ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The incessant roar of stadium raucousness entrapped the Broncos’ practice fields on Thursday morning.
As speakers blasted players with artificial crowd noise, the Broncos created an environment to prepare for the deafening field conditions that they’ll face on the road this season.
On Saturday night in Seattle, they’ll face the real thing.
It’s no secret that the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field has a reputation as one of the loudest venues in the NFL – its noisy acoustics are the reason the Broncos pumped in artificial noise throughout Thursday’s practice.
“You cannot duplicate what we are going to hear Saturday in Seattle,” Manning said. “But, you try to make it as irritating and as frustrating as it possibly can be out here at practice. So when you get to the games you say, I have worked through this before, this is why we have hand signals and the lineman sometimes are having to read lips at times because it is so loud. But, that is why you work through it out here at practice.”
For Manning, the continuous drone of the artificial crowd in practice can be even more disruptive for calling plays and communicating than in actual stadiums.
“The crowd noise goes on the entire time out here at practice,” Manning said. “Sometimes on the road, right after a play there is a little less noise because everybody has to take a sip of their beer or eat their nachos; they can’t yell during that time. They usually get loud 25 seconds to the zero (on the play clock). So, we probably make it tougher out here.”
Operating with crowd noise is just another element of playing on the road, tight end
“It’s the first time we’ve had the crowd noise this year,” Thomas said. “We practice with it a lot so we’re pretty used to it. We just have to prepare for every situation that we’re going to have to face during the season so that was just one of them today.”
And while the offensive side of the ball will have to battle the elements, cornerback
“Well, it (stinks) for our offense, but I know they’ll be quiet for us,” Bailey smiled.
Being prepared for the field volume is just one small item on the agenda for the Broncos’ trip to Seattle, however.
Head Coach John Fox noted after Thursday’s practice that his starters should see a steady increase in playing time from last week’s preseason opener at San Francisco.
“They’ll just play longer. It’s not different really than a lot of second (preseason) games that I’ve been involved with,” Fox said. “They’ll play into the second quarter, if not the whole half. We’ll kind of just evaluate that.”
For Bailey and the rest of the defensive starters, that means an early game showdown with elusive Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson – one week after the defense had a first-quarter matchup against multi-threat 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“(Wilson) and (Kaepernick) are special talents,” Bailey said. “It’s not like they can just run all over the place and not throw the ball. They’re pretty complete when it comes to that.”
Wilson’s passing and scrambling abilities pose challenges for any defense, safety
“He’s special. He can do it all, man,” Moore said. “Whenever you have a quarterback like him who can throw it, who’s young, you can tell he has a chip on his shoulder when he’s playing. He can do it all. To me, he has no weaknesses. That’s kind of scary.”
Lining up against Wilson – who completed 2-of-6 passes for 23 yards and rushed for 9 yards in the Seahawks’ 31-10 win over San Diego in their preseason opener – and the Seahawks offense should make for another stiff challenge for the Broncos defense. And, as Moore noted, it’s another opportunity to prepare for containing dangerous offensive attacks in the regular season.
“All we’ve got to do is go out there and do what we do best and compete,” Moore said. “They’re going to make their plays, but all we’ve got to do is try to limit most of them. Just go out there and do our best.”