ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Now this is what we expected.
Five days into training camp, the Broncos finally unveiled the look from which they may end up running a majority of their offensive snaps this year: the no huddle.
And the Broncos could scarcely have begun their rapid-fire, uptempo era of offensive football any better than with the first play of the no-huddle period: with Peyton Manning finding Eric Decker on a deep post route between cornerback Tracy Porter and safety Rahim Moore. Decker had a step on Porter and Moore arrived as he should, but neither could do anything to prevent the throw or the 40-yard catch.
The plays that followed weren’t quite as dramatic, but the only times that Manning’s passes were incomplete were when Demaryius Thomas dropped a pass and Lance Ball lost his grip on another because of a timely Moore hit near the right sideline.
“It’s so smooth, man,” said offensive tackle Chris Clark. “He rolls through it. ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,’ and you look across the ball and see that the defense is tired. I love that.”
“I think everyone was very comfortable,” added tight end Jacob Tamme, who got accustomed to Manning’s no-huddle work in Indianapolis.
Every offensive player must endure some degree of adjustment, which will only increase as the Broncos expand their no-huddle work. Adam Weber and Brock Osweiler also ran the no-huddle; each went 1-of-2 in their stints, with Weber finding D’Andre Goodwin and Osweiler hitting fellow Arizona State product Gerell Robinson on a short pass.
“There was lot of information going on. A lot of stuff that goes into great detail,” Osweiler said.
“There’s a lot of information, a lot of stuff in college that you can kind of get away with you can’t get away with anymore. You truly need to know where everybody is on the field, everybody’s assignments, motions, alerts.”
And in the no-huddle, you have to know them faster — on defense, as well.
“It gets you ready for getting the calls in quicker from the coaching staff and relaying it to us and going out there and playing,” said Moore. “So today was a great experience for us to have a real-life situation so we can get ready for (the Aug. 4 scrimmage at Sports Authority Field at Mile High).”
- Between the two-minute drill and more aggressive defensive calls, the Broncos had clearly moved beyond the rudimentary work of the previous four days. “We had a pretty good day’s work as far as starting off with dog and blitz early, especially on third down,” Broncos coach John Fox said. Joe Mays, Robert Ayers, Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, Cyril Obiozor, Jeremy Beal and Jason Hunter all disrupted pass plays at various junctures Monday.
- Running back Knowshon Moreno took handoffs in a team period for the first time since tearing his ACL at Kansas City last November. Most of Moreno’s touches came on passes out of the backfield Monday.
- At quarterback, the backup shuffle continued, with each of the three reserves up second behind Manning depending on the drill. The results were much the same as previous days; Weber and Caleb Hanie struggled to find consistency and got flustered under pressure, while Osweiler was hit or miss but delivered some eye-catching passes. If Hanie or Weber don’t become more settled, the No. 2 job could be Osweiler’s to lose.
- The top four wide receivers appear to have broken away from the pack: Decker, Thomas, Andre Caldwell and Brandon Stokley.
- Tyler Gresham delivered a pair of crowd-pleasing catches, including one that saw him make a diving catch deep up the sideline from Weber.
- While Decker’s catch in the two-minute drill drew an ovation, his day wasn’t perfect. Earlier in practice, he dropped a sure touchdown pass from Manning on a deep route up the left sideline in a one-on-one drill.
- Thomas and Champ Bailey had some intriguing one-on-one duels. The receiver got the better of Bailey on an out pattern to the right sideline from Manning, but lost out later when Manning’s pass for Thomas held up in the air just long enough for Bailey to catch up and nearly intercept it.
- Right tackle Orlando Franklin was held out with a concussion. Expect the Broncos to be cautious with Franklin’s return given the league’s focus on post-concussion safety.
- Defensive tackle Justin Bannan (calf) and safety Quinton Carter (hamstring) also sat out practice with their injuries. Carter hasn’t practiced since Friday; Bannan had some repetitions in team drills Saturday
- Defensive end Jamie Blatnick took part in the team portion of practice for the first time at training camp. The undrafted rookie had been grappling with an ankle injury.
- On the grassy knolls, the attendance Monday was 4,271 — just 172 shy of the franchise record for Dove Valley practices set on Saturday. Through five days, the Broncos have drawn 20,006 fans — an average of 4,001 per session, meaning that their average is 898 fans higher than their previous all-time Dove Valley record (3,103 fans on Aug. 1, 2010).
- Offensive lineman Chris Clark spelled the injured Franklin at first-team right tackle.
- Cornerback Chris Harris worked at nickelback for Drayton Florence at times Monday morning.
- Guard Chris Kuper continues to have his snaps limited as he completes his recovery from his leg and ankle injury. Manuel Ramirez has filled in for Kuper at right guard.
- Danny Trevathan saw some work in a three-linebacker set with the first team during a seven-on-seven period. His previous first-team work had almost exclusively come in nickel packages.
- During the evening walk-through, the Broncos gave Derek Wolfe a look at defensive tackle in a nickel pass-defense alignment. They also worked Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard together at linebacker in the package. Expect defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to continue experimentation like this as camp progresses.
- C.J. Davis worked as the No. 2 center behind J.D. Walton.
- Pleasant conditions greeted the Broncos Monday, with temperatures rising from 70 to 81 degrees during the two-hour, 40-minute session.
- After a day off, the Broncos return to the field Wednesday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. MDT. The gates open at 1:20 p.m.