Jordan Taylor looked good again in practice today. He’s very long (6-foot-5.5, 210 pounds) but slender. He seems to have one gear right now, and it takes him a few strides to get to it. Even so, he’s got hands like Velcro. If he can make it on special teams, he’s got a good shot. He’ll be going against a tough group: Jordan Norwood, Bennie Fowler, Andre Caldwell (don’t ask me why) and several others. Denver especially needs a returner to also handle wide receiver.
Cody Latimer’s time at Duke with Peyton Manning continues to show with Latimer’s performance in camp. He’s made the most of the time Demaryius Thomas sat out with his contract issues. Cody ended today’s practice with a catch on a crossing route, beating safety Darian Stewart.
Someone who looks and sounds like Bill Kollar has lit a major fire under Sylvester Williams. Yesterday, he was practically tossing centers aside. Second-year pro Matt Paradis stood up to him best. Today, Sly was at it again, while learning the entire defensive line’s intricacies. With a snap-response that’s half the NFL average, he’s using every ounce of his 320-pound weight to best advantage.
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Denver has added undrafted rookie tackle Charles Sweeton to replace Connor Rains, who they waived/injured today. Ryan Harris took reps at left tackle with the ones, as they rotate through to get work at all positions for each tackle. Michael Schofield has been impressing at right tackle, although Ryan Harris also took snaps there today.
Coach Gary Kubiak wants to see every tackle at every position (including swing tackle) before considering his final group. Schofield’s footwork has gotten much better. With Louis Vasquez next to him, the strongside might be the best side to be running on. Ty Sambrailo and Ben Garland have also been blocking well for the run.
Speaking of Vasquez, he’s high on new rookie G/C Max Garcia. Louis says that Garcia can become an ‘elite’ lineman with time and hard work. I don’t argue with Vasquez--not in the same room, at any rate. Garcia is currently backing up Louis at RG. Garcia may end up fighting with Ben Garland for the starting position at LG. Garland won’t relinquish that easily.
Play-action went very well today. Connecting wasn’t always as strong as it needs to be (it’s early), but the receivers were frequently open down the seam. Play-action is Peyton Manning’s strongest suit--he’s been the top QB in the league at that option. Having the running game dangerous enough that it can’t be ignored makes play-action just that much more effective. It wears out the defense, too.
C.J. Anderson says he’s currently 218 pounds. Montee Ball is pushing him for the starter’s slot, but both players are showing well. Montee is working on making contact and getting his feet moving again. Anderson had this to say today.
“It shouldn't be on the coach to tell us what to do. At the end of the day, this is a kid’s game and we love what we're doing. So we've got to go out there and show that love. Show that passion, no matter if it's a practice or a game."
Solomon Patton will have to earn a receiver’s slot if he wants to play returner for Denver this year. Despite a drop yesterday that got him pulled, he’s generally playing the position well. Whether he can be effective as a receiver is a question that’s yet to be answered. He pulled in a nice touchdown pass today.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak is frustrated with his team making increasing mistakes later in practice. It’s a matter of both physical and mental conditioning. It’s good to see his emphasis on it now. John Fox never managed to pare down the constant errors that lost key games to Denver. Champions don’t make those.
Although Kayvon Webster has played some safety, Denver has him at cornerback right now. It’s a deep, effective squad. When your best option is to throw at Bradley Roby, you’re playing a tough defense.
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