Excitement was in the air; the fans filed in with the hopes of a new season swirling-round in their minds. When the horn went off to signal the start of training camp day one, it was already over 70 degrees.
The heat didn't seem to affect Al Wilson's spirits though; it almost seemed to fuel him as he stood in front of the entire Bronco team screaming motivation at the players. At that time it looked like a football cliché, the hard hitting linebacker, yelling the team down, shouting for them to do their best. Then out of nowhere, with the timing of a stand up comedian, Danny Kanell started leading the team in "break down", which quickly turned into a very bad version of the popular 80's dance the robot.
It was evident this wasn't like the movies, these guys are not emotionless robots, they're also not time bombs ready to explode at the first sign of personal invasion. They are athletes, but it was evident that they were people too. This was my first day of camp coverage and already my eyes are wide open.
Bronco's Training Camp, located at the team's Dove Valley facility opened with the running backs taking hand offs right in front of my eyes. Mike Anderson was running with his normal workman's style, showing only a slight limp from the hamstring injury in 2004. Quentin Griffin, showing no signs of the injury that sidelined him early last year, was cutting very effective, and Tatum Bell's speed was almost too much for the normal eye to perceive, or at very least, appreciate.
The surprise to me when watching the running backs was, the mystery man, Maurice Clarett. Clarett said, "He had a lot of work to do" and "a lot of things he (didn't) know" but to the casual observer it didn't show. He was a lot quicker than was given credit for, and on one occasion he scrambled out of an arm tackle showing he might be all he says he is. After the new incentive laden contract, for his pockets sake, he better hope so. I know my eyes are going to be wide open and squarely on his progress.
Spending most of the morning stunned by the pure athleticism of the offensive players, I moved over to watch the 17 defensive linemen that are in camp for the Broncos this year, and if you want to talk about how television doesn't do these guys justice, there it stood in front of me, 6'5'' 318lbs, Luther Ellis. Ellis went to attack the dummy, which they were supposed to slap and run around, well Ellis slapped the dummy all right, and he almost slapped the thing to DTC.
These men are the biggest, fastest humans I've ever seen. That type of speed combined with footwork and power could only be appreciated in real time.
The focus of day one seemed to be the new acquisitions from the Browns and if they were worth the hassle. From what I saw, Courtney Brown and company were ready to try to prove to everyone that they were. That definitely opened my eyes.
Day one of camp was an eye opener to how NFL guys act, play, and move. This was worth the price of admission, and since there was none, it made it even better.
Also contributing Mishka Char, and Dianne Harrison.
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Day One: Eyes Wide Open
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