"I look forward to Day 1, because when Day 1 comes, you know the end is coming," he said, to a cackle of chuckles from the media that surrounded him. "The quicker Day 1 gets here, the quicker the end gets here."
Knighton is a master of dry wit, and is often candid to a fault. But his sentiment reveals training camp's purpose: to build a team for when results matter. The daily grind under the sun is the price to be paid. And without the fans around for this year's practices at Dove Valley, the energy to push through as the practices mount will have to come from within.
"We’ll miss them, but we have to deal with it," said Head Coach John Fox.
That's what professionals do: they re-focus and get the job done -- even if they're looking ahead to the end, and when the hitting counts for real. There's plenty of tasks in the next few weeks, as was evident after a first day that had the ups and downs the start of camp always brings.
1. When I was part of the handful of media talking to new wide receiver
But Sanders only saw the flaws -- particularly a drop near the sideline during a team period later in practice.
"My grandma could have caught that pass," Sanders said. "Conditioning kind of got me, but no excuses, I should have caught it. So if I drop a pass, I don’t care what it is: I’m below an 'F.'"
That Sanders noted "conditioning" was crucial; he acknowledged that he is still adjusting to the altitude.
"This stuff is real, man. I was tired and today I felt like my heart was going to explode. I worked my butt off. I trained down in Texas and you can’t prepare for this. You’ve just got to go out there every day and work it and eventually you’re going to get in shape."
Even though Sanders is rough on himself, it's clear from OTAs and Thursday that he and Manning are well on their way to having the chemistry they need.
Another impressive example of Latimer's day came on a short pass near the right sideline from Osweiler during a seven-on-seven period. With Tony Carter closing and making contact, Latimer's first task was to secure the ball; he did this cleanly and avoided the big mistake.
But Latimer saw shortcomings, and that reflected in his self-assessment.
"Maybe like a C-minus. I made minor mistakes," he said. "That happens, but we’ve got to clear them up and make sure it’s very minimum mistakes. I’m trying to get my grade to a B (or) an A."
Latimer was listed as one of the injured players by Fox because of a left foot problem -- the same foot on which he had surgery earlier this year. He said he had "no pain," and appeared unaffected during practice.
He was not the only Bronco to mount pressure. With
4. With the practice squad not an option, five-year veteran cornerback
I also liked the awareness that undrafted rookie
5. It just wasn't the same without the fans. But there was also no way that they could have been safely accommodated. Just a few feet from the south end zone of the east field where the Broncos practiced, workers were busy with hammers and power screwdrivers, securing the tower that will allow the Broncos' team videographers to shoot practices without having to stand in the cherry pickers that have been a staple since time immemorial. Sod was being laid down on the hillside that next year will hold up to 5,000 fans. Renovations on the main building are not yet finished. Parking lots are under various stages of construction.
Sunday's atmosphere at Sports Authority Field at Mile High will be electric. Until then, the Broncos will try to enjoy the silence, difficult as it is.