiple touchdowns, and rushing for another. The other QB's, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, both got more snaps under center, playing conservatively, and neither threw any interceptions, however, neither of them received the reception or approval from the fans that Tebow did.

The injuries keep on coming
The Broncos have already lost running backs Knowshon Moreno (hamstring), Correll Buckhalter (back), LenDale White (undisclosed); linebacker D.J. Williams (undisclosed); center Dustin Fry (undisclosed); guard Chris Kuper (ankle); nose tackle Chris Baker (undisclosed); and outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil (pectoral muscle) and Jarvis Moss (hand) to injuries. Saturday night, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas were added to the injured players list. Decker was seen on the sideline with athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos, Decker's shoes and socks were
removed and he was taken to the locker room. Shortly thereafter, fellow Wide Receiver Thomas came limping off the field after landing awkwardly on his ankle. After having his ankle looked over on the sideline, Thomas left the practice field, as well.

The evening practice was the most fun I've had in a long time, but as I decided to enjoy the scrimmage over jotting down notes, I don't have much to report. However, you can check out some photos from today's practice at Invesco Field on our facebook page!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Broncos conclude practices till Invesco scrimmage

It was a fun evening practice Friday at Dove Valley. The Broncos went easy, choosing to go no contact in shorts, shoulder pads, and helmets.

The Broncos were pleased to have Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey and Brandon Stokley back on the field for the evening practice session. To start off practice, the team walked through some plays, and did some ball control drills.

After some 7-on-7 scrimmaging, just before the scheduled end of practice, a funny noise was heard in the distance. An Ice Cream truck then came into view, drove onto the field and Head Coach Josh McDaniel's yelled: "Ice Cream!" The team errupted in cheers and ran to mob the truck. The players were soon joined by most of the kids in attendance watching practice, as the Broncos allowed the youngsters to duck under the rope to get some treats of their own.

The Broncos have cancelled their morning practice for tomorrow, but will be back to work tomorrow night at Invesco Field! Admission to the event is free, check DenverBroncos.com for more details. We'll have coverage of tomorrow's scrimmage so be sure to check back!

Practice report: Firday, Aug 6th a.m. session

The Denver Broncos just can't get a break.

Today Jarvis Moss left practice with a broken hand and is expected to miss two weeks. The Broncos former first round pick of 2007, Moss, was expected to be one of the replacements for Elvis Dumervil who went down Wednesday with an injury. Joining Moss, starting right guard Chris Kuper left with an injury, newly signed running back LenDale White also left practice early. There is no word yet on the severity of Kupers' and White's injuries.

NFL Network crew shows up for practice
An NFL Films crew came to the Broncos morning practice, setting up at the 50 yard-line to record practice. Today's session was clearly different than previous practices, as the Broncos catered to NFLN. Over the past few practices the Broncos have scrimmaged from the 25-yard lines, today though, most of the scrimmaging was done at the fifty yard line. Rookie quarterback Tim Tebow also received many more snaps than usual, and for the first time, even more plays under center than Brady Quinn. Maybe it was coincidence, but my theory is Josh McDaniels finds pleasure in stirring things up. The Head Coach is also very sneaky, yesterday the team came out early before fans arrived and even the field staff was told to leave, as the Broncos were working on something "secret." In previous practices, fans could hear Kyle Orton calling plays at the line, pointing out linebackers, and performing audibles. There was no hearing the plays today though, as the music was blasted extra loud, and at one point Josh McDaniels motioned raising his arms to a staffer to raise the volume. NFL Network certainly had an effect on the Broncos practice Friday, and will have much to dissect, although their analysis will probably be a mile off.

A little trickery
Even with NFL Films on hand, the Broncos practiced a few trick plays, including fake punts and field goals. Due to the extremely slim chance another team may see this report, I won't go into details on the formations and plays. Like yesterday, the Broncos again practiced a flea flicker today, with Quinn receiving the pitch back and throwing deep to WR Eddie Royal. The throw was drastically under thrown, and Royal broke up an interception from Sdy'Quan Thompson. The Broncos also showed some new formations on offense, among them a split back formation with Spencer Larsen and Lance Ball both in the backfield.

