Jul 29, 2014 12:45 AM by GRANT MEECH
The Broncos began day five of training camp without Demaryius Thomas as he was still at his grandmother's funeral. He did return for the evening walk through at Dove Valley and will be in attendance on Wednesday's open practice at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The atmosphere on day five was chippy, to say the least. At least four scuffles broke out during the two and a half hour practice session, causing head coach John Fox to end things a little early. It was all in spirit as the players said no bad blood ever carries over into the locker room or back onto the field.
Here are some comments from the Broncos' players after the morning practice:
On Harris Jr.'s timetable
"We haven't put a timetable on it, he is day to day. Today he did not participate and he still remains on PUP."
On live drills
"It was our first live drill today. We did short yards, we had nine reps and as we start getting them ready for live football-we do it in bits and pieces. We will do it again with the goal line and we will do it this weekend. Down at Sports Authority [Field at Mile High], we will do a 12-play per group scrimmage type situation. We are just getting them ready to begin playing games in the preseason."
On today's run game in short yardage situations
"Pretty good. I think, again, it is pretty much a run period and they know it's a run for the most part. You have a little razzle dazzle on the keeper on the one the offense picked up on that third rotation. We are introducing it as far as our installation and I think it builds a little toughness and it is a good way to start your live contact."
On WR Demaryius Thomas
"He is on schedule, he is back in the building and we will just leave it at that."
On tomorrow's day off
"We have things to do. So much of what we do is preparing the team for when they get back and we will have different types of meetings and whatnot. They have worked hard, they have earned it, and it is really good for them. It gives them a day to rest and recover and get back to it on Wednesday."
On if the team need a day off at this point
"I think in the past, even before the CBA agreement, we were pretty cognizant of keeping guys fresh. You are trying to get them battle tested but you got to make sure you have guys to go to battle with. They need that, they added pads for the first time since last February and getting use to caring that weight, their legs and soft tissue get a little sore and need to be rested."
RUNNING BACK MONTEE BALL
On the short yardage situations today
"The [offensive] line did a great job. On the first play I told the offensive line, ‘I have to find a way to get that first down.' I got half a yard. I have to find a way to get another half a yard. Other than that, I was talking to the defensive coordinator (Jack Del Rio) in the weight room, and I told them the defense is doing a great job flying around and making tackles. That's only going to make the offense better."
On the physical play today
"Of course, it's an extremely competitive sport. We're all grown men out here. We understand there is no bad blood in the locker room or out here on the field, so we don't take it into the locker room. When we're out here, we're trying to compete."
On his feelings about full-tackle situations at practice
"It's good. It always feels a little weird at first, getting back to tackle-to-the-ground, but we need it. [Head] Coach [John] Fox does a great job of scheduling when we're going to take each other to the ground and live period because the season is right around the corner."
On how he feels physically right now
"Right now, I feel good. My legs are little heavy but that's expected. Being a pro, you have to be able to take care of your body with a lot of fluids, massages and cold tub."
On the reshuffling of the offensive line
"I like it. I already like it. I liked it as soon as they made the change because I have a lot of faith in those guys up front. They're truly competitive. They're the first ones in to the meetings. They understand that everything goes with them and starts with them up front."
RUNNING BACK KAPRI BIBBS
On how his first training camp is going
"It's going really well. We had our first live short yardage scrimmage today and I think it was good. Defense was out there flying around the offense, but I think our offensive line blocked well. Camp is going now and just flowing."
On how he is adjusting to the NFL speed of game
"A lot of time people say the game gets much faster, but I don't see it that way. I see it as people getting smarter. Defenses are better on their cutback lanes and that is what makes a difference to me. When you get to the NFL, people are more disciplined then they were in college. All the cutbacks and sometimes you get those guys who hit hard on the outside left and then cut it all the way back around to the right, that wont happen in the NFL. The guys here are just smarter."
On how his offensive role has changed from college
"Actually, the offense we had at Colorado State University was very similar to the Denver Broncos offense. Now, it's just time to put your head down and get in that playbook and learn the terminology and the new way they want you to do things here. It's the small details about things that are different from Colorado State."
On how the players are becoming more emotional and heated during practices
"That's just camp life. Guys will butt heads one day, but at the end of the day we are brothers and we are family so we will always come back together. If somebody does something that you don't like, there will be a little 10-second gathering, but after that everyone disperses and that's it. We just say go to the locker room and make sure it gets settled there."
On if the coaches have given advice to help him make the team
"The only things they have really told me are just small details. Everything else I just have to go out there and perform. They haven't told me, ‘You must work on this or that,' but just about the all-around game. I need to be great in every single aspect of the game. That involves catching the ball, running the ball and pass protection, first and foremost, because you know Peyton Manning has to be protected and it has be done well."
