Monday, July 28, 2008

Denver Broncos Training Camp: Day 4 (Morning Practice)

Thought that we took the day off didn't you?

We didn't, sucker...
Here's some notes from Day 4-
  • Selvin Young was out for the first part of camp, no word on why just yet, but he did take the field later on. Peyton Hillis was out this morning, Michael Pittman was playing mostly as a fullback. Montrae Holland was still absent from first-team workouts. DeWayne Robertson returned, as expected to practice. DJ Williams and Boss Bailey were absent from most of the morning practice. Williams later explained that he Bailey and Young were being drug tested as per NFL policy.

  • Jay Cutler hasn't looked bad, but until today, he hadn't really ever looked anybody off. Meaning in coverage, the receiver he's throwing it to is the one that he's staring at. After watching the first three days of camp, he's working specifically on that- looking off his receivers.

  • There's two other quarterbacks on the Broncos and it's Darrell Hackney who is looking like he's aiming for that number two spot. Backup Patrick Ramsey has not looked impressive at all at camp, today the Broncos secondary teed off on Ramsey picking him off several times.

  • Anthony Aldridge is looking very competitive as is Ryan Torain, not to say that Torain is bad, but Aldridge just looks better at this point. Torain did have a great day, but not enough to push either Selvin Young or Andre Hall from their spot on the depth chart. It is not too early to declare that Denver is in very good hands this season in the backfield. Guaranteed fresh legs, whenever called upon. Pittman did take a few snaps at running back, he also looked better at fullback than Cecil Sapp.

  • Brandon Marshall, read my column and ate his Wheaties this morning- burning his defender in the eleven-on-eleven drills, resulting in an eighty-yard touchdown. Rookie Eddie Royal, Keary Colbert and Samie Parker could use some time after practice to work on their timing with Cutler. Royal's close though on the verge of pushing Colbert into the fifth spot on the Broncos receiving depth chart. In the possible event that Marshall is suspended or someone in the top three is injured, it almost makes sense to have Royal as the number two at wide-out and keep Brandon Stokley in the slot. Speaking of number two, Darrel Jackson has definitely solidified his position as the Broncos number two receiver.

  • As for the tight ends, it's Nate Jackson, not Tony Scheffler taking the first team reps as the "receiving" tight end. Scheffler has been incredible at camp, so Fantasy Fans don't be too worried. Daniel Graham may have another season as a blocking tight end, however. The offensive line at this point, just doesn't seem to be strong enough to allow Graham to become the type of tight end that he came to Denver to be.

  • Ryan Harris is getting better, working in tandem with Chris Kuper the pair was able to open up several decent holes in the defensive line. Though, it is still unclear who will be the right tackle as Harris has yet to out right earn it. Rookie Ryan Clady is dominating just about everyone, except Jarvis Moss, who has only got the best of him once or twice over the last couple of days. Where the offensive line is struggling most is in pass protection, expect to see a move on the depth chart, possibly Erik Pears, PJ Alexander or Tyler Polumbus moving in with the first-team offense.

  • On the defensive side, Ebenezer Ekuban and DeWayne Robertson may be the starting defensive tackles this season. Ekuban is playing very well at tackle and with Robertson forcing opposite teams to double him, he could be in for a great year. Depth at tackle also looks very decent, Denver employs a seven-man rotation on the defensive line. With Josh Mallard playing the way he's been playing, you'll remember Mallard came in at the very end of the season (playing in only four games) and managed three and a half sacks and fifteen tackles. In camp he has carried on that domination, packaged with Marcus Thomas, Alvin McKinley, Kenny Peterson and the previously mentioned defensive tackles Denver appears to be much better off than last season. Speaking of Marcus Thomas, he shined during eleven-on-eleven scrimmage, bursting through and wrecking havoc on Denver's offensive line.

  • Jamie Winborn and Louis Green filled in on the first-team during the absence of DJ Williams and Boss Bailey. Niko Koutouvides played once again with the second-team defense, with Nate Webster playing middle linebacker with the first-team once again. Koutouvides had a strong day, playing heady to Webster's all out kamikaze style. The Koutouvides vs. Webster battle is the most interesting battle in training camp.

  • In the background on defense, John Lynch put on a hitting clinic during one-on-ones then continued the clinic during team camp, thumping on two different Denver running backs. Domonique Foxworth went yard on a Patrick Ramsey interception, Karl Paymah was the man who got beat on the Brandon Marshall eighty-yard touchdown reception. Dre Bly and Champ Bailey stayed true to form and looked like two of the best cover corners in the NFL.

  • Could this be the year that Bly returns to the Pro Bowl? Rookie safety Josh Barrett lined up a couple times at corner, Marlon McCree continued to sub in on running plays and was beat by both rookies Ryan Torain and Anthony Aldridge during eleven-on-eleven drills. Rookie corner Jack Williams exhibited his speed after being beat by Brandon Stokley, only to catch him and break up a pass from Jay Cutler.
Other notes:
  • The Broncos began a new drill, six-on-four: Three linemen, a quarter back and two running backs on two defensive linemen and two linebackers. They also implemented the three-on-three a quarterback and two receivers vs. two defensive backs and a safety. Rookie Josh Barrett played safety during every snap of the three-on-threes.

  • The kick returners depth seems to have been shortened with only Eddie Royal, Andre Hall, Michael Pittman and Anthony Aldridge returning kicks.

  • Kicker Matt Prater continued to shine connecting on seven of eight of his field goals from 40-45 yards out.
All photos © and credited to Kyle Sonneman

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