Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Yesterday morning's practice (photos, more photos) was essentially the final one of training camp, as the team will be on a schedule resembling that of the regular season going forward.
Ty Warren was back in action after missing two days for personal reasons; Tracy Porter (illness), Ronnie Hillman (hamstring), Danny Trevathan (ankle), Keith Brooking (hamstring), Jim Leonhard (knee) remained sidelined, while Kevin Vickerson (concussion) left early.
WR Matthew Willis and DE Jamie Blatnick were standouts, and Peyton Manning spent extra time working in the red zone with Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Brandon Stokley.
Warren and fellow defensive tackles Justin Bannan, Derek Wolfe, and Mitch Unrein all worked with the first team, and Manny Ramirez again took a few snaps with the starting offense at center; Drayton Florence took Porter's place opposite Champ Bailey, who was back practicing after a day off.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The injury to Jason Hunter, which will undoubtedly land him on IR (few players are good enough to waste a roster spot on for a majority of the season), opened a door at defensive end yesterday.
But it wasn't the most obvious man (Robert Ayers, last year's starting LDE) who received the opportunity. Rather, it was second-round pick Derek Wolfe, who has already been working with the top nickel unit at tackle; now he'll be doing double duty.
Meanwhile, the injury to Chris Kuper has Manny Ramirez filling in at right guard, and during yesterday's practice (video, more video, photos, more photos) Ramirez also worked some at center. In those instances, Orlando Franklin also shifted leftward, with Chris Clark taking his spot at right tackle.
Good Evening, Broncos fans! DE Jason Hunter underwent surgery today on his torn triceps, and the timeline for his recovery is double the original prognosis of two months, meaning his season is likely already over.
Chris Kuper also had surgery to repair the broken forearm bone he suffered in Tuesday's disastrous practice. The starting right guard is expected to be out six weeks, which would cause him to miss the first three games of Denver's season.
The team shed the pads for Wednesday's practice and was also without Champ Bailey, Tracy Porter, Keith Brooking, Danny Trevathan, Ronnie Hillman, Tyler Grisham, and Ty Warren.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The unraveling life and career of Chad Johnson was front and center yesterday.
Just 41 days into their marriage, and three days after Johnson was arrested and charged with domestic violence, Evelyn Lozada filed for divorce, calling the union "irretrievably broken."
To make matters worse, the publicity-seeking wideout's release from the Dolphins was broadcast and recorded for posterity as part of HBO's Hard Knocks. At least Johnson and coach Joe Philbin appeared to handle the whole thing well, for what that's worth.
Chad expressed contrition in a statement, but considering the circumstances, chose some unfortunate wording when he said about his soon-to-be ex-wife, "I truly love her to death."
Good Evening, Broncos fans! We already covered the new injuries from today's practice (photos); CB Tracy Porter (illness) also joined LB Keith Brooking (hamstring), LB Danny Trevathan (ankle), and S Jim Leonhard (knee) on the sideline.
WR Andre Caldwell and defensive lineman Jamie Blatnick excelled in the morning session; the team will hold a walkthrough this evening, and Thursday will mark the final public practice of this year's training camp.
DE Elvis Dumervil apparently exhibited what is now becoming his trademark temper today, when he got into a tiff with RB Knowshon Moreno; D.J. Williams was again called to action with the injuries to Trevathan and Brooking.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! DT Justin Bannan (calf) finally returned to practice without a hitch yesterday (photos, more photos), while newly-signed linebacker Keith Brooking (hamstring) left early for an MRI. T Ryan Harris (ankle) and FB Chris Gronkowski (groin) were back in action; LB Danny Trevathan (ankle), S Quinton Carter (knee), and S Jim Leonhard (knee) remain sidelined.
Carter's knee injury apparently dates back to last season, and its repair was prompted by the hamstring injury he suffered early in camp. TE Julius Thomas says his knee recovery is still only at 80%, but along with Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas, he was one of the day's standouts.
Eric Decker had a productive day working against Champ Bailey, and the backup running backs all made notable plays. Ronnie Hillman also made a big play, and he would have been active in the preseason opener were it not for the rainy conditions.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Mason updated his predictions for the Broncos' 53-man roster, and he has T Ryan Harris, DE Jeremy Beal, and LB Mike Mohamed among those on the outside looking in.
Despite fan dreams of Harris returning to form (and health) and playing a major role in a revamped offensive line, it's just not happening. Per Mason, the starting five is set, and it will be the same group that started all 16 regular season games together in 2011: LT Ryan Clady, LG Zane Beadles, C J.D. Walton, RG Chris Kuper, and RT Orlando Franklin.
While some of us have remained eternally hopeful that the 2008 version of Harris (the only one that played 16 games, and more than 11) would reappaear at some point, a reality check is in order. Harris dressed for a combined 19 games (18 starts) in 2009 and 2010, and none in 2011; so far in camp, he has worked behind both Chris Clark and Adam Grant. And although he's listed as being the second-string right tackle on the initial depth chart, the versatility (and health) of Clark and Grant give the slightly younger players (both are 26, Harris is 27) a distinct advantage.
Updated 9:52am ET
Keith Brooking put on the pads for the first time since he signed on Monday, and even got into a scuffle with center J.D. Walton. The fifteenth-year veteran worked at the Will linebacker spot and is also expected to work at the Mike. Brooking says he needs to improve his familiarity with Denver's defensive scheme, and that he expects to be something of a mentor to the younger linebackers.
CB Tracy Porter strained an ab muscle, while LB Danny Trevathan (ankle), FB Chris Gronkowski (groin) sat out due to injuries from Thursday. T Ryan Harris (ankle) and DT Justin Bannan (calf) did not play Thursday or practice yesterday.
Ronnie Hillman returned to full-fledged action following his hamstring injury; fellow running back Xavier Omon and LB Wesley Woodyard excelled. So did S Rahim Moore, and Chris Harris appears to be holding onto his nickel corner role.
The team held a walkthrough in the evening and will have another day off today.
Good Morning/Afternoon, Broncos fans! There's been plenty of chatter about the possibility of the Broncos shifting right tackle Orlando Franklin over to guard, and of course, a lot of that took place right here at IAOFM. TJ has been beating that drum since a month after the team drafted the guy, while Ted and Doc have also mentioned the idea of using Franklin to replace Zane Beadles at left guard.
According to Jeff Legwold, the Broncos have indeed pondered a move, although it's not the one-for-one Franklin/Beadles swap. Rather, he says the team is is considering sliding Big O over one spot to Chris Kuper's right guard position, with Kuper likewise moving leftward as the one to replace Beadles.
Of course, the trick here is finding someone good enough to start at right tackle, whether it be Ryan Harris, Chris Clark, or even Beadles. Don't forget - Zane was a tackle at Utah, and his first six starts in the pros came at right tackle when Harris was injured in 2010.
Manning wasn't quite all there - several of his throws fluttered a bit - and his only possession ended with what appeared a poorly-placed throw at the goal line to Brandon Stokley which was tipped and intercepted. FWIW, Stokes claims he ran a poor route on the play, but we'll never know for sure.
But Peyton's legendary footwork, decision-making, and quick release were on full display, and from his postgame comments, it's clear he wasn't so sure a year ago that he'd ever be back in the NFL. Last night was obviously a big deal to Peyton, who we're guessing had as much nervous anticipation for a preseason game as he did for his very first one in 1998.