Camp Day 3: Poppin’ Pads

*** UPDATED 5:09 P.M. MDT ***

Pads at camp

The hitting began in earnest Saturday. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – It was the first practice of 2011 training camp in full pads, but beyond that, any resemblance to other first-pad days in previous training camps was purely coincidental.

In those years, the Broncos had between 14 and 17 days of practice among minicamp, organized team activities and training camp before commencing the hits. With only two previous days of practice, the tenor was unlike anything the Broncos and John Fox had experienced before at this junction of camp.

“It was good. It was a little different approach than in the past,” Fox said. “We didn’t use our full three-hour allotment, on purpose. Although we still have a lot of work to do, you want to be smart with them on the first day.”

The days that follow will also be different, with the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement stipulating only one padded practice per day in training camp and no more than one per week during the regular season, with even more stringent limits on such work in the final six weeks of the campaign.

“All I can do is thank God for the new CBA. That’s what I can say,” defensive end Mario Haggan said.

Everything must change, although Fox has rarely come close to overworking players in pads in the last eight seasons. But in 2002, his first season as a head coach, Fox conducted a throwback camp designed to toughen a Panthers team coming off a 1-15 season and a five-year, 27-53 stretch.

“Some old-school thinking was to knock the tar out of them the first day,” Fox said. “Things have gone away from that some, so we’ll build up to it, and our big focus is for September 12. We’ll attack each day accordingly to get us most prepared for that.”

Which Haggan feels is probably not much different than the majority of Fox’s Carolina camps.

“Checking with Coach Fox’s history with some other guys he’s coached, they say he’s a real players coach; he’ll take care of the body as long as you take care of him in practice and do what he asks,” Haggan said.

“I think it probably would have been something similar to this without the CBA.”

And even if it isn’t, Fox wouldn’t try to skirt regulations.

“I just try to operate by the rules that we’re put under,” he said.

ATTENDANCE REPORT: Safety Renaldo Hill missed a third consecutive day of practice because of dehydration, saying it was because he didn’t get enough liquid in his body while he was returning to Denver this week.

“They’re just taking a precaution, making sure everything is in order. I’m cleared now, so I should be out for the rest of the practices,” Hill said.

“It’s definitely tough because this is the time to come out here and build something with your teammates and get on the same page. I’m just going to have to push harder.”

EDIT: Later in the afternoon, it was announced that Hill had been released.

Wesley Woodyard and D.J. Williams

Wesley Woodyard and D.J. Williams were on the field, but spent the day out of pads and on the sideline. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

… Linebacker Von Miller returned to the field after suffering a thigh bruise Friday …

Safety Quinton Carter made it through the full practice after leaving Friday’s session early because of heat-stress issues …

… Linebacker D.J. Williams was sidelined with a thigh strain …

Safety Brian Dawkins was in uniform, but was held out of the session …

Linebacker Wesley Woodyard, kicker Matt Prater and defensive end Ryan McBean were on the field, but because they were restricted free agents before re-signing on Friday, none can practice until Wednesday, when the league year begins.

WHO’S WHERE: Carter and fellow rookie Rahim Moore worked as the first-team safety tandem for a second consecutive day, and drew praise from cornerback Champ Bailey.

“The one thing I notice about them: they have the confidence,” Bailey said. “They come out there and they don’t act like they’re rookies, and I appreciate that because we need guys like that. We don’t need rookies to act like rookies.

“We need them to act like pros and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing the last few days.”

… The rookie safeties were joined on the No. 1 defense by fellow draft picks Von Miller and Mike Mohamed at strongside and weakside linebacker, respectively. Mohamed filled in at D.J. Williams’ weakside slot Saturday after pinch-hitting for Miller on the strong side during Thursday morning and Friday afternoon’s practices …

… Kyle Orton remained as the first team quarterback, but Brady Quinn worked ahead of Tim Tebow during one team period. During Thursday and Friday’s work, Quinn had always seen his seven-on-seven and team repetitions after Tebow’s.

PLAYS OF THE DAY: Brandon Lloyd will probably be a regular standout in this section once again this summer. His defining catch Saturday was another contorting sideline grab at the expense of Bailey.

Their duels in team and seven-on-seven periods have become arguably the highlight of the entire camp.

“He’s so athletic, quick, fast. He can jump with the best of them,” Bailey said. “You’ve got to be on top of your game when he lines up in front of you. I accept the challenge every day because he’s going to make me better, and I’m trying to make him better.”

WEATHER REPORT: Temperatures rose from 76 to 85 degrees during the course of the practice. Fortunately, relative humidity dripped from 36 to 24 percent during the two-and-a-half hour session.

NEXT PRACTICE: Sunday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. MDT.

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on when the site was managed by He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began in 2010 and now contributes to, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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3 Responses

  1. How is Mohamed looking filling in at LB for Williams? Also, how did Franklin do when the pads were on? he’s looks a beast!

  2. Have they started Zone blocking schemes yet ? if so how do they look?

  3. I think the addition of Willis, and White will add a lot of punch in the Red Zone

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