Stay in touch with all the latest happenings from Training Camp 2007 as Syndicated Columnist Michael John Schon gives us the lowdown on who's hot - who's not and where the team is headed as they gear up for the regular season.
Getting up to be somewhere by 8:30 in the morning is wrong on so many levels....
The Broncos receiving corps. took a hit this morning - rookie Domenik Hixon popped his right shoulder and was pulled to the sidelines for the typical ice pack shoulder wrap. Initial reports are a first-degree separation, but nobody's taking any chances - an MRI is scheduled for later this afternoon.
Others on the injury front include linebacker Ian Gold who sat out both sessions today with back spasms. Brandon Stokley, Matt Lepsis and offensive tackle Adam Meadows. are delegated to one session per day as a precaution. Still no word yet on Rod Smith, Brandon Marshall or Tony Scheffler - all three were placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
.... With Hixon down for the session David Kircus took over with the first team. In all likelihood this is Kircus' last shot at a roster spot. Getting tagged with assault charges for pummeling a guy's face after he asks you to leave his party generally doesn't sit too well with the head coach - then again neither does dropping the rock.
"David shows flashes, Shanahan told reporters. "He's a little inconsistent. He drops the ball a few too many times, but he does come up with the big play. That consistency dictates whether or not you get a chance to play come game time. But David does show flashes and hopefully that consistency will improve and if it does improve he will have a chance to be on the football team." Key word here is "chance" to be on the football team - don't hold your breath)
.... Backup QB Patrick Ramsey kind of reminds me of this past season of ‘24' - Pretty much OK - I'm not ready to bail on it yet - but on the other hand I'm not real impressed either. Considering the alternatives I'll deal with it - Instinct tells me Shanahan's going to roll with two QB's on the roster (Cutler and Ramsey) with Preston Parson resuming duties in Siberia (practice squad).
.... From the ‘It Pays to be a Veteran' file - RB Travis Henry sat out the afternoon practice so he could rest.
Ok, so I guess were stepping up the intensity on Day Two - Nate Webster blows up again - laying one out on WR Brian Clark as he came across the middle. For a spit second I could have sworn I heard somebody's spleen pop. Give them credit though - they both manned up without missing a beat.
.... "D" Coordinator Jim Bates is almost unreal - it's amazing to watch this guy interact with players twice his body size. Andrew Mason touched on this in his blog for the team's website, but this could prove to be the biggest off-season move Denver made this year.
.... Speaking of pickups - Dre Bly nabbed a couple of passes during the early session - the first one during one on one drills as he beat out 6'3 David Terrell for a jump ball in the end zone - the second coming off a Patrick Ramsey tipped pass linebacker D.J. Williams got his hands on. It's almost scary to think about having Champ Bailey and Dre Bly in the same backfield - brilliant move by Shanahan.
.... Brandon Stokley's making some nice strides - he may not have the system down just yet but he's working his way toward being a viable option as the No. 2 receiver. The big question is if the kid can stay healthy. Three separate stops on Injured Reserve, including last year's ruptured Achilles tendon with the Colts, and you've got to wonder if he's not an accident waiting to happen. The plus side is the fact he's got four AFC South titles as well as two Super Bowls under his belt.
"He's a wealth of experience," Mike Shanahan told reporters after the morning session. "He's so knowledgeable and has been in some really good systems with some really good quarterbacks so he can help me out a lot. You like to have a guy like that, that you can be confident in him, be able to throw the ball to him in any situation."
.... He may be thirty-seven years old, but nobody splits the uprights better than Jason Elam, nailing ten out of ten field goals during situational drills in the afternoon session. Todd Sauerbrun looks like a lock for punting/kicking duties with return duties still a tightly cointested race between Domenik Hixon, David Kircus, Quincy Morgan and Marquay McDaniel.
Quote of the Day
"I saw it. Nate's always popping in there and making big plays. I'm just surprised his helmet stayed on. It usually pops off."
-- Jay Cutler comments on Nate Webster's attempt to decapitate Brian Clark during morning drills
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of one of the true legends of the game - Bill Walsh, who passed away on Monday after a long bout with leukemia. Simply put - no one has had more of an impact on coaching styles and philosophies than the soft spoken innovator of the West Coast offense. He will be missed…
After spending the past few weeks covering PETA's crucifiction of Michael Vick and the NBA's "Referee's Gone Wild" embarrassment, it was kind of relaxing to return to the friendly confines of Dove Valley - home to Broncos Camp 2007.
Sure, it doesn't have all the glamour of a federal indictment, but then again what does?
Ninety-three players in camp, thirty-five of which are new and more coaching changes than even Mike Shanahan can remember - you gotta love the NFL.
On to the highlights - Jay Cutler connects with WR Javon Walker - Javon Walker connects with LB Nate Webster - and the entire Broncos Organization hold their collective breath until both appear to be fine. Walker should play out to be a huge factor in Denver's offensive scheme this year and the idea of an injury on the first day of practice was enough to make a record crowd of over 1,900 grow eerily silent.
....Rookie defensive end Marcus Thomas may not be a lock to make the final roster but the dude has got some moves. Cheered on by teammates the 6'3, 300+ lb. lineman stripped off his jersey and busted out a beautiful run-skip-cartwheel-back flip - a solid 9.5 on the scorecard and good enough to grab the attention of the only guy at camp that really matters - head coach Mike Shanahan.
"I actually saw it in college once and when he did his workouts for the pro scouts. A lot of his coaches were there. During that time, he started his workouts doing that so I had kind of anticipated it. Most of our players never see that, so they are a little bit surprised. He did a round off and a back flip, not many guys can do that at 325 pounds."
....Love him or hate him - Todd Saurerbrun rocks - eighty-yards on a single punt with a hang time of over five seconds was enough to make even the head coach take notice.
"I have been watching him since he has been here," Shanahan told reporters. "One of his punts had almost six seconds of hang time. He punted extremely well and he has had a good off season program. Hopefully he can keep it up."
(That's pretty much the biggest compliment Mike Shanahan gives anyone this early into training camp).
....New defensive coordinator Jim Bates is awesome - the guy's got a voice like a drill sergeant and isn't afraid to use it. It's a stretch for some of the veterans that were used to the more laid back style of Larry Coyer, but it works for Champ Bailey.
"I love it. He's loud and rowdy and he just wants perfection on every play and I love that. I demand perfection on myself and my teammates and the guys around me."
Pretty hard to gauge anything from the first day, but without a doubt 2007 will rise or fall on the arm of Jay Cutler - a second-year starter who has exactly five NFL games under his belt.
It doesn't get any better than this.
Be sure and check back daily to get the latest updates and highlights and injury reports from Broncos Camp 2007.
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
Broncos Update Community Forums