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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,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 12: A.M. Blog
August 11th, 2009 - 11:36am by Gray Caldwell

The team was back on the field at Dove Valley for the first time since an afternoon practice on Sunday.

Here are some quick hits from the approximately two-hour session.

ROLL CALL: Ryan Harris was at practice this morning after leaving yesterday’s morning session at INVESCO Field at Mile High early.
# Brandon Stokley, Brandon Marshall, Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, LaMont Jordan and Wesley Woodyard did not participate.

POSITIONING: With the depth chart released yesterday, most of the first-unit spots remained the same. However, with first-teamers Bailey, Dawkins and Stokley not practicing, a few more players got a chance to enter the rotation.
# In Dawkins’ safety position, David Bruton continued to get reps, but Darcel McBath rotated in as well. At Bailey’s cornerback spot, Jack Williams and Alphonso Smith rotated duties. In Stokley’s place at receiver, a multitude of players stepped in, including Brandon Lloyd, Nate Swift, Matthew Willis and C.J. Jones.

DRILLS: Daniel Graham continued to impress in one-on-one drills involving linebackers and tight ends. With Head Coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders watching, Graham didn’t let anyone past him, drawing praise from tight ends coach Clancy Barone.
# In the same drill and a few linebacker drills afterwards, Tim Crowder continued to get past his blockers, much to the delight of linebackers coach Don Martindale.
# In another drill, three offensive linemen worked against a nose tackle and two linebackers. For example, Fields, D.J. Williams and Andra Davis lined up opposite Casey Wiegmann, Chris Kuper and Ben Hamilton. The purpose of the drill was to have the nose tackle take up two blockers so the linebackers were freed up to find the ball-carrier and make the tackle.

# Smith, Kenny McKinley and Knowshon Moreno handled the kickoff return duties during practice.

PLAYMAKERS: Two players shined on coverage during kickoff return drills. First, Joshua Bell burst past his blockers for the wrap-up on Smith during the kickoff. A few plays later, Bruton showed his knack for making plays on special teams by sprinting past his blockers for the stop. “Way to get there!” coaching assistant Keith Burns shouted.
# Andra Davis flashed some end-to-end speed on one play during practice. Tony Scheffler caught a quick pass out of the backfield and began sprinting to turn the corner. Davis, however, sprinted with him straight to the sideline and forced the play out of bounds.
# Kyle Orton completed virtually every short pass during an 11-on-11 drill, then went long on a pass to Eddie Royal that was just out of the receiver’s reach. The two connected again a little later in practice when Royal leaped up to grab a pass in traffic.
# Later in the session, the team worked on quick screen passes — a few times to Correll Buckhlater and a bubble screens to Royal. On one attempt, Royal caught the pass, followed his blockers and sprinted upfield toward the end zone. Meanwhile, Josh Barrett sprinted right alongside his fellow second-year player, catching him near the sideline even after the play was over. The effort on both ends earned pats on the helmets from teammates.
# Mario Haggan, a first-unit outside linebacker after the release of yesterday’s depth chart, showed why coaches might have been impressed with him so far this offseason. He streaked into the backfield on a running play, wrapping up Peyton Hillis and causing a fumble that drew cheers from his defensive brethren.

# McKinley soared up and over Rashod Moulton to grab a pass that looked like it might be over his head. But the 6-foot rookie reached up and hauled it in.

QUICK HITS: Three rookies sported some interesting hairstyles this morning, most likely styled by their veteran teammates. Tom Brandstater had hair on the sides and back of his head, but a nice bald circle was shaved on top. Blake Schlueter’s head featured some randomly placed bald spots — an apparent case of clippers gone wild. Britton Colquitt’s hairdo remained a bit of a mystery throughout practice, as he wore his helmet throughout the entire session, even on the sideline watching drills. For a brief moment, Lonie Paxton took off the rookie’s helmet and rubbed his head, but the helmet went back on immediately. He later showed his hairstyle after practice however, which you’ll be able to see in a Broncos TV piece a little later today.

# A few players donned red “penny” jerseys to represent players from the team’s upcoming opponent. Jerseys such as No. 52 — Patrick Willis — No. 21 — Frank Gore — and No. 85 — Vernon Davis — popped up on the scout team.

# Rulon Davis’ helmet came flying off as he ran through a drill and attacked a tackling dummy.

DAILY JUKEBOX: It’s becoming apparent that Smith is a big fan of The Gap Band. After dancing to “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” earlier in training camp, he broke out some moves for today’s Gap Band selection, “Outstanding.”

Here are the rest of the selections from today’s playlist:
# T.I. (feat. Usher) - “My Life, Your Entertainment”
# Elvis Presley - “Jailhouse Rock”
# Chuck Berry - “Johnny B. Goode”
# Young Jeezy - “Bottom of the Map” (This choice brought shouts of approval from the defense, and some dancing from Reid, Andra Davis and Ayers)

“Um, I’ve looked better.”
-Britton Colquitt, on seeing his new haircut in the mirror.

The team will be back on the field this evening at 5:30 p.m. MDT.