DEFENSIVE END MALIK JACKSON
On what he has seen from DE Kenny Anunike so far
"I think he's coming along nicely. [DE] Ware wasn't here today, so he stepped up with the twos. I told him it's his time to shine. It's his job to lose right now. I think he's come along nicely. His pass rushes are nice. His running is nice and getting better. He's doing real well for a rookie."
On what he has seen from DE Quanterus Smith so far
"[Quanterus] is doing real well, too. Last year he didn't play, but right now, he's coming along nicely. Like I said, it's his job to lose because Ware went down. It's his starting job to lose right now, too. I think everybody is coming along nicely, and they're still learning. We're still early in the pads. I think everybody is doing real well."
On his confidence being higher heading into this season
"A little bit. For me, I kind of have that confidence that I can be a good player. I think after this year and next year when I try to assert myself again, just being somebody who can do it year in and year out, I'll have that high confidence in the offseason and in the season. Right now, it's probably moderate. I just want to get back in it and assert myself again and get that confidence."
On hearing ‘Rocky Top' play at practice
"I love it. They need to play it every day. ‘Rocky Top' is awesome. Go Vols!"
LINEBACKER VON MILLER
On it being chippy out at practice today
"It's always like that. That's how it is in training camp, you're grinding out. That's just part of it."
On if the intensity is a good thing
"It happens every year I've been in the league-college and high school too. It's just part of the game and practice. When it gets competitive like that, that's just what it is."
On having a day off tomorrow
"Not me, I've got to do a little bit of rehab tomorrow. I've got a little bit of stuff in the morning, but the afternoon off. So that's nice."
On if it's nice to not have organized practice tomorrow
"I'm still ready to go. That's part of it. I think with the new CBA-you've got to go every six days with a break. I'm ready to go, I'm all for whatever. It's just how I was. I was ready to come to training camp, so it's like, ‘Man, we slow down a little bit.' But we'll be right back in it on Wednesday."
On his health
"In my opinion I feel good. I feel great. I feel like I can do more, but that's just part of it. I'm following [Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos] ‘Greek' and everything that they're telling me to do I'm doing. I'm in a great spot for where I'm at. Every time I'm on this field I critique myself harder than the training staff and the coaches. I feel like I've been doing pretty well, especially with all my assignments. I spent a lot of time in the classroom because I couldn't really go out there and practice during OTAs. A lot of time in the classroom. I'm excited about the playbook. I know the playbook. It's my third year in the playbook and I'm feeling great."
On if it's frustrating to have to hold back due to medical restrictions
"It's not frustrating at all. I'm living. I'm in a great spot. Recovering from an ACL is nothing-I'm out here playing the game I love and I'm feeling great."
On his relationship with his knee brace
"I try not to let my brace be an excuse or a reason why not to do something. It's the brace, it's what I've got to wear. I feel like I can play football without shoulder pads, so I'm not going to let not wearing shoulder pads have me out there like, ‘Man, I can't play football today.' So having the brace on is just part of it. It's what I've got to do."
On the progression of LB Lerentee McCray and DE Quanterus Smith
"I'm excited about the progress that those guys have made. Lerentee and Quanterus, they played in the first sub [package] today and looked great. They had a couple of sacks today and made a lot of plays today. It's relieving knowing that you have guys like that that know the playbook and are ready to go play. In the NFL it's the ‘next man up' mentality and if anything were to happen they'd be ready to go."
On if he's talked with CB Chris Harris Jr. about his injury and rehab process
"I just talked to Chris Harris last night. We talk every day about it. Chris should be ready to go. He's been doing the same rehab that I've been doing and we've been working out the same. He's a month behind me. He's going to see [Orthopedic Surgeon] Dr. [James R.] Andrews a month after I did. What I did on a test he should be able to do that and more, because he's been doing the same stuff that I've been doing. I'm excited to hear back and hear Dr. Andrews' feedback and I know it will all be positive because he's been grinding."
On QB Peyton Manning choosing the University of Tennessee's "Rocky Top" song during stretching
"It was his day to pick the music so it wasn't a surprise to me what it was going to be. It's just a part of it. When it's my day I think you'll be asking other guys about what I played and what they thought about what I played. It was Peyton's day so it was all good."
On if seeing tempers flare at practice is a good thing
"It just shows that everybody is out there competing. Tempers are going to flare. If we were out here practicing and nobody got upset with other guys or everybody was just walking around then I'd start worrying about where we are. But it's just part of it; we've got a lot of guys competing for a lot of spots. We've got a lot of big-time players out there. You've got rookies out there, vets out there, tempers are going to flare. It's just part of it. When stuff happens like that you just break it up and go to the next play."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE MITCH UNREIN
On the team chemistry
"It's just like a brotherhood. These guys, even if they just came here this year, we're around each other so long from offseason workouts to OTAs and now training camp that you really start to gel together. It's great. Obviously not everyone's going to be around once you get down to that 53, but it's great to build those relationships and have those guys as friends for life."
