Notes from an OTA: June 4

Brandon Stokley’s deep catch from Peyton Manning was just one highlight from a relatively eventful OTA session at Broncos headquarters.

Brandon Stokley

STOKLEY: ... spilt the secondary for the longest play of the day.

Noting the day …

  • Deep passes weren’t the only point of emphasis on Monday; the Broncos spent much of the practice in goal-line and red-zone packages. Perhaps the most notable play in those periods came at the end of a two-minute drill possession by the first-team offense, when Peyton Manning dusted off the Dan Marino fake spike-then-throw play used to send the Dolphins past the New York Jets 18 years ago. Manning froze the defense before coolly hitting Eric Decker in the end zone. “It’s good those things are happening here in OTAs when nobody’s keeping score and we can learn those lessons now instead of later,” coach John Fox said. “It was a lesson well learned.”
  • Cornerback Champ Bailey insisted after practice that the play was dead. “I heard a whistle, definitely,” Bailey said. ” ut it’s still one of those plays that you’ve got to be ready for it, because he’ll take advantage of that.”
  • Bailey jumped a Manning pass early in practice for an interception that he returned for a touchdown. “Too bad y’all are not out here all the time. You’d see a little more of that,” Bailey told the media. “We’ve had our share of turnovers, and they’ve had their share.”
  • Wide receiver Greg Orton made one of the nicest grabs of the morning, a leaping catch near the right sideline in traffic of a pass from Adam Weber. The pass was slightly off target, but was delivered with nice velocity. In general, Weber’s arm looks stronger than it did during his rookie training camp last summer.
  • Among the Broncos taking their turns on kickoff returns were wide receiver Matt Willis, running back Ronnie Hillman, wide receivers Andre Caldwell and Eric Page and cornerback Coryell Judie. The potential for work on returns could help Willis separate himself from a pack of wide receivers grappling for spots beyond expected starters Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

LINEUP NOTES:

  • Brandon Stokley was back at his familiar slot receiver position, catching multiple passes from Manning during team and seven-on-seven work, including a deep toss during the two-minute drill period that beat Moore, Chris Harris and Mike Adams.
  • Rahim Moore worked with the first unit Monday, leaving Quinton Carter, his replacement last year, with the second team. Fox and Adams are among those who have spoken highly of Moore’s offseason work this season. “It’s a comfort level,” Fox said. “He appears to be way more comfortable than he was last season.”
  • The flexibility extended to other spots in the secondary; cornerback Harris was the first nickelback on Monday after being the sixth defensive back in the group in recent weeks.
  • Weakside linebacker D.J. Williams was not on the field Monday. Wesley Woodyard took his spot on the first team. Kicker Matt Prater (unsigned franchise tender) and defensive tackles Derek Wolfe (academic calendar) Ty Warren were also not at practice. Nothing is mandatory until minicamp begins July 12. “I would anticipate we have full participation (then),” Fox said.
  • Sealver Siliga continued to work on the first team at defensive tackle next to Justin Bannan. Kevin Vickerson, who saw some first-team work two weeks ago, was with the second unit.

NEXT:

Our next glimpse at the Broncos will be during their minicamp June 12-14. Players will talk to the media in the media room at Broncos headquarters the rest of this week, but the practices will be closed.

 

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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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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the info Andrew.

    Honestly, I know the passing game is more impressive, already, than it has been in some time – but how does Peyton Manning look to you? Does he look rusty, especially on the deep throws?

    Just wondering…I know it’s really, really early…

    • The best aspect of Manning on Monday was that when he missed, he missed long, and the passes arrived with zip. Each was at least a near-perfect spiral. Obviously, one isn’t going to expect him to go 65 yards on the fly, but for the length of deep passes he’ll be asked to throw this season, he seemed fine.

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