Day 11 Blog
August 10th, 2009 - 1:26pm by Zach Eisendrath
With the team’s first preseason game at San Francisco just days away, Head Coach Josh McDaniels made sure the club was put into plenty of game-type situations during Monday’s lone practice session.
McDaniels brought the team to INVESCO Field at Mile High for a two-hour, detail-oriented practice session, and from the onset it was evident that he wanted to iron out a number of game day tasks.
From the order in which players should run onto the field and where they should line up during pre-game stretches to coaches donning headsets on the sideline, every last aspect was covered during the morning session.
In addition, the team got plenty of work done during an array of 11-on-11 scenarios, but more on those later. Here are some quick hits from the day’s festivities.
ROLL CALL: After missing practice on Sunday, Wesley Woodyard returned to the field for Monday’s session. LaMont Jordan did not partcipate in Monday’s practice. Brian Dawkins and Brandon Marshall also did not practice.
# Ryan Harris walked off the field with trainers during 11-on-11s. For the remainder of practice, Brandon Gorin and Tyler Polumbus filled in at tackle.”He hasn’t seen any doctors or anything,” McDaniels said. “We’ll see how that goes once we see some medical people.”
POSITIONING: As the team simulated goal line sequences, the first unit defense featured a front seven of Elvis Dumervil, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean, Kenny Peterson, Mario Haggan, D.J. Williams and Andra Davis, with Champ Bailey and Andre’ Goodman at the cornerback spots and Renaldo Hill and David Bruton at safety. Depending on the package, subs included Jack Williams, Wesley Woodyard and Robert Ayers.
# The first team kickoff return unit had Vernon Fox, Haggan, Kory Lichtensteiger, Tim Crowder, Peterson, Woodyard, Darcel McBath, Darrell Reid, Spencer Larsen, Peyton Hillis and Alphonso Smith as the returner.
# For the kickoff coverage unit Brett Kern kicked off. The rest of the unit consisted of Smith, Fox, Larsen, Woodyard, Kenny McKinley, Josh Barrett, Reid, Haggan, Bruton and Williams.
DRILLS: Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer worked with the punt team on a few trick plays. On one occasion, Fox took a handoff and cut around the corner on a sweep. A few plays later, Britton Colquitt attempted to throw the ball downfield but was picked off by Larsen.
# Early into practice, offensive linemen and defensive linemen matched up in a one-on-one drill. Some of the featured matchups included Dumervil going up against Ryan Clady, Fields taking on Casey Wiegmann and McBean going against Chris Kuper. For the defensive linemen, the goal of the drill was to get past the lineman and make a play on the quarterback. When Peterson went straight at Ben Hamilton on his first attempt at the drill, defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely stiffly reminded Peterson that the point of the drill was to get to the quarterback. Peterson must have got the message, as he made his move toward the quarterback on his subsequent matchup with Hamilton, drawing praise from the coach for his efforts.
PLAYMAKERS: Andra Davis had an interception during 7-on-7s on a pass intended for Tony Scheffler.
# Kyle Orton found Jabar Gaffney tip-toeing the back of the end zone for a touchdown in a scene that is becoming a familiar sight during Broncos practices.
# During red zone drills, Orton showed his ability to lead the team down the field with time ticking away. Starting at the 27-yard line, Orton completed back-to-back passes to Brandon Stokley and Richard Quinn, placing the ball at the 11-yard line with time winding down in the fourth quarter. Orton threw incompletions on first and second down, but with 12 seconds remaining in regulation he proved clutch, finding Chad Jackson in the right corner of the end zone.
# In another red zone simulation, Orton showed his ability to scramble. On a 3rd-and-7 from the 13, Orton slid up in the pocket, buying time and finding Eddie Royal in the end zone for the score.
# It appears that Goodman feels right at home at INVESCO Field. After recording two interceptions in the club’s first practice at the team’s home stadium practice last week, Goodman displayed his ballhawk skills again on Monday. Here was the situation: fourth quarter, ball on the 10-yard line with one second remaining on the clock. On the make-or-break play for both units, Goodman came through for the defensive squad, intercepting a pass intended for Stokley.
# During a field goal drill, Matt Prater connected on 7-of-8 attempts. Prater’s lone miss was a 53-yard attempt. He showed his resiliency on the next play, however, as he lined up for the kick again, drilling it right between the uprights before concluding the session. He also kicked the ball through the uprights and all the way over the net and into the seats two times during the drill.
# During a punt coverage drill, Colquitt boomed the ball more than 60 yards downfield.
QUICK HITS: From the start of practice, it was clear that McDaniels was focused on having the team practice its game day routine. Moments into the session, McDaniels gathered the entire team in the corner of the end zone and organized the order in which the club would walk onto the field.
# A bit later, strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten explained to the players where they would lineup during pregame stretches, telling them to make sure they are five yards away from one another. Later, in between drills, the team even practiced sitting on the sideline.
# Meanwhile, the coaching staff got used to their game day responsibilities, too. During situational 11-on-11s, a number of coaches got used to calling plays from above, as they worked from the INVESCO Field boxes. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, tight ends coach Clancy Barone and coaching assistants Ben McDaniels and Jay Rodgers all worked from upstairs. Meanwhile, McDaniels and the rest of the coaching staff down on the field donned headsets during the situational drills.
# Of all those attempting to simulate game day situations the best, Joshua Bell certainly looked the part. During kickoff coverage situations, Bell could be seen gesturing to the crowd, attempting to pump up fans before rushing downfield to make a play (note: no fans were on hand at Monday morning’s closed practice).
# During the team’s wind sprints at the end of practice, Dumervil and Bailey grabbed Royal by the jersey so he couldn’t sprint ahead of the pack.
DAILY JUKEBOX: In another attempt to simulate the game-day atmosphere, music blasted through the speakers at INVESCO Field. Here are a few of the songs played during the morning session:
# Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”
# Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”
# Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done”
# Kanye West’s “Good Life”
# Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”
# Kenny Chesney’s “Summertime”
“Hitting the guys in the blue and orange is just not fun. We do it to get better, but Friday night against San Francisco I’m sure you’ll see some popping and a lot of things going.”
– Mario Haggan, on if he is ready to hit another team on Friday.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com