-Gray Caldwell,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 12: P.M. Blog
August 11th, 2009 - 8:24pm by Gray Caldwell

This was a practice dominated by the defense. Whether it was in one-on-one drills or 11-on-11 scrimmages, there seemed to constantly be a defender making a play.

That’s not to say the offense didn’t have its moments — but Tuesday evening’s practice belonged to the defense.

Here are some quick hits from the session.

ROLL CALL: A number of veterans who missed this morning’s practice were back on the field for the evening session. Brandon Stokley, Champ Bailey, Jabar Gaffney and Wesley Woodyard were all back at practice.
# A few veterans who didn’t participate in the session were LaMont Jordan, Ryan Torain, Brian Dawkins, Brandon Marshall, Casey Wiegmann, Eddie Royal and Daniel Graham.

POSITIONING: The base defense remained fairly true to the depth chart, which was released yesterday. But Robert Ayers was among the players not listed as starters who saw some time with the first unit defense this evening, along with Wesley Woodyard, Darrell Reid, Darcel McBath, Alphonso Smith and Jack Williams in various packages.

DRILLS: The defensive line and outside linebackers showed up today in one-on-ones against the offensive line. First it was Carlton Powell who got a “good push,” according to defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely. Then Rulon Davis put on a quick move and immediately got past his blocker to the quarterback, receiving high-fives from assistant linebackers coach Roman Phifer, Ryan McBean and Robert Ayers. Then it was Darrell Reid’s turn, and he again put on a quick move to blow past his blocker. Ayers was up next, and did the same thing, getting to the inside of his blocker and straight to the quarterback.
# The offensive line wasn’t totally outdone, however. Ryan Clady stood strong against a variety of rushers, and Ben Hamilton did the same, keeping his feet in front of the linemen and linebackers.
# There were several special teams drills today, including one that had Josh Barrett, David Bruton, Kenny McKinley and Jack Williams practice getting away from a blocker and making the tackle on a dummy. Another was for punters and gunners, as the team worked on downing punts inside the 10-yard line. McKinley ran down one punt and batted it away from the end zone before it could be called a touchback, and it was downed inside the five. Bruton ran down another punt, catching it at the two.

PLAYMAKERS: Before practice, Jarvis Moss worked with Nunnely one-on-one, focusing on how to use his hands to fight off blockers. Apparently the tutoring was a success, because Moss was all over the place during practice. During one-on-one drills with the offensive line, Moss thought he had a sack, but Nunnely said he went too far past the quarterback, who would’ve simply stepped up in the pocket and thrown the ball. So on the next rep, Moss ripped past his blocker and got to the quarterback, drawing a “There you go! Good!” from Nunnely.

But Moss wasn’t done. In 11-on-11s, Moss sprinted into the backfield and wrapped up Darius Walker for a loss, bringing loud encouragement from the defense on the sideline. Finally, with the offense and defense practicing the two-minute drill, Moss blitzed and notched a sack on Kyle Orton.
# Brandon Lloyd had several catches this evening that drew double takes from the sideline. One one play he leaped to catch a pass from Chris Simms, leaning backwards over the defender with his arms all the way outstretched to haul it in. Later in practice he streaked down the field and caught a long bomb from Orton, running past the attempted tackle of a diving defender and sprinting into the end zone as the crowd cheered.
# Knowshon Moreno had an impressive play with the ball in his hand when he broke through to the second wave of defenders, turned on the jets and was gone all the way to the end zone. He had another impressive play without the ball. In a scenario set up by Head Coach Josh McDaniels, the offense had the ball on the two-yard line with three seconds to go in the game, down five points. After a false start on the offense moved the unit back five yards, Orton dropped back, bought some time and fired the ball to Brandon Stokley for the score. Stokley spiked the ball, then Moreno came sprinting up behind him and leap-frogged all the way over the 6-foot receiver before turning around and giving him a big pat on the helmet.
# During the two-minute drill, Josh Barrett came sprinting into the backfield on a blitz right into Orton’s face, notching the hypothetical sack and loud cheers from the defense on the sideline.

QUICK HITS: It was a hot practice at the start of the session before the sun fell behind some clouds. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan stepped outside in a sweatshirt, only to turn around and go back inside to change, joking, “Man, perfect day for a sweatshirt.”
# A few more rookies sported some new haircuts this afternoon, courtesy of their veteran teammates. McKinley, Nate Swift, Moreno, Smith and Seth Olsen were some of the victims. Meanwhile, Britton Colquitt — who sported a new ‘do this morning — came out to practice with a shaved head.

DAILY JUKEBOX: Just a few songs played this evening, and one was a repeat from this morning. Young Jeezy’s “Bottom of the Map” still drew the same excited reaction from some of the defensive players, though. Here is the rest of the playlist.
# Bruce Springsteen - “Badlands”
# Jay-Z - “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)”
# MGMT - “Electric Feel”

The team will be back on the field at 1 p.m. MDT tomorrow for an approximately two-hour session.

-Gray Caldwell,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 17 Blog
August 16th, 2009 - 6:09pm by Kyle Sonneman

The team returned to the practice field on Sunday for the first time since Friday’s 17-16 loss in San Francisco. Players sported shells but no pads and the practice was more of a walkthrough, although several drills were done at full speed.

