ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Dove Valley was full of energy Tuesday with the Texans in town for the first of three joint practices with the Broncos. Though players won't don the pads until Wednesday, there were plenty of highlights in the session.
- Dealt the difficult task of handling J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, the offensive line performed fairly well.
Ryan Cladyhandled Clowney with relative ease during 1-on-1 drills and kept the pair mostly away from Manning in team drills. Chris Clarkheld his own against Watt in 1-on-1s, stoning him cold on the first attempt before battling to keep him away from the center of the pocket on the second. Louis Vasquezhandled his assignments as he usually does, without any glaring mistakes. Orlando Franklingot his hands up high a bit at times, but overall was steady. He also worked to get 15 or 20 yards downfield on a screen to C.J. Anderson, clearing the way for a big gain.
- The Broncos unit that shined brightest had to be the pass rush, led by an increasingly agile
Von Miller. He won both of his 1-on-1 matchups in pass rush drills and provided pressure throughout the team periods. The Texans sent myriad blocking schemes at Miller without much success, as No. 58 found his way to Ryan Fitzpatrick with speed and power on multiple occasions.
- On the other side,
DeMarcus Warewas pretty terrifying as well, getting past 2012 All-Pro tackle Duane Brown a few times for "sacks" of Fitzpatrick. During the Texans' 2-minute drill specifically, Ware just missed a sack on the first play before picking one up two plays later.
- Not to be forgotten
Derek Wolfeharassed Fitzpatrick throughout team periods, sacking him on his first play of the day and batting down a pass during the Texans' 2-minute drill. Malik Jacksonflashed as well, winning both of his 1-on-1s, and Lerentee McCrayand Quanterus Smitheach had a likely sack late in team drills. Shaquil Barrettused a nice move in 1-on-1s, giving Texans tackle Derek Newton a strong shove to the chest before blowing past him inside. Andre Caldwellcame up with some of the offense's best plays of the day, winning multiple times in 1-on-1 drills, including up the sideline for a long touchdown. He also grabbed a few passes for big gains in team drills, most notably a 20-plus yarder in the 2-minute drill.
- The offense capped its second attempt at the 2-minute drill with a gorgeous throw from
Peyton Manningto Demaryius Thomas, with Thomas pulling in the ball in the back of the end zone with his feet just inside the white line. The 18-yard touchdown came with just a few seconds left on the clock and the team down six points. Jacob Tammewas responsible for the most explosive play on offense up to that point, sneaking between the Texans' safeties on a post route and picking up huge yardage after Manning hit him in stride. T.J. Wardwas very active throughout the day, most prominently during the Texans' 2-minute drill. A play after being called for a holding penalty, Ward leapt and, fully extended, batted away a pass intended for Texans tight end Garrett Graham and nearly corralled the ball for an interception after the tip. On the Texans' second chance in the drill, Ward broke up consecutive short passes to Graham in the end zone with the second ending up in the arms of Omar Boldenafter Ward's tip. Ward was flagged for a hold on the play, however. Cody Latimershowed off his ball skills again, coming down with a pass that was batted and bobbled while a Texans defender tried to pull him to the ground. Bradley Robylooked very precise in 1-on-1 drills, rotating quickly to match receivers' breaks. One on play, he blanketed DeVier Posey so tightly that Fitzpatrick didn't even attempt the pass after seeing nowhere to put the football. Aqib Taliband Quinton Cartermade a good play on the ball during a Texans' Hail Mary, leaping and catching the ball together before Talib pulled it into his chest as he went to the ground in the end zone.
- Longtime Broncos guard Chris Kuper was at practice Tuesday, visiting with former teammates and chatting with local media.
- Among the national media in attendance were ESPN's Sal Palantonio and The MMQB's Peter King.
- The Broncos' punt returners witnessed firsthand the power of Shane Lechler's leg. The Texans' punter boomed a few 65- to 70-yarders through the thin mile-high air during special teams periods.
- On one screen pass to Demaryius Thomas, Watt chased after the play from the line of scrimmage until the whistle blew, catching up to a juking No. 88. After the play, Watt called to Thomas, "I had you, you know I had you."
- "He won’t catch me. I ain’t worried about it," Thomas said afterward, laughing.