Injuries/Absences:Yesterday, Head Coach John Fox reported that wide receiver Eric Decker had a groin strain. On Thursday, Decker was back on the field in full pads.
Missing from practice were safety Quinton Carter (hamstring and knee) and wide receivers D’Andre Goodwin (foot) and Greg Orton (ankle). Wide receiver Tyler Grisham (knee), running back Ronnie Hillman (hamstring) and tackle Orlando Franklin (concussion) were all on the practice field wearing shorts, but did not participate.
Newly signed wide receiver Cameron Kenney, wearing No. 19, participated in his first practice.
Quick Hits and Playmakers:There were plenty of playmakers during Thursday’s session, but we’ll start with Thomas. In the first team drill of the morning, Thomas caught a Manning pass on the sideline while on his knees. The very next play was another connection from Manning to Thomas on the sideline. This time, Thomas was on his feet, and he quickly used them to juke a defender and then stiff-arm another to the ground en route to what would have been a long touchdown.
In the next team drill, Manning and Thomas were at it again. After taking the snap, Manning dropped back and fired a pass deep down the middle of the field for Thomas. Safety Rahim Moore was right there in coverage and cornerback Drayton Florence was closing fast, but Thomas leaped up and over Moore to bring down the ball, running the rest of the way for the score. When he got to the back of the end zone, Thomas high-fived a group of young fans. On his way back to the sideline, he was met by cornerback Champ Bailey for another five, and Manning congratulated the receiver with a helmet tap on the sideline.
Defensive end Elvis Dumervil had a "sack" on Manning during team drills, but the play was allowed to continue and Manning still let a pass fly toward Thomas, but Bailey was in tight coverage and forced the incompletion.
Quarterback Adam Weber made his reps count on Thursday, first lofting a deep pass through coverage into the waiting hands of wide receiver Gerell Robinson for a big gain. At the very end of practice during a red-zone drill, Weber found a leaping Joel Dreessen in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown that drew cheers from both the crowd and the offense.
Running back Xavier Omon had a highlight of his own early in team drills, running through two tackles and spinning out of another for a long gain that got the crowd riled up.
Referees watched Thursday’s morning session, signaling when players scored touchdowns and even throwing an occasional flag.
Defensive end Jason Hunter got reps with the first-unit D-line for the second straight practice. Defensive tackle Justin Bannan was also back with the ones, alongside fellow defensive tackle Ty Warren.
As a whole, the offensive line seemed to win Thursday’s one-on-one session against the defensive line, but defensive end Ben Garland still managed a big highlight for the D. He bullied his way past rookie guard/center Philip Blake into the backfield, drawing praise from his defensive teammates.
Injuries/Absences:Safety Quinton Carter (hamstring and knee), wide receivers Tyler Grisham (knee) and Greg Orton (ankle), running back Ronnie Hillman (hamstring) and tackle Orlando Franklin (concussion) did not practice Friday.
Head Coach John Fox said that Franklin has been cleared by team doctors.
"We’ll use him sparingly tomorrow," Fox said.
Defensive tackle Justin Bannan left practice early due to a calf injury.
Quick Hits and Playmakers:In seven-on-seven’s, Bailey jumped up to knock the ball away from Thomas, tipping it into the air. It nearly led to an interception for safety Mike Adams, but he was unable to corral the deflection before it hit the ground.
Bailey also made a nice play in coverage on wide receiver Eric Decker, slapping the ball out of Decker’s hands to prevent a sideline reception.
Later in seven-on-seven’s, Thomas again found himself covered by Bailey, but this time, Thomas hung on for the catch despite a diving effort by Bailey.
Also during team drills, Weber connected with wide receiver Gerell Robinson, who made a quick grab while reaching over his head on the run. Weber quickly went right back to him on the following play, but the two were unable to make it back-to-back completions because cornerback Joshua Moore was able to break up the pass.
A pass near the goal line was deflected by cornerback Chris Harris, but the offense caught a break when tight end Jacob Tamme was able to make the catch anyway in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
Cornerbacks Drayton Florence, Syd’Quan Thompson and Omar Bolden all had pass breakups in the drill. Bolden’s involved the rookie leaping to swat away a pass intended for Gerell Robinson at the last moment. "Nice job, Omar!" Secondary Coach Ron Milus shouted. "Good play, Omar!"
Friday’s practice saw some chippiness between the offensive and defensive lines. Defensive end Jason Hunter, who has been practicing with the first-team D-line, got into a few shoving matches with offensive linemen during both the line drills and full-team drills. He ended up with his helmet off after one play, and Wesley Woodyard came over to help calm him down. Meanwhile, behind the play, linebacker Von Miller was dancing in what looked to be an effort to cool some of the tension between the lines.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway watched parts of practice alongside Coach Fox.
A handful of Broncos alumni, including Billy Thompson and Larry Brunson, watched practice from the sideline. A number of University of Colorado and University of Wyoming football coaches took in the session as well. Former Broncos safety Renaldo Hill, now a coach at Wyoming, was at practice.
Live Blog from the Scrimmage
Broncos set Attendance Record
Mario Fannin was injured during the scrimmage. He tore his Achilles. Fannin will have to undergo his second season ending surgery for the second straight year. Fannin Injured
Pictures of the Scrimmage
Article from the scrimmage
DB.com Scrimmage Photos
Broncos Vs Bears Preview
The Broncos first game of the 2012 season and their first preseason game is against the Bears. But the game and result are not overly important. A win is nice but what we are looking for is the play of our players. The fringe guys and players fighting for a roster spot. Here are some position battles to take notice of during the game.
Also of interest is to take note of the depth chart and where guys are playing. First, Second or Third string.
QuarterbackThe number two Quarterback spot is up for grabs. By all accounts Hanie hasn't been playing as well as the other two. Let's see if he can do something.
RunningbackWith Fannin injured who will step up and take the positions available behind McGahee. Hillman will probably be held out with his hamstring injury. Meaning Moreno, Omon, Johnson and Ball have to step up and take it to the next level.
Wide ReceiverThe fourth and fifth spot is up for grabs. Stokley and Ninja Willis have the inside track but I have heard good things about Gerell Robinson.
Offensive LineThe right tackle position seems to be the only position up for grabs with Franklin out. Can Ryan Harris step it up and push the subject to the coaches?
Tight EndWill Green or Thomas show us anything?
Defensive TackleWho is going to win a spot. Unrein and Siliga are the ones that need to have good games.
Defensive EndFor me this is all about Hunter Vs Ayers. Who wants that starting spot more? Plus we get our first look at Garland.
CornerbackThat fifth and maybe sixth spot are there for the taking. Watch for Squid to have a big game.
Well enjoy the first Broncos game, I know I will ~ Aussie.