ROLL CALL: Sunday also marked the return of Brian Dawkins and Brandon Marshall. Dawkins returned to the field wearing an orange jersey and a wrap on his right hand.

“I’m used to it,” the safety said of the wrap. “I’ve done it before in my career. I’ve had to play with it for a wrist way back in the day. So I’m pretty used to it.”

Marshall saw extensive action at wide receiver, making several catches that fans have become accustomed to seeing.

# The only players not practicing today were running backs Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno along with Pat Murray.

POSITIONING: The team started the day by working on red-zone nickel defense. The unit consisted of Robert Ayers, Champ Bailey, Darrell Reid, Dawkins, Renaldo Hill, Andre’ Goodman, Elvis Dumervil, Wesley Woodyard, D.J. Williams, Kenny Peterson and Jack Williams.
# The team worked through an extensive kickoff and kickoff return session. The first unit on the kickoff team consisted of Woodyard, Alphonso Smith, Vernon Fox, David Bruton, Mario Haggan, Kenny McKinley, Josh Barrett, Spencer Larsen, Darrell Reid, Jack Williams and Matt Prater kicking. The return team included Barrett, Haggan, Bruton, Woodyard, Reid, Larsen, Darcel McBath, Kory Lichtensteiger, Kenny Peterson, Peyton Hillis and Smith as the returner.

DRILLS: Head Coach Josh McDaniels spent some time working with the wide receivers on short routes and setting up their blockers. Immediately after that drill, the receivers ran the routes they had worked on with McDaniels against the defense.
# The team worked extensively in red zone offense and defense. During one session, McDaniels had the defense re-do a play four times to ensure the coverage was where it was supposed to be.
# The team also worked through some situational drills, including 3rd-and-more-than-10 as well as 2nd-and-long for both the offense and defense.
# The final drill consisted of a goal post being wheeled out on the field. Instead of the normal 18-foot-6-inch width, this post is quite a bit narrower, forcing Prater to be extremely accurate with his attempts.

PLAYMAKERS: Smith continues to be around the ball. During an 11-on-11 drill, McBath tipped a pass that then ricocheted off Richard Quinn that Smith was able to catch on his knees.
# Marshall made several one-handed catches in traffic, including one where he stuck his arm up to stop the ball before corralling it.

QUICK HITS: On Marshall’s first play of 7-on-7s he lined up across from Champ Bailey. The two exchanged high-fives before the play.
# With Buckhalter and Moreno out, recently signed running back Marcus Thomas saw extensive action, as did Hillis, which meant Larsen jumped back and forth from defense to offense.

# Before an 11-on-11 session, Royal had the equipment staff make a quick repair to his cleats about 20 yards from the action. The team waited until he was finished, but Royal urged the team to go on, saying to the defense, “You just have to stop them before they get to me.”
# Dawkins was unable to bring in an interception, which drew some comments from his teammates including a, “Come on, Clubber!” in reference to his wrapped right hand. But despite the wrap, Dawkins did break up several passes with his left hand.

The safety later talked about the dropped pick, jokingly blaming it on the wrap. “Oh, absolutely — it was all the cast,” he laughed. “That’ll be something I get used to doing, and I’ll come up with those interceptions when the time comes.”

# After spending a few days with his rookie haircut, Tom Brandstater hit the field this afternoon with a clean shaved head rather than the bald on top look he sported last week and during the 49ers game.

DAILY JUKEBOX: Quite a bit of music played during today’s practice both during warmups and during 11-on-11 sessions. Here is a sampling of today’s songs to add to your Broncos mixtape:
# Young Jeezy - “Put On”
# Van Halen - “Standing on Top of the World”
# A Tribe Called Quest - “Scenario”
# The Sugarhill Gang - “Rapper’s Delight”
# Fabolous - “My Time”
# The Outfield - “Your Love”
# Outkast - “Hey Ya!”
# Beastie Boys - “So What’cha Want”
# Blur - “Song 2″
# Gorillaz - “Feel Good Inc.”
# Journey - “Don’t Stop Believing”

-Kyle Sonneman,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 18: A.M. Blog
August 17th, 2009 - 11:59am by Chris Gentilviso

The Broncos were back with the morning sun on Monday, practicing in full pads for the first time since their preseason opener against the 49ers. Unlike Sunday’s walkthrough, the offense and defense saw plenty of 11-on-11 action.

ROLL CALL: Brian Dawkins and Brandon Marshall were back on the field again Monday, with Dawkins again practicing with an orange jersey and wrap on his right hand. With Brandon Stokley and Brandon Lloyd receiving the morning off, Marshall got in plenty of reps with the first teamers on offense.

# Also not practicing this morning were Champ Bailey, Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter and Pat Murray.
# Head Coach Josh McDaniels said Rulon Davis has been released.

POSITIONING: With a few first-teamers not practicing, several players got their chance to work with the No. 1 offense and defensive units. Joshua Bell and Alphonso Smith both saw time at cornerback in place of Bailey, while Chad Jackson joined Marshall on four-wide receiver sets.
# Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer gave several players opportunities to demonstrate their skills on punt returns. After solid debuts against San Francisco, Kenny McKinley and Alphonso Smith continued to see action. Joining them were C.J. Jones and Matthew Willis.

