Camp notes through Day 2

The first week of training camp is too early to tell most things. There were some things that stood out, though, and these seemed to be worth watching:

1. Friday was only Day 2, but second-round draft pick Derek Wolfe was turning some heads with his intensity and focus. He’s been running with the second unit as the RDE, but given the talent in front of him, I would have been shocked if they started him any higher. He’s going to have to put on some muscle weight to make it into the interior on the first two downs, but he was placed with the first team nickel unit in Friday’s work. That’s a place that he might get some reps this season - it suits his quickness and technique.

I’ve been following Derek as much as possible and he’s made it clear that unlike a lot of defensive linemen just out of college, he understands that what he’s doing is technique intensive, technique dependent. That’s going to serve him well. He also seems to have a heck of an attitude - prepared, hard working, and totally committed. This is not a guy I’d worry about off the field - he’s busy. He’s working out, studying the playbook, or studying film. When guys in the offseason tweet about commitment on Saturday night, or talk about how they were just getting back from working out, it’s a good sign.

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Timothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore

Tebow-mania falls on deaf ears
espn.go.com

New York Jets fans caught the opening act of Tebow-mania at training camp Saturday, and it wasn’t love at first sight.  Tim Tebow was heckled by a few loud fans during the Jets’ first public practice, which drew an announced crowd of 2,588 on a rainy morning. The overall reception was lukewarm at best, as the backup quarterback was anything but sharp during the 2½-hour session…Tebow, working exclusively with the second team, took 12 snaps in team drills. He completed only three of eight passes in the padless practice, taking a “sack” on a play in which he scrambled from one side of the field to the other.

The play seemed to take forever. As it unfolded, some fans screamed, “Throw the ball!”  When the play finally ended, one fan screamed, “That’s why you’re No. 2.”

New York isn't Denver, that's true.  But we've seen this story before.  In fact, near the end of training camp last year, Kyle Orton finally let down his steely guard after it had become clear to everyone how little of a threat Tim Tebow was to him as a passer.  He even took Tebow aside and helped him work on his dropbacks--very big brother-like of him.  Six games into the season, Orton was sitting on the bench.

Fans are as fickle.  I give Sanchez eight games, and that's only because, unlike the Broncos, the Jets will use Tebow in the red zone, allowing the Jets just enough success to leave Sanchez as their starter a bit longer.

Mike Adams, kick returner? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Unfortunately for fans in attendance, a thunderstorm forced yesterday's practice (BTV, photosmore photos) to the private and cramped confines of an indoor facility.

Brandon Stokley practiced after missing Thursday's action with the flu, and Chris Kuper performed position drills. Quinton Carter suffered a hamstring injury, and Justin Bannan remains sidelined with a calf injury. Champ Bailey and Julius Thomas sat out team drills, while Knowshon Moreno caught passes in seven-on-seven drills. The coaches apparently wanted to save Champ the punishment of practicing on artificial turf.

Mike Adams surprisingly joined Andre Caldwell, Matt Willis, Ronnie Hillman, and Omar Bolden in returning kickoffs. During his eight NFL seasons, Adams has returned only two kicks, both last season.

The team is putting on the pads for today's practice and will have a closed walkthrough in the evening.

Continue reading "Mike Adams, kick returner? Lard"

Broncos Thunderstruck on Friday

Broncos forced inside to close quarters
www.cbssports.com

The Broncos began their work outside under ominous skies that turned threatening when lightning struck within three miles of the facility. They promptly sprinted inside their headquarters building as officials sent the 2,917 fans back to their cars. The relocated practice was closed to the public; there was barely enough room for the media, let alone the fans, in a building whose dimensions compromised the practice. To simulate kickoff returns on the 80-yard field, the football was handed to returners Mike Adams, Matt Willis, Ronnie Hillman, Omar Bolden and Andre Caldwell; any actual kickoffs would have skipped off the dome’s ceiling. When receivers ran crossing or out routes, they had to hold up, because the distance from the sideline to the wall was less than 10 feet.

Interesting note from this weather-related bit?  Mike Adams is being considered for (we assume) punt return.

