Monday's morning session at Dove Valley proved to be the most grueling session of camp so far, two and-a-half hours in full pads. The afternoon session however, provided a bit more levity as Stefan Fatsis, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal who's writing a book on life in the NFL, became the newest member of the Broncos special teams unit.
Decked out in full uniform – number nine in your program for those keeping track, Fatsis was given the opportunity to become a modern day George Plimpton. His only requirement, nail a thirty-yard field goal and practice would be cut short by half-an-hour.
With the pressure squarely on his shoulders Fatsis lined up, surveyed the situation and promptly bounced it off the crossbar. After protests from teammates, the reporter was given another chance, this time five-yards closer, from the twenty-five yard line.
The attempt was shanked wide left, and any thoughts of an early release vanished quickly.
"I think the one thing that we as reporters don't realize is what these guys go through and how difficult it is, how much pressure they're under," Fatsis told the teams' official website. "I only got a tiny little taste of what they're experiencing on a daily basis 12 months a year."
CAMP HIGHLIGHTS – DAY 4
– Make no mistake about it - Javon Walker is the real deal. Through the first four days of camp the twenty-seven year old former Pro Bowl receiver has caught nearly everything thrown his way. Playing alongside Rod Smith, Walker gives Denver the most lethal receiving corps. in recent memory.
– John Lynch notched his first interception of camp, picking off a Bradlee Van Pelt pass.
– Jay Cutler continues to look productive, guiding the third team offense on a well executed touchdown drive, the culmination - a one-yard touchdown plunge by rookie Mike Bell. The score came on the heels of four consecutive third down conversions.
– Darrent Williams and Brandon Marshall suffered minor leg injuries but both are expected to return for tomorrow's double sessions. Other who sat out portions of practice included wide receiver Domenik Hixon (foot), wide receiver Todd Devoe (shoulder), safety Sam Brandon (hamstring), offensive tackle Erik Pears (finger) and running back Marty Johnson.
– Actor Josh Hartlett made an appearance at camp today shooting a scene for his upcoming movie "Resurrecting the Champ." Hartlett plays a sports reporter and his assignment – filming an interview with quarterback Jake Plummer.
– Linebacker Al Wilson is having perhaps the best camp of his eight-year career. Working closely with defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, Wilson looks to lead a defense that's gearing up to put considerably more pressure on opposing quarterback than previous seasons.
"I think we're coming along really well," Wilson said. "Guys are really preparing themselves and taking full advantage of every opportunity that coaches are giving them to pass rush. Guys are really looking good. We're not limiting what they can do this year. We'll line up to go get the quarterback. Guys are really having fun, and they seem to be working pretty good at it."
– Of the thousand or so fans that attended today's sessions, one face stood out among the rest – it was the spitting image of rookie quarterback Jay Cutler. Turns out the face belonged to Cutler's father, who was in town to watch his son's first NFL camp.
– Newely acquired tackle Adam Meadows is expected to be in uniform on Tuesday, participating in both practice sessions.
– The defensive backfield of Champ Bailey, Darrent Williams, Domonique Foxworth and Karl Paymah figures to play out huge in 2006. Williams, Paymah and Foxworth are all entering their second season while Bailey, a perennial All-Star, heads into his eighth. While Bailey and Williams are expected to nail down the starting positions, Foxworth and Paymah should see extensive playing time in specialty packages.
CAMP SCHEDULE – TUESDAY, AUG. 1, 2006
Tuesday's morning session will begin at 8:30 am and run approximately two hours. The afternoon session will begin at 3:50 p.m. and will conclude at around 5:30. Gates open one hour before each practice and admission for the general is free. Free parking at the is located at the lot on the west side of the practice fields, and is open on a first-come, first-served basis. Non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase at training camp.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.
Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net
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