DRILLS: McDaniels spent time working with the offense on a bevy of routes in 7-on-7s minus the defense. McDaniels shadowed as a defensive back, making sure his receivers were stopping in the right spot and the quarterbacks were delivering the ball to the outside shoulder.
# The tight ends and offensive linemen teamed up against the defensive linemen and linebackers in two-on-two contact drills. The goliaths of this set were Ryan Clady and Daniel Graham squaring off against Kenny Peterson and Elvis Dumervil. Graham pulled right to guard Peterson, while Clady secured the weak side against Dumervil.

# Defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely worked extensively with nose tackles Ronald Fields and Chris Baker. Both players worked on their hands and footwork, lining up directly in front of each other. They also participated in a drill where a teammate lined up as a guard next to a sled, simulating the 2-on-1 push required at the front of the 3-4 defense.
# Priefer closed out practice with a field goal block drill. With Britton Colquitt lined up at kicker and Brett Kern at holder, Priefer had his rush work in pairs to block the incoming kicks. Drawing praise were Bell and Renaldo Hill, as well as Baker and Nic Clemons.

PLAYMAKERS: With Buckhalter and Moreno not practicing, Peyton Hillis and LaMont Jordan were fixtures in the backfield. Jordan had several strong runs to the outside behind the blocking of Hillis. Marcus Thomas also showed a good first burst on several carries.
# Richard Quinn demonstrated a nose for the ball in traffic. He made three catches over the middle of the field, including one where he was hit hard by a streaking Vernon Fox, and another where Darcel McBath and Josh Barrett sandwiched him on the tackle. Quinn was also active behind the line of scrimmage, working as an H-Back on a pair of carries by Thomas.
# In red zone defense, Kenny Peterson made his presence felt, bursting free from the offensive line to stop Peyton Hills short of the goal line on a sweep left.
# Kyle Orton looked sharp during several periods of 11-on-11s. He had one stretch where he completed five of six passes, including two 40-plus yard bombs to Eddie Royal and Jabar Gaffney that drew praise from the crowd. The ball to Royal landed perfectly on his outside shoulder, as he used his speed to gain a step on rookie D.J. Johnson. Gaffney wowed the crowd with a one-handed catch at the goal line, using his range to beat the outstretched arms of Smith.

QUICK HITS: The linebackers continue to get more comfortable working out of their 3-4 spots. Wesley Woodyard had a pair of quarterback hurries on Chris Simms, while Darrell Reid made two stops in the backfield from his outside spot.
# Marshall not only worked on honing his receiving, but was also put to the test with his blocking. He used his 6-foot-3 frame to make a nice seal block on Andre’ Goodman as Thomas came around the corner on a power run.
# Tight ends coach Clancy Barone and linebackers coach Don Martindale made their voices heard to their position players in one-on-one contact drills. As Quinn went up against Tim Crowder, Barone yelled, “Drive it, drive it, drive it, finish it.” Before anything else could be said, Martindale was already yelling at his unit: “You drop your head, you lose your feet.”

DAILY JUKEBOX: After an extensive playlist on Sunday, Monday’s speakers were relatively quiet. The team’s 15-minute stretching session included:
# T.I - “My Life, Your Entertainment”
# U2 - “Where The Streets Have No Name”

-Chris Gentilviso,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 18: P.M. Blog
August 17th, 2009 - 7:35pm by Gray Caldwell

Lightning cut the evening session of practice on Monday short, and as the team left the field, the players in the blue jerseys chanted “Defense!” — apparently the defensive players felt they won the practice.

Here are a few quick hits from the shortened session.

ROLL CALL: Champ Bailey, Correll Buckhalter and Brandon Stokley were back at practice this evening after missing the morning session.
# Among the veterans absent from practice were Casey Wiegmann, Brandon Marshall, Daniel Graham and D.J. Williams.

POSITIONING: Without Wiegmann at practice, the offensive line made a switch that has become a common occurance — rookie Seth Olsen moved into the left guard slot, while Ben Hamilton moved over to center.
# The team practiced kickoffs, and the coverage team consisted of Vernon Fox, Wesley Woodyard, Spencer Larsen, Kenny McKinley, Josh Barrett, Matt Prater, Darrell Reid, Mario Haggan, David Bruton, Andre’ Goodman and Alphonso Smith.

DRILLS: Defensive backs worked in pairs, running routes with one player attempting to catch the pass and the other attempting to break it up.
# The receivers ran a similar drill, working in pairs with one receiver having to catch the pass over his shoulder while the other put his hands in the air, acting as the defensive back.
# The kickoff team worked on squib kicks, onside kicks and regular kickoffs.

PLAYMAKERS: During 11-on-11s, Kyle Orton found Eddie Royal deep down the field with a tight spiral, which drew cheers from the crowd.

# Later in the 11-on-11s session, Darcel McBath leaped to get a hand on a pass and tip it away from the receiver for an incompletion.

QUICK HITS: LaMont Jordan spent some time acting as a quarterback in drills, throwing the ball for his teammates during running back drills.

