Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos 2016 Training Camp Notebook: Day 21

The Broncos and the 49ers squared off in a joint practice today. There were a couple scuffles, a lot of interceptions, and one dodged bullet. Take a look.

Day 21 of camp. The Denver Broncos welcomed the visiting San Francisco 49ers to a new time zone, an additional mile of altitude, and a different football culture.

For the second straight week, there's a light at the end of the tunnel Saturday night when both teams lace 'em up and play a semi-real game at TBD Field at Mile High. Before that happens, there's still some drills to be done and reps to passed around to seasoned vets and hungry rookies. “If we were playing an entire game it would probably be a lot more interesting," running back C.J. Anderson said. "Who knows how many plays we’re going to play. It’s definitely like getting the answers to the test. A lot of things that they’re doing out here, they’re not going to change. That’s tendencies and characteristics. If a person blitzes a certain way, that’s the way that he is going to blitz.”

Joint practices preceding a game serve almost as a comprehensive study guide to a big test. The Broncos were cramming hard today. Let's see how they did.

This Aggression Shall Not Stand

As is often the case whenever 180 or so professional football players gather together at once, a quick skirmish or two might break out. That was indeed the case today. Center James Ferentz (who apparently has the temper of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas), center Dillon Day, and a few other Broncos got into it with 49ers linebacker Aaron Lynch and some more of the red and gold. Hands briefly started to get thrown around, but the fight was quelled.

On another occasion, tackle Donald Stephenson and linebacker NaVorro Bowman began to jaw a little and eventually got physical before Matt Paradis stepped in and played the role of peacemaker.

“There are a couple situations," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "You always adjust to how each team practices. I thought it was pretty good. Usually when they start talking too much, that's what causes things, not so much the football. I thought we held up pretty good on both sides.”

All things considered, two minor incidents isn't too concerning in the grand scheme of things. If anything, it'll insure that the competitive juices are flowing on Saturday.

Wolfe Goes Down

The Broncos have been shelled with injuries recently. Defensive end Vance Walker tore his ACL on Monday, creating some issues on the defensive line. Today, the defensive line situation almost went code red.

Derek Wolfe went down in practice and was helped off to the training room.

He rolled his ankle, so we'll get it looked at here after lunch," Kubiak said. "I was on the other field, so I didn't watch the play. My understanding is that he rolled his ankle.” 

The Broncos could ill afford another loss up front. Fortunately, it doesn't look serious; the MRI came back clean and his status for Saturday is uncertain. Exhale.

Pick Your Poison

The 49ers quarterback situation is currently less than ideal, to say the least. After Thad Lewis tore his ACL against Houston and Colin Kaepernick's right arm reportedly fell off, the depth chart has been reduced to the trio of Blaine GabbertChristian Ponder, and Jeff Driskel.

Things didn't necessarily go well. Todd DavisLorenzo DossKayvon Webster, and Justin Simmons each had an interception of a Niner QB.

“I was playing a half field and I saw one vertical," Simmons said. "Knowing your leverage and working with the dime safety, playing off of him, made it easy to make a quick read off of the quarterback and the route to make a play off of that.”

The rookie safety out of Boston College has been making quite a few plays, and he's setting himself up to be the No-Fly Zone's third safety this year.

Doss, another player working to get more time this season, has been picking off passes left and right as a part of his stellar sophomore camp.

“It’s just me feeling comfortable my second year," Doss said. "I’m just mentally stronger and physically stronger. I’m just going out there doing my job and working my technique. I’m getting hands on the receivers and playing the ball when it’s in the air.”

There's no doubt Doss has been one of the happiest surprises of camp to this point.

“Ever since I came to the NFL, started playing with these guys and competing my first year, it slowed down," Doss said. "This year is even slower. I’m working my technique and I know what the coaches expect. I know what the players expect. I’m just out here to make plays.”

The Broncos haven't faced very stiff passing competition at this point, but things are looking good in the early stages.

Quarterbacks Dealing

For whatever reason, the Broncos quarterback trio plays well when they get a reprieve from their own defense. Imagine that. Against the 49ers, the quarterbacks were locked in and had one of their best collective performances of the month.

Trevor Siemian, who opened with the ones, slung a deep touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders down the right sideline. Ever the deep threat, Sanders hauled in another deep touchdown from Mark Sanchez.

As they stand right now, each guy was happy with their performance.

Sanchez: “I think I’m right where I want to be. I know I’m competing hard. That’s all I can control. I just have to keep working.”

Siemian: "There's a certain comfort level, whether it's the first group or it's the second group, you're with the same guys. I think that helps.”

Lynch: “I know that when I first got out here, it was spinning and it was moving so fast for me, but it's getting to the point where I can hear the play call and slow it down a little bit and get in the huddle and move past some things quicker.”

None of these guys will ever have to worry about dislocating their shoulders from patting themselves on the back too much, but it's nice to hear them acknowledge their own progress. The head coach agrees.

I thought they did a really good job," Kubiak said. "It's good for them to see different stuff, They were looking at different coverages and those types of things. I thought Paxton did some really good stuff. Mark makes a great play at the end of the end of the two-minute drill. Trevor makes a great throw in the two-minute drill. We got to make the plays, so it's a good competition. They're both becoming really good players, and it's a tough decision for us, but that's a good thing because they're doing their job.”

No one quite knows who will start on Saturday, however.

“We’ll leave it up to coach," Sanchez said. "He handles playing time and depth chart, so we’ll I defer to coach. I’ll be ready to play a quarter, a series, one snap or the whole game. It doesn’t matter.”

The other candidate to start didn't have any answers either.

“That's probably a better question for Kubes," Siemian said.

Might as well ask the only man who can accurately answer that question.

“I'll probably work on that tomorrow," Kubiak said.


Broncos 2016 Training Camp Notebook: Day 20

To get instant Broncos notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE! 

Will Keys is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter @MileHighHuddle and on Facebook.


Mile High Huddle Top Stories