Tim Tebow reverts to bad throwing motion under pressure
When the Broncos' QB's starting warming up throwing to coaches at the beginning of practice, Tim Tebow looked great. His spiral was tight, and his motion looked much improved, raising his elbow higher and holding the football near his ear. Unfortunately, when thrown into the fire, Tebow went back to his old throwing ways. During offensive vs defensive scrimmages,Tebow's elbow began to lower with each pass, causing his throws to fall short and behind the receivers. Following this, Josh McDaniels pulled Tebow aside, giving him some tips. The next play Tebow's technique was vastly improved, the pass didn't have a great spin, but the ball got to the receiver, and Tebow's throwing motion looked better. McDaniels approved, "That's much better." Overall Tebow, along with all the team, had a sloppy practice. As practice went on, Tebow continued to struggle. His release was slow, and like yesterday, he took too long to make decisions. Towards the end of his turn of repetitions, Tebow saw Eddie Royal wide open over the middle running a post, perhaps excited, Tebow overthrew Royal by a few yards. There's still plenty of time for Tebow to improve under Josh and Ben McDaniels' coaching. Only Kyle Orton has received more time one-on-one time with McDaniels than Tebow, as McDaniels has made him his personal project. While he had a poor practice this morning, Tebow has had a pretty good week, and looks to improve during the evening practice today.

Wesley Woodyard, Robert Ayers, Mario Haggan shutting down the running backs
With D.J. Williams missing the past few practices, Mario Haggan has stepped into the linebacker spot light. Unofficially the new leader, Mario's actions speak louder than his words. The veteran has been making plays in 7-on-7, breaking up passes, stopping running backs in the backfield, and motivating the whole linebacking corps. Motivated by Haggan, Wesley Woodyard, and Ayers, run support seems to have improved from last season. New face Joe Mays has also aided the defense - particularly in run defense - taking great angles to prevent backs from catching the corner (meaning cutting off running backs before they can break outside into daylight down the sideline). Nose Tackle Jamal Williams is also a key part of the Broncos run defense, his big body slows down the offensive line, preventing them from getting to the linebackers, and enabling the linebackers to get through the line to stop runs before they reach the secondary.

The Broncos have nice depth at wide receiver
Behind Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, and Brandon Lloyd, the Broncos have many targets that may contribute this season. Rookie Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are joined by vet Brandon Stokley and rising training camp star Matthew Willis. All seven of the wide outs have improved each day, but Thomas's hands have become a big concern to me. A first rounder shouldn't be the one dropping the most balls of the top receivers, yet that is the case with Thomas. Youngsters Eric Decker and Eddie Royal have impressed me the most, running great routes and catching nearly everything. I don't mean to take away from Thomas, he has great ability and should make some huge plays for the Broncos this season, like he has in camp. When the first team offense was scrimmaging the second team defense, Thomas caught back-to-back skinny post routes, one of them going for a score after he left safety David Bruton gasping for air in his dust. Standing 6 foot, 3 inches Demaryius also has the height factor going for him, leaping over Alphonso Smith to catch a pass from Brady Quinn before running it in for a score during 7-on-7 drills. If he can get his hands to be consistent, Thomas could be a great one. Meanwhile there's a fierce competition between receivers Matt Willis and Brandon Stokley, the young Willis's camp performance may cause Stokley to loose his job before the start of the regular season.