DAILY JUKEBOX: Even in a short session, there was plenty of music. It got played during warm-ups as well as during 11-on-11s to act as crowd noise. Here’s the playlist:
# Young Jeezy - “Bottom of the Map” (This once again drew some shouts of approval and dancing from the defense, specifically Woodyard)
# Lil Wayne - “Money In Mind”
# Earth, Wind and Fire - “Let’s Groove Tonight” (When this came on, defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely said, “Now we’ve got some music!”)
# Young Jeezy - “Put On”
# T.I. and Rihanna - “Live Your Life”
# Temple of the Dog - “Hunger Strike”

-Gray Caldwell,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 19 Blog
August 18th, 2009 - 5:41pm by Gray Caldwell

After it looked like rain would move the Broncos’ practice to an indoor facility, the skies cleared, and the team was out on the field at Dove Valley. Despite a little wetness, fans still showed up in droves, and were treated to a session full of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, including several focusing on the red zone.

Here are some quick hits from the slightly more than two-hour practice.

ROLL CALL: Several veterans who missed practice yesterday evening were back on the field Tuesday afternoon, including Daniel Graham, Brandon Marshall and D.J. Williams.
# It was the first day of practice for new Broncos defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith, who was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots yesterday.

POSITIONING: The first unit defense matched the team’s depth chart, with Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields and Ryan McBean on the line, Mario Haggan, Andra Davis, Williams and Elvis Dumervil at linebacker and Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman, Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill in the secondary.
# The kickoff return team this afternoon consisted of Peterson, Peyton Hillis, Kory Lichtensteiger, Reid, Spencer Larsen, Wesley Woodyard, Darcel McBath, David Bruton, Haggan and Josh Barrett, with Alphonso Smith and Kenny McKinley rotating return duties.
# Le Kevin Smith got some work with the second-unit defensive line.

DRILLS: During one-on-one drills between defensive linemen and linebackers versus offensive linemen and tight ends, things got a little spirited. On one battle between Richard Quinn and Darrell Reid, both linebackers coach Don Martindale and tight ends coach Clancy Barone claimed victory for their side. “That’s a win for us!” shouted Barone, while Martindale simultaneously heaped praise on Reid.
# Peterson and Graham’s matchup brought a little talking from the two after the fact, but the two didn’t get a chance to go up again, and after the drill the players walked up to each other and exchanged a quick five and fist bump.

# Later in more one-on-ones, the defense had a string of good matchups. Robert Ayers made a good move to get past his blocker, then a few plays later Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder got to the quarterback on back-to-back reps. The offensive ilne made some plays as well, with Ryan Clady stacking up nicely against Dumervil twice, and Matt McChesney recovering to keep his feet in front of a hard-charging Nic Clemons and keep him away from the quarterback.
# In field goal drills, the unit practiced a fake, with Brett Kern connecting with Daniel Graham, who ran it in for a touchdown.

PLAYMAKERS: Quinn made a solid play in the passing game during a red zone 7-on-7 drill. Chris Simms backed up in the pocket and fired a pass directly to the rookie tight end in the back of the end zone, with fellow rookie Alphonso Smith in coverage. Quinn took the ball right out of the cornerback’s hands for a touchdown.
# Kyle Orton found Eddie Royal for a quick touchdown in an 11-on-11 red zone drill, which disappointed the defense because it looked a little too easy. On the next play, the unit brought a heavy blitz, but Orton quickly dropped back and floated a pass high into the hands of Tony Scheffler — just past the coverage of Josh Barrett — for back-to-back scores.
# Later in the 11-on-11 red zone drill, the first unit offense and defense stepped up to the line, and it was announced that there was one play to win the game. Orton took the snap and handed off to Hillis, who plowed his way through a hole created by the offensive line for a touchdown, giving the offense the win.
# Marshall made a few tough catches during practice, once snagging a pass right in front of Brian Dawkins over the middle, and later doing the same thing in front of Renaldo Hill. Of course, no hits were made after the catch, but the receiver’s ability to go over the middle was evident.

# Tony Carter almost had an interception during an 11-on-11 drill, but the ball fell to the ground. As has been the defense’s policy, the unit treated it like a fumble, but Jeb Putzier was able to get to the ball before the defense and jogged into the end zone.
# Moulton ended the 11-on-11 session with an interception, causing his teammates to chant “Defense!” as the team moved on to field goal drills.

QUICK HITS: Le Kevin Smith and Chris Baker worked to the side with defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely in between drills.
# Royal acted as quarterback for the rest of the receivers as they each ran routes to the far end zone to start another drill. Most of the balls were right on the mark, but some players goofed around with their fellow receiver throwing them passes — Chad Jackson tried to catch it behind his back, but it hit him right in the back as he and the rest of the receivers had a good laugh.

# During a 7-on-7 drill, Marquez Brandon made a nice catch and turned to run up the sideline. Most of the defenders kneeling on the sideline got out of the way, but Rashod Moulton stepped up to playfully try to knock the ball away from the rookie. Branson held on.

