Fans back in the stands, DT back on the field at Broncos training camp
By Johnny Hart
Running back C.J. Anderson noticed the more than 4,000 orange and bluers down at the Broncos’ Dove Valley headquarters … err the UC Health Training Center … during Friday’s late-morning practice.
It wasn’t hard to notice the throngs of fans who showed up Day One of Denver’s training camp; by some reports, they started lining up in the middle of the night.
“They give us the energy to get us to go when we’re tired. They’re clapping and giving us the energy we need,” Anderson said. “You’ve got to love Broncos Country.”
It had been two years since fans could watch camp, missing out last year as the team built it’s new indoor facility.
It had only been an offseason since Demaryius Thomas saw the field at the team’s facility, but Friday also served as a welcoming back for the Broncos wide receiver.
Two weeks after inking a five-year, $70 million deal, DT hit the field
Head coach Gary Kubiak said Thomas had some catching up to do mentally, and that he’d be eased in physically.
Thomas only participated in the first 20 minutes of practice before moving off to the side to work with Broncos strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson.
Kubiak, who was hired in January and has not coached Thomas yet, also said he was wide-eyed when he first met the pass catcher.
“He was swimming. He's got a long way to go to catch up mentally. But boy, I'll be honest, I had no idea he was that big,” Kubiak said. “Remember now, I haven't seen him. But he is a big, good-looking guy.”
The club will also ease back defensive lineman Antonio Smith, who also missed much of the offseason while being investigated on claims of sexual child abuse.
No charges have been filed since the claim was filed tothe Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office in November.
Smith was excused from the team during much of the OTAs, but since has been allowed to participate in training camp.
“I really can't speak much on it, but I have faith in the process. I have faith that in the end, it's going to be alright,” Smith said. “I haven't heard a word. I don't have a timetable. I don't know how I should feel about a timetable. (I’ve) never been in a situation before, so I just have to trust the system.”
Smith will be excused from practice Saturday so he can attend a funeral. The rest of the team will be back at it at 10 a.m. for Day Two.
Cecil Lammey Day 1 at Broncos Training Camp
Broncos Training Camp Updates (Audio) 7-31
Elway: Running game 'best friend' late in career, will be Peyton's too
By Johnny Hart
Come tomorrow, the picture will come more into view on how Peyton Manning and new Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak will mesh offensively this season.
But, it’s the eve of training camp. So let the speculation continue.
As veterans reported to their August home at the newly-named UC Health Training Center –– the Broncos headquarters at Dove Valley –– John Elway addressed how the two will work together moving forward in 2015.
Elway, the only man to quarterback a Broncos squad to a Super Bowl victory (twice), said he did so with the running game as his ‘best friend.”
He said he thinks, with Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme in tow, it will be Peyton’s too.
“Obviously, it's going to be a little bit of an adjustment. But you've got two smart, bright offensive football minds that are competitive and want to win,” Elway said of Kubiak and Manning. “There was never, ever a thought in my mind that this was not going to work.”
Manning will be paired with a young group of running backs –– all by 26-year-old Jeremy Stewart are younger than 24 –– and Kubiak said there’s chemistry yet to be developed.
But the prospects of a strong running game, and thusly a good play-action attack, excited one Bronco who usually catches the ball –– Emmanuel Sanders.
“An offense that’s predicated on play-action pass in which I feel from my standpoint, he can utilize my speed there once we get the running game going,” Sanders said. “When you have Peyton Manning out there who can make all the throws, that’s the smartest quarterback in my opinion in the National Football League at managing the game.
“I think that’s a recipe for success.”
Sanders said he was looking forward to seeing how this “stable of running backs” –– naming Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Juwan Thompson and CJ Anderson specifically –– produces in Kubiak’s offense.
Anderson specifically, Sanders said, could flourish in this offense, much like Baltimore’s Justin Forsett did for Kubiak when he was the offensive coordinator for the Ravens last season.
“… (Forsett) had a special year last year. I think with C.J. Anderson taking that place in Kubiak’s offense, it’s going to be a big time year for him if he stays healthy,” Sanders said.
Check the ESPNDenver.com All Access Broncos Training Camp daily for updates from Dove Valley. Follow Johnny Hart on Twitter (@JohnnyHart7). Check out ESPN Denver on Twitter (@ESPN_Denver), Instagram (@ESPNDenver), Facebook (ESPN Denver), and SnapChat (ESPNDenverRadio).