Crennel: getting booed motivates Matt Cassel

Crennel Opens Up About Training Camp
www.wibw.com

TUCKER: On a personal level, how did you feel when you heard that Matt Cassel had been booed at a charity all-star game?

CRENNEL: “I was not in town and it was after the fact that I heard that, but what I think it will do, will be motivation for Matt to come out and prove that he is the guy that can get it done and lead this team to the playoffs like he’s done before. I think that that’s what will happen.”

If getting booed motives Matt Cassel, he's got to be really motivated this year.

Would Chiefs fans boo Brady Quinn?  It's a little early to tell, but they'll probably get the chance soon enough.

Weekly Limerick Schtick: Mitch Unrein

Sometimes you wake up and you go through the motions; other times, you feel a Limerick coming on.

Last week's topic was Elvis Dumervil.  After reading the story on Mitch Unrein this morning, I thought I'd better give him some space:

Unrein on the line is unreal,
and larger this year--sex appeal.
Wyoming Monet,
he brings it each day,
from practice squad to tungsten steel.

Let it breathe.  Then try your own in the comment section.  The worst thing that can happen is laughter.

Kuper at center? Not likely

Stuart Zaas of the official site slipped an interesting little nugget into his summary of yesterday afternoon's walkthrough practice:

After he was done taking first-team reps, Manning worked with [Chris] Kuper on snapping the ball.

Does this mean anything?  Probably not.  Manning is a noted workaholic.  Give him five minutes and he'll burn off the time with yet another drill.

We're not reading much into this.  Still, for those about to speculate, we salute poll(ute) you.

(H/t: Kaleb Harvey, for the heads up.)

Russ Hochstein era officially over Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! In accordance with the new CBA's ban on full-contact two-a-days, the Broncos held a private walkthrough yesterday evening to complete the first day of training camp. RG Chris Kuper, who had not worked with the starters during morning practice, was back with them for the evening.

As for that morning session (BTVphotos), the departure of undrafted rookie Eric Page, who was waived due to a knee injury, left Eric Decker, Syd'Quan Thompson, Tracy Porter, and Drayton Florence to field punts. C.J. Davis was the backup center, meaning rookie Philip Blake isn't just competing with starter J.D. Walton for the spot, if he is at all.

Peyton Manning's perfectionism was there for all to see, as was some reported improvement in his throwing since OTAs, although the toughest throws like deep comebacks were not.

Continue reading "Russ Hochstein era officially over Lard"

We’re talking about practice Lard

Good Evening, Broncos fans! The team kicked off training camp today in front of the largest crowd ever assembled at Dove Valley; nearly 4,400 fans gathered to see Peyton Manning & Co. practice (photos).

Although Chris Kuper has been cleared medically, he did not practice with the starting five today; Manny Ramirez subbed for him. Brandon Stokley sat out with a case of the flu; Andre Caldwell acted as the third receiver and made several impressive plays.

Over on defense, Mitch Unrein (due to an injury to Justin Bannan) and Rahim Moore ran with the first-teamers, with Tracy Porter lining up across from Champ Bailey and ahead of Drayton Florence and Chris Harris.

Manning and coach John Fox (videos) spoke afterward and praised the tempo of practice and the level of fan support. Peyton says he's already accustomed to wearing his new orange and blue colors, and that he appreciates being back to the familiarity of practice. So far, so good.

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Concussions do not discriminate for age

Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?
www.washingtonian.com

“I don’t know what’s wrong with Austin,” Michelle said. “He shouldn’t disrespect me like that.”

“He’s a teenager,” Gil said. “I’ll go talk to him.”

Gil went inside. He passed the kitchen table, where his cheesecake sat untouched. He walked up the stairs, the same stairs where Austin would ambush Walker when he came home from school, peppering him with foam darts from a toy gun. The door to Austin’s room was open.

Michelle Trenum heard her husband scream.

Solemnly, we add this chilling tale to the growing list of must-reads that chronicle the effects of concussions. Thanks to Jonathan Dunn for directing us to it.

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