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Training Camp 2014: Day 1 Quick Hits

Posted Jul 24, 2014

Quick hits from the first day of training camp, including long touchdowns to Julius Thomas and rookie Cody Latimer.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Exactly five weeks removed from the final offseason practice, the Broncos opened training camp on the field Wednesday with nearly full attendance.

The energy level was high on a beautiful day at Dove Valley as hordes of media looked on. We're still a few days away from fully-padded practices, but there were plenty of highlights on Day 1.

ROLL CALL

Chris Harris Jr. (knee) entered camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, working off to the side on his rehab.

Kevin Vickerson (hip) and Von Miller (knee) were limited.

Demaryius Thomas was excused to attend to funeral arrangements of his grandmother, who died this week. "That woman basically raised DT," Head Coach John Fox said. Thomas will return after the funeral.

PLAYMAKERS

  • The player who was on the end of the most big gains Wednesday was Julius Thomas. Several well-designed plays found him open with room to move after the catch, which he took full advantage of. Most notable was a floater from Manning down the right sideline and a corner route beyond the reach of Rahim Moore for a long touchdown in team drills.
  • It's not often the walkthrough period produces excitement, but Cody Latimer showed off his ball skills by making a fantastic overhead catch on a slightly overthrown ball, just the start of a solid day for the rookie.
  • Later, Latimer battled first-round pick Bradley Roby twice in one-on-one drills, emerging from tight coverage to make a leaping catch both times. In team drills, Latimer got behind the defense for a long touchdown from Brock Osweiler with Roby closest in coverage. Roby made plays of his own though, including closing quickly to break up a pass for Greg Wilson.
  • While the rookies battled each other, so did Denver's new free-agent acquisitions. Emmanuel Sanders and Aqib Talib faced off twice in one-on-one drills, with Sanders snagging short passes both times. Sanders also got deep for a gorgeous fade down the right sideline from Peyton Manning, beating Tony Carter in one-on-one drills.
  • Cornerback Jerome Murphy, a five-year veteran, showed plenty of scrappiness in one-on-one drills, using his physicality to force an incompletion to Andre Caldwell and then break up a pass to Nathan Palmer. After the latter, other defensive backs voiced their approval with cheers and shouts of "Murph!"
  • Undrafted rookie corner Louis Young was part of the defense's two biggest plays of the day, snagging a short pass that was tipped by Jacob Tamme and taking it back for a touchdown during 7-on-7 drills. Later Omar Bolden stripped Greg Wilson after a screen pass, with Young recovering the loose ball.
  • Wes Welker showed he's as quick as ever, using his shiftiness to get open easily against a few different corners in one-on-one drills.
  • Danny Trevathan closed fast to make a great breakup on a short pass from Manning to Sanders during 7-on-7 drills.
  • Jordan Norwood flashed all over the field throughout the day, making a number of short catches and getting loose for a big gain up the right sideline on a pass from Osweiler.

QUICK HITS

  • DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller showed they've already built some chemistry before practice kicked off, performing a nifty handshake that produced smiles from the defensive line.
  • With Demaryius Thomas absent from practice, Caldwell got some work with Manning, making several catches. Virgil Green also caught passes from Manning, continuing his extensive work with him from OTAs.
  • The punt returners had some fun during special teams drills, trying to catch punts consecutively from the jugs machine while holding on to each ball. Isaiah Burse caught two but couldn't hold the third. Emmanuel Sanders held three footballs in his left arm and snagged a fourth with his right, but couldn't find a way to catch the fifth, sending footballs flying everywhere. Wes Welker comfortably caught two, but the drill ended before he could attempt another.
  • The swath of media on hand included groups from ESPN and NFL Network, with ESPN's set featuring Broncos Ring of Famer Tom Jackson.