DAILY JUKEBOX: There was quite a selection during Tuesday’s practice, as there were plenty of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills that required some crowd noise. The playlist was chosen by Head Coach Josh McDaniels and assistant to the head coach Mark Thewes. Here’s practically a whole Broncos practice mixtape:
# Poison - “Nothin’ But a Good Time”
# Kris Kross - “Jump” (Marcus Thomas, Darrell Reid and Chris Baker had a little head bobbing going)
# Hurricane Chris - “Halle Berry (She’s Fine)” (This selection got Alphonso Smith and Joshua Bell dancing)
# Notorious B.I.G. - “Hypnotize”
# Michael Jackson - “Bad”
# The Who - “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
# Beastie Boys - “Intergalactic”
# Black Eyed Peas - “Boom Boom Pow”
# Foo Fighters - “Everlong”
# DJ Khaled - “We Takin’ Over”
# Neil Young - “Rockin’ in the Free World”
# U2 - “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”

“That’s kind of like brothers. Daniel and I are really close. Sometimes out here in competition, we are both competitors, we get a little heated and tempers flare a little bit. But 15 minutes later we were laughing and joking about it, so it’s all in fun.”
-Kenny Peterson, on getting heated with Daniel Graham during practice.

-Gray Caldwell,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 20: A.M. Blog
August 19th, 2009 - 12:12pm by Chris Gentilviso

Clear skies returned to Dove Valley during Wednesday morning’s practice session. Approaching 72 hours until Saturday’s kickoff at Seattle, the Broncos introduced a new scout team, opened up their playbook, and kept the speakers going with plenty of music.

Here are some quick hits from the two-hour session:

ROLL CALL: On defense, Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins and Jack Williams missed the morning session. Not practicing on offense were running backs Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter, wide receivers Brandon Stokley and Brandon Lloyd, and guard/center Ben Hamilton.

POSITIONING: With Bailey and Dawkins sitting out practice, Alphonso Smith and Darcel McBath saw most of the reps with the first team defense. Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields and Ryan McBean manned the line, while Mario Haggan, Andra Davis, D.J. Williams and Elvis Dumervil were at linebacker.
# With Stokley and Lloyd out, the offense sported plenty of two-tight end sets. Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler shifted along the line, while Chad Jackson, Jabar Gaffney, and Eddie Royal were the primary wide receivers. Brandon Marshall saw time with both the second team and the scout team.
# With Hamilton missing the session, rookie Seth Olsen squeezed into the first team line at left guard. Olsen has also seen action at that spot next to Hamilton, when Casey Wiegmann sat out a few sessions at center over the course of camp.
# In his second day of practice with the team, Le Kevin Smith demonstrated the versatility Head Coach Josh McDaniels spoke of on Monday. He lined up at right end alongside Nic Clemons and Chris Baker with the second-team defense. In nickel packages, he worked the interior in four-lineman fronts, next to either Baker or Fields.
# The No. 1 kickoff return team this morning consisted of Haggan, McBath, Peterson, Josh Barrett, David Bruton, Richard Quinn, Darrell Reid, Kory Lichtensteiger, Peyton Hillis and Spencer Larsen. Rotating on returns were Eddie Royal, Kenny McKinley and Smith on one series, with Matthew Willis and Nate Swift rotating on the other set.

DRILLS: With Buckhalter and Moreno not practicing, LaMont Jordan and Darius Walker got extra reps, working with the quarterbacks on inside handoffs, draw plays and screen passes.

# The tight ends and outside linebackers went full speed in 1-on-1 blocking drills. Quinn drew praise from Head Coach Josh McDaniels for sticking Robert Ayers on his rush. Dumervil got a pat on the back from linebackers coach Don Martindale for his play against Tony Scheffler. “There you go, E! There you go. Way to get him up on his kickstand.”
# Defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely worked with his unit on protecting their legs. Each defensive lineman went up against a teammate posing as an offensive lineman. While battling for position, a third teammate rolled a medicine ball at their feet. Once they saw it, they poked that ball away to prevent their legs from being taken out.

PLAYMAKERS: Lee Robinson made his presence felt both in the backfield and on pass coverage. In one set of 11-on-11s, he blitzed from his inside linebacker spot, driving Marcus Thomas to the ground. Two plays later, Robinson was defending Marshall, and stepped in to pick off the Tom Brandstater pass for a touchdown. Marshall did everything he could to jar the ball loose, but Robinson was still able to march into the end zone
# Joshua Bell was also active on the second-team unit, tipping a pass to Vernon Fox for an interception. Bell was close to having a pick of his own, but dropped the easy offering. He kept his spirits up, and dropped to do 10 push ups - following the lead of Dawkins who set that rule by example early on in training camp.
# Kyle Orton and the rest of the offense used the final period of 11-on-11s to open up the playbook. Orton executed a flea flicker with Jordan, finding a crossing Chad Jackson for a 15-yard gain. Two plays later, Orton handed off to Jabar Gaffney, who threw back across the field to Orton. Toeing the original line of scrimmage, Orton hit a streaking Jordan for a 15-yard gain along the left sideline.

QUICK HITS: McDaniels didn’t hesitate to instill some discipline in his defense. After having to blow the whistle on two plays for poor lineup at the line of scrimmage, McDaniels made all 32 members of his defense run a lap around the practice field.
# The scout team jerseys were back out at practice on Wednesday. Several Broncos posed as Seahawks, including Lofa Tatupu and Brandon Mebane on defense, and Nate Burleson and Deion Branch on offense. The Julius Jones jersey was used in both offense and kickoff return situations.

