Camp Day 10: Takeaways and Taking Precautions

Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal made this catch early in Monday's practice, but was held out of the last half of practice as a "preventative" measure, John Fox said. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Less than three days now separate the Broncos from their preseason opener below the twin 11,200-square-foot television screens at Cowboys Stadium, but don’t expect them to alter their training-camp schedule too much to account for game-planning.

That’s never been John Fox’s way, anyhow.

“We don’t really game plan for preseason games,” Fox said. “We’ll spend basically Wednesday’s practice … just kind of introduc(ing) them to some basic things, but we don’t game plan in the preseason.”

When Fox was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, those “basic things” often meant details as mundane as rehearsing how and where to line up for pre-game stretching. That may seem a bit farcical, but when you consider that 23 Broncos are rookies and have never been through even a preseason game before, working on even the most elementary elements can’t hurt.

“It’s important to set the tone early on and getting used to what the game’s like and just explaining to them kind of what our approach will usually be and what our approach will be in the preseason,” Fox said.

But much of that will come Wednesday. Monday, the Broncos had a two-and-a-half-hour full-pad practice at Dove Valley, and for the most part, the defense got the better of proceedings, capping the day with a pair of takeaways in a red-zone team period.

After the first-team defense allowed the No. 1 offense to nudge into field-goal range via a 24-yard Kyle Orton-to-Matthew Willis pass, the second and third defenses intercepted Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow, respectively, with Joe Mays and David Bruton picking off errant passes from the understudy quarterbacks.

Moments later, Fox took a little more time than usual for his post-practice remarks.

“He’s just giving the defense their props,” said linebacker Von Miller. “We had an okay day today. We got some pressure on the quarterback, and that two-minute period was kind of rough on the offense. He was just talking about that, and that was it.”

INJURY REPORT: Wide receiver Eddie Royal was pulled from practice after one team period as a “preventative” measure to aid his healing hip, Fox said. Royal, who had hip surgery in January, had made it through every practice prior to Monday’s session …

… Running back Brandon Minor was “nicked” in practice, Fox said, and left early …

… Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson sat out with a groin injury …

… Defensive tackles Louis Leonard and Mitch Unrein (knee) remained sidelined …

… Running back Mario Fannin passed through waivers and was placed on injured reserve. Fannin was placed on the waived-injured list Saturday after hurting his knee and being carted off the field Friday.

ATTENDANCE REPORT: Linebacker D.J. Williams was in full pads and worked in team periods for the first time all training camp after dealing with a hamstring problem. Williams lined up as the first-team weakside linebacker alongside middle linebacker Joe Mays.

What isn’t known is whether Williams will play Thursday. Fox has erred on the side of caution with players returning from injury or absence throughout training camp. During Saturday’s scrimmage, he held out newcomers such as running back Willis McGahee and defensive tackle Ty Warren, while also resting safety Brian Dawkins, who had spent the first week of training camp watching from the sideline.

Based on that trend, it would seem Williams’s chances of playing are low, but Fox didn’t close the door.

“He (Williams) looked good,” Fox said. “We’ll talk to the medical people (and) see how we go forward. But it was good to see him out on the field.”

Running back LenDale White also practiced fully for the first time since suffering lower back spasms early in training camp. Given that White has just recently recovered from a torn Achilles tendon incurred in last year’s preseason finale, precautions were understandable.

“‘Greek’ (trainer Steve Antonopulos) and those guys (on the Broncos’ medical staff) definitely know what’s best for me, and there is no reason for me to get out there and do something that is going to jeopardize the long run,” White said. “It kept me out for a while, but now I’m back.”

WHO’S WHERE: Tim Tebow was listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, but he and Quinn continued to split the repetitions, with Quinn working with the second team during the game-condition, two-minute drill work during the last team period of practice …

… Dawkins returned to the field after sitting out the Saturday scrimmage and worked at safety alongside Rahim Moore. Rookie Quinton Carter took his place Saturday and would likely do so again if Dawkins is held out of the preseason opener …

… The decision to rest Royal thrust Matthew Willis onto the first unit in three-wide receiver sets, and moved Eric Decker up to the No. 2 receiver slot …

… Marcus Thomas worked with the first unit as the three-technique defensive tackle, with Kevin Vickerson moving down to the second unit. Brodrick Bunkley continued to be the first-team nose tackle, while Ty Warren remained with the No. 2 defense …

… Running back Willis McGahee rotated in with the first team, seeing more work there Monday than in his previous three days of practices …

… Belying his fourth-unit place on the depth chart, rookie Julius Thomas continued to work with the first team in two-tight end sets along with first-teamer Daniel Fells …

WEATHER REPORT: With no threat of rain, it was simply hot, with temperatures hovering around 90 degrees under mostly clear skies throughout the session.

NEXT PRACTICE: Tuesday morning at Dove Valley at 8:50 a.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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