On QB Peyton Manning dancing to "Rocky Top"
"I liked that. I like that song because it reminds me of when Wyoming went out to Tennessee and we beat them, 13-7, believe it or not. I was giving [DE] Malik [Jackson grief] about it. Yeah, they played that song in our locker room for a week straight before we went out there so it was just stuck in my head. But yeah Peyton had a nice dance out there. I was trying to mimic him a little bit but I just couldn't do a good job doing that."
On the defense's progress
"Let's don't get ahead of ourselves. It's the fifth day of training camp. What is it, third day of pads? I mean, it's just one of those things where we're going to have to keep on improving. Our offense is definitely making us a better defense and our defense is making our offense a better offense. We're just trying to get everyone healthy through training camp and then get through these preseason games and just have everyone healthy when it's time to go against the Colts."
On short-yardage situations
"We haven't had an opportunity to tackle full go ever since we started training camp. OTAs we're obviously not in shoulder pads or anything like that. So it's fun to get out here and fire off the ball and you know you can tackle the running back now. You have that little more spark. Even though it's the fifth day and your legs are kind of dragging a little bit, you get some more energy and you fire off the ball and you try to make that play."
On the defensive attitude
"It's just building that attitude, that we're not going to take anything from anybody. It doesn't matter who they are. But at the end of the day, we're all a team. We're all getting along. It's just one of those things, tempers run high when you're out here, you're hot you're tired. Obviously you're banging heads with each other so that gets a little frustrating at times. But we're trying to build a mentality of being one of the hard-nosed defenses in this league. It doesn't come overnight. It's one of those things you have to work on every single day and it's a mental attitude."
On the break coming at a good time
"Yeah I feel like it is. Get our legs back under us. Get some guys healthy that are a little banged and nicked up. So it's definitely going to be worth it. The days aren't too bad when we have one fully padded practice a day. You get a lot of recovery in the afternoons. So I feel pretty good. We have a long way to go so we just have to keep on keeping on."
WIDE RECEIVER WES WELKER
On if he is ready for a day off tomorrow
"Absolutely. We have been working hard and really getting after it this past week and really getting our feet underneath us and we are really making a lot of progress. It has been great but an off day to let us recuperate and get our legs underneath us will be good for us."
On if he welcomes the off day more than the younger guys
"I think they welcome it just as much as I do. I have really been taking care of my body and making sure I am ready for camp and so far so good and hopefully just keep it going."
On his assessment of this offense
"I think we are well beyond where we were at this time last year, but at the same time there is still a lot of work to do and a lot of stuff we need to get better at and will get better at. It just takes time and practice and that is what we need to do. I am excited about where we are at and what we are doing up to this point."
On WR Demaryius Thomas
"I can't speak for when he is going to be back exactly or anything like that but we are anxious to have him back and understand his situation and everything like that and feel for him. Whenever he is ready, he is ready and we know what type of player he is, what type of person he is, and we are ready to have him out here on this football field with us."
On new additions to this offense
"The more weapons you can add to it. Obviously, [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] has made a lot of play out here for us through training camp and is really going to help us this year and we look forward to him being out here. [WR Cody] Latimer, for him it is really just really standing on the offense and really picking everything up and making mistakes and learning from them and different things like that. That is what we get to do at this point."
On if rookies pick his brain through practice
"Yeah. From time to time we talk through things. We talk through routes and I like to hear what they would do on a certain thing and give them my inside on what I do or what I think and a lot of times we are on the same page. Just trying to help each other and sharpen each other up."
On if this offense is less thinking and more reacting
"For sure. Obviously the terminology has become second nature and everything like that so it has become a lot easier to just go out and being able to play and not have to worry about what's this or what's that or anything. Just going out there and doing the best I can."
On TE Julius Thomas last season and how he can improve
"I think you can always improve in this league and always get better. Even when you have a breakout year like he did there are still things you can improve on and get better at and different things like that. So we are really looking for him to grow even more and improve upon what he did last year."
On how old he feels
"I feel good, I really do. I think it is the amount of time you put into it and the amount of work you put into it. This whole off season we cancelled all the trips. If we did go on a trip it was Friday through Sunday and making sure Monday through Friday I was getting the work in and getting the body work and everything I needed to do to get ready for this season."
On if he=can put an age on how old he feels
"I feel good. I do. I can tell you I would love to say I felt like I did when I was 25 but I feel good for what it is. I am excited about this year and this team and what we can accomplish."
On how noticeable is it to not have WR Demaryius Thomas out there
"He is such a key part of our offense and such a specimen out there on the field so it is different but we got to adjust and guys step up and ‘Bubba' (WR Andre Caldwell) is doing a great job of filling in this week and we are anxious to have him back."