ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- For all the chatter about players whose stock rises and falls daily like ocean tides, the daily back and forth of practice beyond the key starters often has little real impact on the eventual outcome of the season.
But a season-ending injury to a projected starter? That's a rip current that you know is a possibility, but can never accurately predict. And with
No matter how carefully you build a roster, injuries can tear it down. Those are the variables that make summertime assurances of a Super Bowl hasty and foolish.
1. On multiple levels,
But being in the right place also means being at a position -- safety -- where Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio wants to nurture competition by shuffling his combinations to find the right mix for different situations. That's earned him the chance to face off with the Manning-led No. 1 offense, as he did on Sunday, and the interception was an eye-catching moment.
The second-year safety possesses good instincts for the position, plays aggressively and has the speed to not get caught out of position. He was an undrafted bargain last year thanks to injuries, but like other Broncos defenders before him, has played well above that status.
Ihenacho has also become a fan favorite for his celebrations. He punctuated his pick Sunday by running to the end zone, stopping, and then using a basketball shooting motion to send the football over the crossbar. If he continues playing as he has the last few days, he'll have more chances to commune and celebrate with the spectators.
2. Del Rio noted in May that the Broncos played "65, 66 percent" of their 2012 snaps in packages with at least three cornerbacks. The vast majority of these plays were in nickel packages, which means that if you're one of the players on any line of defense anywhere in the nickel package, you'll play a majority of the snaps -- even though you won't be officially noted as a starter on the depth chart.
Case in point: linebacker
"He plays like a grown man out there," Woodyard said.
3. Every day, Thomas does something to show his athleticism. Sunday, it was a catch during seven-on-seven drills in which he snared a pass from Brock Osweiler with
The third-year tight end is extremely fluid for his size, and does a great job keeping his balance and momentum even while changing direction or by ducking low to avoid an upper-body shot, as he did late in the practice following a reception from Osweiler.
Day in, day out dating back to OTAs,
I haven't mentioned Demaryius much, mainly because he's done exactly what you expect from a top-shelf receiver in training camp. He's picked up where he left off last season, and appears to have improved his timing and chemistry with Manning.
Had Moore been in a game situation, he would have tackled Demaryius. But he got his shot in Sunday when he decked wide receiver