LenDale White, Lance Ball Broncos' current front runners at running back
While the Broncos await for Moreo and Buckhalter to recovery from injuries, a number of backs have been getting a lot of carries. Until today, Bruce Hall had been getting the most carries, with Lance Ball (in my opinion), showing the best results from carries. Today was different, Hall fumbled, something McDaniels does not tolerate. Last season against the Redskins, Correll Buckhalter bounced a run to the outside, gained fourteen yards and then fumbled the football - he was taken out and returned only for a few plays throughout the game. In week one of last year, Peyton Hillis fumbled a kick return, he went on to start zero games in 2009 and was traded this off-season. A few practices ago, Kolby Smith fumbled, and was released the next day. Neadless to say, the fumbles were not the only causes for McDaniels harsh decisions, other occurrences happened leading up to the players' mentioned above being removed from the starting line-up. Bruce Hall ran a lap after his fumble in practice, and awaits to see if his fate is similar to those who were in his same situation. With Hall not getting as many carries as usual, Lance Ball received the most. Undrafted rookie Tony Baker also received more carries, like Ball, he had his highs, which in both cases weren't really anything fancy. Former Titan LenDale White stole the show. With the offensive line opening up great rushing lanes, White displayed surprising speed bursting through the holes igniting cheers from the fans in attendance. Adding to his style, White ran with power, embarrassing the defense at times by running right over them. The Broncos rushing attack isn't pretty without Moreno or Bucky, but the backs filling in are putting on a decent show featuring competition.

The Broncos have an evening practice tonight, stick around for a report on that session along with video highlights of today's practices. You can view photos from the Broncos Training Camp on our facebook page!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Practice report: Thursday, Aug 5th p.m. session

Thursday was an event filled practice for the Broncos, exciting both players and the fans.

After team stretches and some warm ups, the team huddled at mid-field. When Head Coach Josh McDaniels was done talking, hoops and hollering erupted from the veterans and the whole team ran over to the west endzone of the south football field. It soon became apparent what had made the veterans so hyper.

Before practice a few field staff and coaches were spraying a section behind the endzone with water and driving over the wet grass with an ATV, creating a mud puddle. Continuing a tradition started by McDaniels last year, the rookies run and dive into the mud pit (diving in with a football) while being sprayed with a hose. It was a fun time for the Broncos, letting loose and getting away from the stresses of Training Camp, if just for five minuets.

Shortly thereafter, Ring of Fame former Bronco receiver Rod Smith was spotted talking with Broncos' owner Pat Bowlen. Both Bowlen and Smith watched some of practice, Demaryius Thomas got a few tips from Smith after practice had ended.

The Broncos pass rush takes a tremendous blow
The Broncos learned this morning that Pro Bowl outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil could miss up to four months, if not the whole season, after suffering a torn pectoral in yesterdays practice. The news comes as a tough blow to the Broncos, as the NFL's reigning sack king was a vital part of the Broncos defense. Head Coach Josh McDaniels said one player could never replace Dumervil, but as a whole the defense will have to step up. Two linebackers that are trying to keep their careers from becoming busts, Jarvis Moss and Robert Ayers, will undoubtedly get more playing time this season now that Dumervil will be out. While those two Broncos are saddened for Dumervil, both are excited for the opportunity to step up. Both Ayers and Moss, particularly Moss, have been working hard this offseason and have impressed the coaches. Today Moss created a good pass rush, forcing Orton to throw the ball away more than once. The Broncos have no timetable for Dumervil, right now they are planning on him missing the
whole season. The defense will have a hard time replacing him.

Joining Dumervil on the injured list, receiver Kenny McKinley and safety Josh Barrett were placed on injured reserve. Nose Tackle Jamal Williams was a bright spot in injury news, he practiced for the first time today, after being sidelined with an injury. Wide receiver Patrick Honeycutt was waived today, clearing room for the Broncos to sign Britt Davis and Patrick Cater, both receivers.

Perrish Cox the front runner for punt/kick returning, praised by Champ Bailey
During a special teams session, Rookie Cornerback Perrish Cox was the main punt returner, followed by Eddie Royal. Since the start of practice, Cox has been praised for his return skills, having good speed and tricky moves combined with his vision, Cox is primed to become a great returner. Playing on special teams may not be Cox's only opportunity to play in 2010, beloved Bronco corner Champ Bailey spoke very highly of Cox as a cornerback, stating; "If me or Goody [fellow starting conerback Andre' Goodman] went down with an injury, he [Cox] could see time on the field - if not before."

