ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As
Sure, the players don't have to be at Dove Valley again for nearly six weeks. But they'll be given workout regimens to stay in shape during their downtime, and they'll be studying the playbook and their assignments, as well.
There'll be a bit of a last-day-of-school feel at the end of practice on Thursday. But the voluntary offseason program doesn't last as long as it used to; prior to the ratification of the current collective bargaining agreement in 2011, voluntary workouts could begin in late March and would often stretch into late June, after OTAs. Former coach Mike Shanahan sometimes didn't hold his mandatory minicamp until July, which further prolonged the process.
Now they're not on hand as long; organized voluntary work is done in less than two months. Some will even come back; Miller said he plans to return to Dove Valley before the end of the month.
Therefore Wednesday's work was crisp -- and not reflective of a team that was at the end of a long grind of workouts, as would often be the case in the recent past.
1. The best play for the offense came toward the end of practice, when
2. Although that shot down the seam punctuated the day, Harris did get the better of Welker and Manning, intercepting a pass during a team period. Bruton also picked off a pass down the middle during a seven-on-seven segment of practice. Harris looks quicker at reacting when the ball is thrown in his direction than he did last year; that's what working against Welker every day will do for you.
3. Running back
Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase bristled at the notion that McGahee would be ignored in favor of other running backs.
“Ignore him? We’re not going to ignore him. I mean we’re trying to get him in here, get him familiar again," Gase said. "We’ve had some changes in some of the things we’ve done on offense and he’s just trying to get used to what we’re doing.”
4. You don't want to fall into the trap of making too many judgments about the pass rush from a no-pad, low-contact practice, but the front four did a solid job collapsing the pocket from the edge. Defensive end
5. Wide receiver
Another name who leapt into the notebook with a pair of receptions from Osweiler was undrafted rookie
Osweiler also had what has become a typical day for him, spreading the ball around and delivering it with zip. If Manning is hurt and Osweiler replaces him, there will be some adjustment for receivers; Osweiler's success is predicated more on velocity than Manning's. Manning can deliver the fastball when the need arises, but he flourishes with timing and placement, areas in which Osweiler will likely improve with time and experience.