# After practice, Royal was working on one-handed catches, alternating between his left and his right depending on where the ball was headed.

DAILY JUKEBOX: There was plenty of music during Wednesday morning’s session, from stretches through the final set of 11-on-11 drills. Here’s this morning’s playlist:
# Nelly - “Air Force Ones”
# Green Day - “Holiday”
# Jay Z & Linkin Park - “Numb/Encore”
# KC & The Sunshine Band - “Get Down Tonight”
# Nelly - “Hot in Herre”
# Das Efx - “They Want Efx”
# Damian Marley - “Welcome to Jamrock”
# Survivor - “Eye of the Tiger”
# Ozzy Osbourne - “Crazy Train”
# Metallica - “Enter Sandman”

-Chris Gentilviso,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 20: P.M. Blog
August 19th, 2009 - 8:39pm by Chris Gentilviso

The Broncos were back out on the practice field for the nightcap of their Wednesday two-a-day sessions. Several players shined, with big plays in the passing game on both sides of the ball.

Here are some quick hits from the session:

ROLL CALL: After missing the morning practice, Ben Hamilton, Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins, Correll Buckhalter and Brandon Stokley all participated in the evening session. Not on the practice field were Casey Wiegmann, Wesley Woodyard, D.J. Williams, Daniel Graham, Jack Williams, Brandon Lloyd and Knowshon Moreno.

POSITIONING: With Williams and Woodyard sitting out, Darrell Reid received the majority of the reps at outside linebacker, while Mario Haggan slid to the inside spot. Andra Davis manned Williams’ jack position, while Elvis Dumervil kept his normal outside post on the right side.
# With Stokley back in the mix, the Broncos displayed a series of five wide-receiver sets. Jabar Gaffney, Kenny McKinley, Eddie Royal, and Chad Jackson all saw time at the receiver posts, while LaMont Jordan, Peyton Hillis, and Tony Scheffler all saw time split out wide as the fifth man.

# With Hamilton back and Wiegmann out, Seth Olsen got to complete his full day of work with the first team at left guard. Hamilton slid over to center.
# The No. 1 punt team this evening consisted of Reid, Hillis, Mario Haggan, Vernon Fox, Darcel McBath, Jeb Putzier, Richard Quinn, David Bruton, and Josh Barrett. Alphonso Smith and Eddie Royal grabbed the majority of the returns.

DRILLS:Defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely unveiled a new “chute” drill. Lining up under a post about five feet high, each defender got in a three point stance. Once the ball next to them was snapped, they were told to “come straight out of the chute” - pushing forward toward a teammate holding a pad.
# Offensive line coach Rick Dennison had his six tackles work on footwork and discipline at their position. The object was to shove their opponent out of the way, without drawing any penalties.
# Tight ends coach Clancy Barone also used the chute to work with Quinn, Scheffler, Putzier and Marquez Branson on staying low when changing direction of their routes over the middle of the field.
# Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer worked with a new kicker on field goals. Priefer kept close watch as rookie Britton Colquitt practiced from 30 and 35 yards out. Colquitt was 2 for 3 from each spot.

# Priefer also worked with his gunners on downing punts inside the 10-yard line. Both Barrett and Bruton drew praise on several attempts, keeping their body between the ball and the end zone.

PLAYMAKERS: Rested up from taking the morning session off, Bailey and Dawkins showcased why they have each made seven trips to the Pro Bowl.
# When asked Sunday if playing with a heavy wrap on his injured right hand was any issue for him, Dawkins said no. His play in this session proved it, as he snagged an interception with one hand on a pass from Kyle Orton intended for Gaffney.
# Chris Simms was also victimized by a defensive gem, as Bailey made a smooth inside move to rob Nate Swift of a 15-yard completion near the far sideline.

# On the last play of practice, Scheffler showed his range. Orton took a bootleg left, where he saw Scheffler wave his right hand. With two defenders closing in, Scheffler used that same hand to make a diving touchdown catch in the back left corner of the end zone, right as the horn sounded.

QUICK HITS: With his patented dance moves in hand, Reid continued to keep his teammates’ spirits up in other respects. In 1-on-1 drills between the defensive line and offensive line, he made a series of spin moves to beat his blocker. That got his teammates to call him “And 1 Mix Tape, The Professor.” Reid also worked with the offense as a wide receiver during early drills. While running in motion, he told his teammates “I’m a possession receiver.”
# The first song of tonight’s jukebox was Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” Ronald Fields enjoyed it enough that right before the start of 11-on-11s, he warmed himself up by singing the tune again to himself and his nearby teammates. That spurred the nose tackle to clog the middle of the line and make two strong stops on handoffs to Buckhalter and Jordan.
# Before all the players came out, several coaches showed off their arm strength. Coaching Assistant Ben McDaniels and Secondary Coach Ed Donatell played catch, firing tight spirals 20 yards downfield. McCoy worked exclusively with Tom Brandstater on the same skills, giving him pointers on how to position his fingers on the ball.

