Camp Day 8: Prepared for the Scrimmage

David Anderson caught a touchdown pass from Tim Tebow in a team period Friday. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – If you can’t get to a game, Saturday marks the next best thing.

With the preseason opener just five days away, the Broncos’ work at Invesco Field will serve as a rehearsal for the games to come, with a chunk of the practice devoted to game-condition work.

Only hitting the quarterback will be off-limits, Broncos coach John Fox said. All healthy Broncos are expected to play, but no decision was yet made on how much the team’s free-agent acquisitions would play after just two days of practice.

The practice is expected to parallel the session Fox helmed when he was with the Panthers from 2002-10, with the first, second and third units each seeing approximately 12 snaps against each other. The exact number of snaps is flexible pending the status of the possession.

Denver’s coaches will also be in their gameday positions, so coordinators Dennis Allen and Mike McCoy are expected to be on the sideline calling plays as they will during the games.

“This is a trial thing for us as a staff as far as guys in the booth, how we work, sheets we use,” Fox said. “It will be a semi-preseason game for us too.”

INJURY REPORT: Running back Mario Fannin, clearly the fastest member of Denver’s running back corps, suffered what Fox categorized as a sprained knee during a nine-on-seven drill and was carted back to the headquarters building. Fannin couldn’t put any weight on his right leg as he was helped to the cart by Broncos medical personnel …

… Guard Eric Olsen hyperextended his elbow, but returned.

ATTENDANCE REPORT: Linebacker D.J. Williams remained sidelined with a thigh injury, but Fox classified him as “day to day” and expects him back soon.

“He’s had some brisk workouts in the training room,” Fox said. “Obviously we’re going to be smart from him, but he’s close to being back out there.” …

… Running back LenDale White (lower back spasms) and defensive tackles Louis Leonard (knee) and Mitch Unrein (knee) all sat out the practice.

WHO’S WHERE: Second-year cornerback Cassius Vaughn worked with the first team as a nickelback through most of the practice …

… Rookie tight end Julius Thomas continued to rotate with the first team and also kept dazzling onlookers, making a one-handed catch from Brady Quinn during a team period and sprinting 50 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos moved Thomas around the field throughout practice, which fits in how Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy liked to use tight ends in Carolina. For example, Dante Rosario occasionally lined up in the slot or out wide during his four seasons there …

… Daniel Fells also saw some work with the first team …

… Brodrick Bunkley continued to work as first-team nose tackle. Free-agent pickups Derrick Harvey and Ty Warren worked with the second unit.

NOTING THE PRACTICE: Both Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn took snaps with the second unit. “Brady deserves an opportunity and we’re going to see what we have,” Fox said …

… Tebow had perhaps the best individual effort of the three quarterbacks on a pass play during a red-zone period. He rolled toward the left sideline and found Mark Dell in the middle of the end zone, turning his body and throwing a perfect strike that covered approximately 40 yards in the air.

Tebow also threw a touchdown to David Anderson on a jump pass (that was more like a half-hop) from 10 yards out …

… Syd’Quan Thompson intercepted a Tebow pass during a seven-on-seven period. He tipped the pass intended for D’Andre Goodwin, then dove for the interception after Goodwin deflected the ball.

WEATHER REPORT: Temperatures hovered in the upper 80′s with sunny skies that lingered throughout the practice. Thunderstorms didn’t move into the area until after the on-field work had concluded.

NEXT PRACTICE: Saturday afternoon at Invesco Field at 2 p.m. MDT. Gates open at noon.

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About Andrew Mason

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

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