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    Week 9


Mason's Five Thoughts from Camp Day 2

Posted Jul 25, 2014

Derek Wolfe continued to answer any lingering questions about his physical readiness with a standout performance on Day 2.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- We're only two days into camp, and we've already seen what could end up as the most madcap play of training camp: Sylvester Williams' leaping interception of Peyton Manning at the line of scrimmage.

"It was like one of those things where wow, it's right there and I just jumped up and took it," said Williams.

And then it got unusual.

After intercepting the pass, Williams turned and threw the football to safety Quinton Carter, who was in space to Williams' right. Carter couldn't handle the football. The pass appeared to go forward, which would have nullified it. Nevertheless, it had plenty of zip.

"That's probably why he dropped it. I probably threw the ball too hard," Williams said. "I've got to take a little bit off of it next time."

Williams recovered the loose football, which gave him a rare accomplishment: an interception and fumble recovery on the same play. If this were the regular season, someone from Broncos media relations would call the Elias Sports Bureau to find out when that last happened.

It will be just a footnote, since it happened in practice. But Williams' quickness and disruptive ability was on full display. And he wasn't the only defensive lineman to grab onlookers' attention -- and a star in my notebook.

1. Derek Wolfe is back.

He looked like it when he walked onto the practice field the last few days. By organized team activities, he'd gained back much of the weight he lost during a 2013 season derailed by a neck injury and subsequent complications.

Friday, he played like it. On the opening snap of the second team period of practice -- when the Broncos were focused on rushing and run defense -- he burst past Ryan Clady into the backfield, where he left Montee Ball nowhere to go.

Wolfe consistently generated pressure from the edge, and looked like he did as a rookie, when he finished with six sacks. Fellow swing end/tackle Malik Jackson also generated pressure when he had the opportunity.

If the defensive line stays healthy, the unit suddenly looks deeper than it has in years.

2. Preseason games will reveal much more about Brock Osweiler. But he did a good job Friday in shaking off an interception in the first period of practice -- when David Bruton picked off an errant pass to Isaiah Burse and took it to the end zone -- and trusting his ability to complete passes into narrow windows.

This is one of the differences between Osweiler of 2014 and the previous years. There's plenty of opportunities for him to fire bullets, but he's also able to anticipate the breaks of his targets and throw to a spot. On one pass to Gerell Robinson near the left sideline, he placed a pass in his former college teammate's grasp -- and did so between two defenders.

Another standout play came when Osweiler was flushed to the left side and found Greg Wilson for a 40-yard touchdown. He functions well rolling outside of the pocket, but has usually been more accurate going to his right than his left. On this play, he moved left, located Wilson behind the defense, and fired a pass that found him in the back left corner of the end zone, outside of any defender.

3. Bradley Roby's rookie ups and downs continued. During one team period, he barely missed a potential interception after mistiming a leap, which allowed an Osweiler pass to sail over him and into Wilson's grasp near the right sideline.

Earlier in the practice, Roby was beaten deep by Latimer on a post route for a touchdown in a seven-on-seven period. Talib said he asked Roby about the coverage, but he also offered the rookie advice.

"Just stay disciplined. I was guessing on the route," Roby said. That's been a problem for me. I'm just working on that. You can't be too anxious to make the play. I've got to let the play come to me."

Roby said he felt he needed to "lose a couple of pounds, and get my speed up a little bit more." But most of his growth will be mental.

"I'm not practicing as well as I should right now," Roby said. "It's early on. I'm getting the bad habits out of the way. And then you just keep working. It's a process, and I'm excited to keep going."

It's July 25, he's a rookie, and he's far from a finished product. He has another six weeks to rack up teachable moments before Week 1.

4. I'm looking forward to watching Montee Ball handle blitz pickup once the pads go on Saturday. Friday, he showed how far he has come as a receiver with a sideline catch of a pass from Manning for a 20-yard gain. Ball was tightly covered by linebacker Danny Trevathan, but did not get thrown off his route. Manning placed the ball perfectly, and despite Trevathan's presence, made a clean catch.

5. The cornerbacks were active Friday. Omar Bolden has been impressive the first two days, breaking up multiple passes by accurately reading the quarterback and breaking on the football. He looks quicker and more decisive in coverage than last year, when he was converted to safety at the end of the preseason.

Aqib Talib opened up the first team period of practice by breaking up the first two passes thrown in his direction by Manning, one of which could have been a pick-six had he hauled in the football.

And you're always looking for hustle plays, and at the end of practice, rookie cornerback Louis Young provided one, catching up to Jerodis Williams and popping the football loose as Williams headed for the end zone, per the long-standing mandate to "finish" plays by heading to the end zone. Young was a part of two takeaways Thursday. His nose for the football has stood out so far.

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