Marquez Branson looks better and better, Richard Quinn stays mediocre
As far as blocking, Richard Quinn has had a good camp, as has starting Tight End Daniel Graham. However, Quinn's hands remain non-existent when it comes to catching. Numerous times throughout today's practice Quinn dropped easy passes from all three quarterbacks. Second year Tight End Marquez Branson is going in the opposite direction. Branson made several big catches, including one play where he found himself wide open in the back of the endzone for a score - burning safety Darcel McBath. His hands aren't the only thing going for him either, Josh McDaniels has stated umpteen times that versatility is key for players to have if they are going to see playing time, and versatility is just what Branson possesses. Moving from Tight End, Branson played a few snaps as fullback, giving the Broncos a great receiving threat out of the backfield.

Tim Tebow needs to make faster decisions
During 7-on-7 and offense vs defense drills, rookie quarterback Tim Tebow had his troubles. The former Gator hesitated for too long, (in a game he would have been sacked), and forced some throws when under pressure. Tebow didn't play very well under duress, he threw a few passes behind receivers while scrambling away from pressure, and threw an interception to Tony Carter after being forced to step up in the pocket. Being slow to react is common for rookies, as well as getting ansy in the pocket. Tebow has unbelievable potential, yet so much to learn. Amongst all his shortcomings as a passer, Tebow did manage to excite fans when in the shot gun (where he clearly performs the best). During a 3rd down situation drill, Kyle Orton played for three snaps, then Tebow went in for a play. Tebow lined up in the shot gun, took the snap and ran a designed QB draw. After Orton and Quinn ran a few more plays, Tebow went in again, and ran the same play. Later, when he again took command of the huddle, the play was a hand off. Whether the Broncos will use Tebow during the season like they did in practice remains to be seen.

Offensive line excels in rush blocking
Even without Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter, many of the plays the Broncos ran during offense vs defense where running plays. The offensive line made Bruce Hall and Lance Ball look good, two running backs not many had even heard of before training camp. Hall broke a few runs for big gains, while Ball remained the best of the rest. Newcomer LenDale White didn't receive as many carries as the others, but took advantage of the touches he got. After shaking a few tackles for a big gain, White went to the sideline where McDaniels told him to "Stay on that track, [and] you'll be just fine."

The passing offense
Of the quarterbacks Tebow struggled the most, while Quinn had his own troubles, throwing behind the recievers during 7-on-7 drills. Playing with complete control of the offense, Kyle Orton showed why he is the starter, as he was on target throughout practice. On his first pass during a game-like scrimmage, Orton hit Brandon Lloyd for a big gain. The next play, Orton couldn't find an open receiver and wisely threw the ball away (Champ Bailey intercepted the pass but it was unclear if he was in bounds and it didn't count). After a few running plays, Orton hit Daniel Graham for a few more yards, followed by another pass thrown out of bounds. The drive ended when Orton found Eddie in the endzone for a touchdown. Previously in 7-on-7's Orton threw several more touchdowns including one Brandon Lloyd caught mid air, and a diving touchdown pass to Royal.

Mario Haggan, secondary step up
Inside linebacker Mario Hagan has been a leader while D.J. Williams and Brian Dawkins miss practice. Haggan has been knocking the ball out of receivers hands and stopping running backs in their tracks all practice. The secondary has also been making plays from some unexpected players. As noted above, Tony Carter had a great interception, Alphonso Smith broke up a few passes, Champ Bailey broke up almost every pass thrown his way, and Darcel McBath broke up a few passes as well.

Matt Prater has a powerful right leg
The last drill of today's session was field goal kicking. Matt Prater nailed kicks through smaller than usual practice field goals from as far away as 40+ yards.

We'll have coverage again tomorrow when the Broncos take the field at Dove Valley! View more photos from training camp at our faceook page!