Schon: Shaking it Off

Sydicated Columnist Schon gives us his News and Notes from Day One of the Denver Broncos Training Camp 2005.

The first day of Training Camp is generally the time to shake off the rust, the dust and the extra pounds gained over the off-season, but after sixteen practices throughout the various mini-camps, the Denver Broncos expectations were set slightly higher.

On the defensive side of the ball those expectations were met, offensively they've still got a ways to go.

"We have been putting in our offense and I think this is the fourth time, so we got beat up on by the defense a little bit this evening," said Jake Plummer. "I think we have a great defense, and it will do nothing but make us better. What we have to do is come out here tomorrow morning and make it count. If they come out here and do it to us again, then we have a problem."

How many Blonds does it take –
For backup quarterback Danny Kanell the day was hard enough, starting off with a vain attempt to lead the team in exercises with an 80's rendition of the robot, to suffering the brunt of jokes with his newly bleached blonde hair.

Kanell found himself enduring comparisons ranging from a mid-life Scott Peterson (pretrial days) to, my personal favorite, Johnnie Quest, the 1960's cartoon character.

"Kind of my wife's idea," Kanell said. "She said, 'Why not?' You know, training camp makes you do crazy things. If I can give guys a few laughs with it and just come out and have a good time, it's only hair, right? I just hope it grows back, because I don't have that much to work with."

Kanell, who donned the golden dome, had a rough afternoon, throwing three interceptions as part of an offense that got thoroughly dominated by the Broncos revamped defense.

Although it's still early, Bradlee Van Pelt's performance as the third/fourth string quarterback continued to impress head coach Mike Shanahan, giving further proof to the fact that somewhere, somehow, there is a spot in the NFL for the surfer-dude mentality of the former CSU Ram.

A Hall of Famer still earning a Spot –
He may be one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game of football, but in Broncos Camp 2005 he's another receiver trying to earn a roster spot in an already crowded position.

"I always compete," Rice told reporters. "Even back in the glory days when I was with the ‘Niners, I felt like when I went to camp I had to prove myself all over again. The only thing is, I was looking at the roster and it said wide receivers and I looked and there was a big 21 (His 21st NFL season) there. That scared me to death compared to all those other guys."

Despite the age, despite the abilities, Denver would make the biggest mistake in the history of the NFL to let a receiver of his magnitude go.

The presence he brings to the field, the locker room and the franchise in general is immeasurable.

Clarett's Unfulfilled Debut –
It seemed like forever for Maurice Clarett to finally reach the NFL, but it only took one day to for the young rookie to realize he's still got a long way to go, finding himself trapped behind the line of scrimmage on four different occasions, fumbling once during the afternoon's practice.

"I know that I still have a lot of work to do," said the former Ohio State standout. "There are definitely plenty of things that I do not know and I could also be in better condition, especially with controlling my weight. Right now, I know that the best thing that I can do is focus on this next month and practice hard every single day. I am not going to look into tomorrow or anything else. I am going to focus in the meetings and learn as much as I can in practice."

Playing under a league minimum contract, laden with incentives, Clarett will no doubt make the roster, but with a backlog of quality veterans at the running back position, playing time may be quite hard to come by.

"We all know that everyone has to get their reps and there are five running backs. You figure out that you may get one rep all practice, so you better do your best in that rep and just continue to work on it on and off the field."

Camp Notes –
Third round draft pick Domonique Foxworth made quite an impression on head coach Mike Shanahan with a nice interception on the sideline, also breaking up a several passes headed his direction.

"He had a big-time play," Shanahan told reporters. "So that was nice, not only to see him breaking for the ball but actually catching the ball. It's about guys making plays. You get some young guys that are there, some older guys that are there, but they don't make the play. Ultimately, the guys that make the plays play."

WR Jerry Rice sat out of the afternoon practice, one of among several veterans that have been granted the luxury of one-a-days in an attempt to keep fresh and reduce the potential for injury.

When asked about Rice's absence Shanahan quipped it was completely "unexcused." After the laughter had died down he explained that "We've got a couple people today who are doing one-a-days. I think we've got 11 guys tomorrow. It's really based on some of the injuries that they've had. Most of the guys have had a good off-season program. We don't want to overwork them. So you'll see more guys tomorrow. It's hard to keep these guys out, but we're doing what we think is in the best interest of the team. Obviously, we've got to rest them a little bit more than they want to."

BRONCOS CAMP SCHEDULE -
Saturday, July 30
8:30 a.m. (Shorts) - 3:50 p.m. (Shells)
Sunday, July 31
8:30 a.m. (Pads) -3:50 p.m. (Shorts)
Monday, August 1
8:30 a.m. (Pads) -3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)
Tuesday, August 2
8:30 a.m. (Pads) - 3:50 p.m. (Shorts)
Wednesday, August 3
8:30 a.m. (Pads) -3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)
Thursday, August 4
8:30 a.m. (Pads - 3:50 p.m. (Shorts)
Friday, August 5
8:30 a.m. (Pads - 3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)
Saturday, August 6
8:30 a.m. (Pads)
Monday, August 8
8:45 a.m. (Pads) - 3:50 p.m. (Shorts)
Tuesday, August 9
8:45 a.m. (Pads)
Wednesday, August 10 -15
in Houston
Tuesday, August 16
8:30 a.m. (Pads) - 3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)
Wednesday, August 17
8:30 a.m. (Pads) - 3:50 p.m. (Shorts)
Thursday, August 18
8:30 a.m. (Pads) - 3:40 p.m. (Special Teams)

*Practice schedule subject to change

Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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