DAILY JUKEBOX: From the Phil Collins opener, the music just kept getting richer. Here’s this evening’s playlist:
# T.I. - “My Life, Your Entertainment”
# 2Pac - “California Love”
# Metallica - “Don’t Tread on Me”
# Pearl Jam - “Rearview Mirror”
# The Roots - “The Seed 2.0”
# Rick Ross - “Everyday I’m Hustlin”
# Young Jeezy - “Bottom of the Map” and “Put On”
# Guns & Roses - “Welcome to the Jungle”
# Modest Mouse - “Float On”

-Chris Gentilviso,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11
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Day 21 Blog
August 20th, 2009 - 4:40pm by Zach Eisendrath

The Broncos concluded training camp with a roughly two-hour practice session on Thursday afternoon at Dove Valley.

For the last day of camp, the team couldn’t have asked for better weather as temperatures stayed in the mid-70’s for most of the practice — getting a bit warmer at the conclusion of the session — and there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

Donning shorts and shells for its final practice before departing for Seattle, the club worked extensively on 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 situations.

Here are some other quick hits from the session:

ROLL CALL: After missing yesterday evening’s practice, Casey Wiegmann, Wesley Woodyard, D.J. Williams, Daniel Graham and Jack Williams all participated in Thursday’s session.

# Not on the practice field were Matt Prater, Brandon Lloyd and Knowshon Moreno.

POSITIONING: During red zone 11-on-11s, the first team defensive unit featured a front seven of Kenny Peterson, Ronald Fields, Ryan McBean, Elvis Dumervil, D.J. Williams, Mario Haggan and Andra Davis, accompanied by a secondary consisting of Andre’ Goodman and Champ Bailey at the cornerback spots and Renaldo Hill and Darcel McBath manning the safety positions with Brian Dawkins also seeing time.
# During nickel packages, a host of players including Alphonso Smith, Wesley Woodyard, Robert Ayers and Darrell Reid saw time with the first team.
# On the other side of the ball, Chad Jackson spent a good deal of time working with the first unit offense, playing alongside Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Stokley in four wide-receiver sets.

# Matthew Willis was back deep returning punts, rotating the duties with Smith and, on occasion, Nate Swift.

DRILLS: Working with linebackers and defensive backs on coverage situations, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan took a hands-on approach, occasionally acting as a wide receiver and zigzagging his way through the defense as he explained different circumstances the unit might encounter.
# During an offensive line drill in which technique was stressed, offensive line coach Rick Dennison emphatically let his unit know they “can’t afford to be lazy” with their footwork.
# After Orton threw a perfect pass to Scheffler during a one-on-one drill, the tight end turned to his quarterback and told him to remember that play, saying “put that one in the bank.”

PLAYMAKERS: All three quarterbacks looked sharp during red zone 11-on-11s. First, Chris Simms found Scheffler streaking to the left corner of the end zone. A few plays later, Orton found Stokley — running a similar route — for the score. Meanwhile, Tom Brandstater may have made the best pass of the series — firing a pass in back of the end zone right between David Bruton and Jack Williams and connecting with his intended target, Willis.
# Stokley was active all afternoon, hauling in pass after pass. During one set of 11-on-11s, he tipped the ball to himself, regained possession and headed down the field.
# The defense made its share of plays during the session, too. Smith recorded an interception during one 7-on-7 session. A few plays later, Andra Davis almost had a pick in his possession but couldn’t hold on. After the play, Head Coach Josh McDaniels said “squeeze it.”
# During 11-on-11s, Vernon Fox got his hand on the ball to break up a pass intended for Peyton Hillis. A bit later, Dawkins used his non-wrapped left hand to break up a pass near the sideline intended for Scheffler.
# Woodyard made arguably the play of the day for the defensive unit, intercepting a Brandstater pass during 11-on-11s and then lateraling the ball to Williams, who proceeded up field.

QUICK HITS: Former Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was on hand for the team’s training camp finale. After practice, Smith and Eddie Royal chatted for a bit and Smith worked with Royal on his technique.

# Prior to practice, offensive linemen Seth Olsen, Stanley Bryant and Clint Oldenburg played catch with the quarterbacks, apparently trying to showcase their perfect spirals.
# Filling in for Prater, Britton Colquitt handled kickoff duties during practice. He also attempted four lengthy field goal attempts at the conclusion of the session. While his first one hit the crossbar and his next two landed short, Colquitt drilled his final attempt through the uprights — immediately drawing praise from his teammates as practice came to a close.

DAILY JUKEBOX: The hits kept coming on the team’s final day of training camp, as a plethora of mainstream songs boomed through the speakers. Here’s a sample of camp’s concluding playlist:
# T.I. - “My Life, Your Entertainment”
# Bruce Springsteen - “The Rising”
# Jay-Z - “Heart of the City”
# MGMT - “Electric Feel”
# Foo Fighters - “Everlong”
# Outkast - “Hey Ya”
# Young Jeezy - “Bottom of the Map”
# Aerosmith - “Dream On”
# Tom Petty - “American Girl”
# Michael Jackson - “Beat It”
# Nirvana - “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

– Zach Eisendrath,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11

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