9:15 am: Things are just getting started, but you can tell who is going to be on the sidelines or doing no more than light, no-contact drills by the players who are wearing shorts instead of their full uniform. MLB Gary Brackett is a new addition to that group, and Rob Morris is out with the first-team defense due to whatever ailment has sidelined Brackett from this morning's practice. DE Jonathan Welsh is wearing a pretty hefty leg brace. Others who apparently won't be participating in the morning practice that I've spotted so far include DE Josh Thomas, LB Kendyll Pope, and DT Montae Reagor. The good news is LB Gilbert Gardner is back in full uniform and was doing some work with the special teams units and the second-team defense. He looks much better than he did yesterday. Safety Gerome Sapp and LB Chris Laskowski have also returned to action, both in full uniform, doing some work with special teams.
9:55 am: More injured players came out to the field late wearing shorts and are watching from the sidelines: Von Hutchins, Jeff Saturday, Raheem Brock, Donald Strickland, Dylan Gandy, Brandon Stokley, and Troy Walters. QB Travis Brown is off to a good start with his passes, but Montiese Culton has dropped a few early in the practice. CB Marlin Jackson scraped his elbow, but got it wrapped up and returned to action. Marvin Harrison, as usual, is leaving most of the defenders in the dust with some terrific moves. Ryan Lilja continues to work at center with Jeff Saturday sidelined. Receivers Brad Pyatt and Aaron Moorehead have both made some tough catches with the second-team unit. On the other side of the field, Gilbert Gardner, Mike Doss and Gerome Sapp are all working with the second team defense. Chris Laskowski is also getting some reps with the second-team defense.
10:55 am: Dwight Freeney is amongst those not practicing, so his much anticipated return continues, although all the reports we've received indicate that he will be out there sometime this week. However, rookie LB Tyjuan Hagler and Keyon Whiteside are both doing some light workouts with trainers, and Hagler looks surprisingly mobile for this point in his rehab from his sports hernia injury. Whiteside looks a bit stiffer and tentative in his movements. The team has been working on goal-line plays and short-yardage situations. Nick Rogers is getting a lot of work at the right defensive end position with Freeney still sidelined. Since my last report, there have been a few big hits worth mentioning. Gilbert Gardner unloaded on fullback J.T. Wall, and the hit appeared to include some helmet-to-helmet contact. On the play before that, Wall laid out Marlin Jackson on a block during a running play. And although Cato June socked Ben Hartsock with a big hit, the big tight end absorbed it and stayed upright, leaving June behind on the ground. Defensive lineman David Porter appears to have an inflatable boot on his right leg. Nick Harper just recently appeared and is in shorts, observing practice. Mike Vanderjagt is kicking them deeper today as he practices kickoffs..
12:15 pm: They just wrapped up the morning session a bit ago, so here are some of the highlights since my last report. The team worked on some 7-on-8 drills and were working on some basic plays, but one that stood out was a nice interception by second-team safety Waine Bacon on a Jim Sorgi pass. Both the first and second teams moved into midfield play drills. On Peyton Manning's first throw in these drills, safety Joseph Jefferson moved into position to pick off the pass. Robert Mathis, who wasn't working with the first team in the short yardage drills earlier saw more action with the first-team during these plays. Reggie Wayne grabbed a nice 20-yard touchdown pass across the middle from Manning. DT Jason Stewart was getting through and putting some nice pressure on the quarterback. Marvin Harrison pulled in a roughly 30-yard catch on one play. But when Manning tried to get the ball to Harrison in the end zone, CB Jerome Dennis did a nice job of breaking that attempt up to prevent the score. Once the team finished the practice, most headed off the field with the exception of a few players. Wide receiver Aaron Moorehead, some of the wide receivers further down on the depth chart and all of the tight ends stuck around with Manning for some additional work. QB Tom Arth stayed out on the field to work with rookie running backs Anthony Davis and Vashon Pearson.
4:15 pm: Not a lot to report yet from the afternoon practice, but a few players are watching drills instead of participating, including LB Gilbert Gardner who was on the field during the morning practices. Joining him on the sidelines watching were safeties Joseph Jefferson, Daryl Dixon, and WR John Standeford.
Afternoon Practice Wrap-Up: The team scrimmaged, starting the possessions around midfield early in the afternoon session. Marvin and Peyton put on a show, connecting left and right using the sidelines very effectively. One sideline route resulted in roughly a 20-yard pass completion and another deeper than that. Reggie Wayne pulled in a very nicely executed touchdown pass from Peyton. During one of the second team offense's possessions, Jim Sorgi was intercepted by defensive lineman Sean Guthrie, who returned it for a touchdown.
The team then moved on to full-field practice with downs and chains. Early in that segment of practice, Manning was intercepted by safety Waine Bacon -- his second pick of the day. Manning was trying to hit Dallas Clark on a deep pass and the ball seemed to be slightly underthrown. Bacon adjusted quickly and made a nice play on it. The only other real highlight from that portion of the practice was when DT Jason Stewart recovered a fumble off of a botched lateral when the third-team offense and defense were on the field..
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