After days of rain showers the heat was back at the Denver Broncos training camp, and I don't mean just the weather. The real hitting has finally begun. The fans filed in by the hundreds for their first taste of hard hitting football since last year, when the Broncos were bounced out of the playoffs at the hands of the Colts. You could feel the intensity, not just in the fans, but in the players and coaches alike. There seemed to be an almost game like atmosphere in the air.
From the beginning it was apparent that the defense had been waiting for this day all week. When the number one offense and number one defense started running their 1st and 10 packages, John lynch looked like a man possessed. On two consecutive plays Lynch raced up the field to fill the hole and lay bone jarring hits on second year running back Tatum Bell. The offense fired back with the insertion of hard nosed running back Mike Anderson, who promptly exploded through the line looking for defenders to hit. The offense also took advantage of over pursuit by the defense, by running some play action that seemed to leave Darius Watts and Ashley Lelie open on crossing routes.
Then it was time for the main event, goal line, where the intensity seemed to almost boil over. The first team offense went against the second team defense; the result was a prompt and efficient score. Then it was the first team defense's turn to go up against the second team offense, where with a steady chant of defense from the guys on the side lines, stood strong and kept the offense from scoring.
Shannahan was impressed with the play of both number one teams during the drill. "It's a good period to have, you're always hoping you don't have any injuries, unfortunately we had one today" Shannahan stated after the practice. The injury to which Shannahan referred, was a second degree sprain of the MCL by Mario Fatafehi, the early prognosis is 1-3 weeks. Fatafehi is the second defensive linemen to be injured this week.
Jake Plummer seemed to be limping towards the end of practice, "he might have got hit or a little jolt, so hopefully its just a little scare issue." Shannahan said after being asked about Jake's health.
After the goal line drills were done, the players took off their pads and started running through some drills with sloth like enthusiasm. Shannahan realized that the intensity had dropped, and promptly brought the team together, fired off some words of encouragement, and made them put the pads back on. Shannahan felt that the team "finished strong" however after losing some concentration.
Sunday marks the first day the Broncos have had off since training camp opened, with a two-a-day scheduled for Monday. On Tuesday the team will practice once then leave for Houston, where they will practice against the Texans next week. They open up their preseason schedule on the road against Houston on Aug. 13.
Additional contributions from Dianne Harrison and Mishka Char
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