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Training Camp Day 1: Afternoon Report

Posted Jul 29, 2005

A Darrent Williams interception set the tone for a defense that coaxed five turnovers during Friday afternoon's camp practice.

Darrent WilliamsBy Andrew Mason

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A defense is typically ahead of the offense at this point in training camp, but the Broncos' first afternoon practice of their summer session took that to the extreme.

And in doing so, the Broncos gave the first indication that a stated offseason goal of being able to dramatically increase the number of turnovers forced just might turn into reality come autumn.

"We had five turnovers today," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said. "It's one of the things we've been stressing, and guys made some plays."

Darrent Williams, Jashon Sykes and Sam Brandon each intercepted passes, and the defense forced fumbles from Maurice Clarett and Nate Jackson as the Broncos' defense dominated proceedings to close out the first day of the team's three-week training camp.

"The defense played exceptionally well today," Shanahan said. "In a blitz period they dominated the offense. Usually that occurs this time of year, but it was good to see that type of enthusiasm and guys making plays."

Williams not only had an interception -- on a deep pass from Danny Kanell that overshot intended receiver Romar Crenshaw -- but nearly picked another pass for Todd Devoe moments later. He also smoothly fielded a punt and burst 10 yards upfield before anyone touched him.

It was, by the rookie's estimation, his best day -- "by far."

"I just wanted to come out there and show the coaches that this is what they drafted me for," Williams said. "I'm going to go out there and play hard. I set my standards high."

Shanahan and 2004 defensive captain John Lynch -- who himself made some jarring hits during the afternoon session -- couldn't help but notice Williams's exploits.

"He's been playing pretty well since he's been here," the head coach said. "He had a good interception today, and did a good job facing a few guys up and stripping the football. He's a football player. He's done some good things as a player. He's an excellent tackler and a playmaker. He showed that today. Hopefully he can keep that up."


"John Lynch came to me after practice and (said), 'You set the tone for the day,'" Williams said. "After that, we just started getting turnovers, started stripping balls and getting interceptions. I like that.

"I'm a rah-rah guy, so if I make a play, I want to get my teammates up and excited and give everybody a little extra energy to go out there and make some more plays."

RICE TO THE SIDELINES: Wide receiver Jerry Rice did not practice Friday afternoon after going through the paces of the morning session, but it was all part of the day's plan.

"We've got a couple of people today who are doing one-a-days, and I think we've got 11 guys (Saturday)," Shanahan said. "It's really based on some of the injuries we've had. Most of the guys have had a good offseason program (and) we didn't want to overwork them, so you'll see more guys (Saturday).

"It's hard to keep these guys out, but we're doing what we think is in the best interest of the team. We're going to rest them a little bit more than they want to."

Defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban was the only other Bronco besides Rice to not don shoulder pads for the afternoon session.

CAMP BYTES: Bradlee Van Pelt threw an interception during the morning session, but rebounded with a particularly nice play Friday afternoon, rolling right and finding Darius Watts up the right side of the field for a deep catch in team drills ...

... Anton Palepoi and Trevor Pryce ran down Jake Plummer for a sack in 11-on-11 work. Palepoi got the initial pressure, and Pryce eventually chased the quarterback down ...

... Dorsett Davis got his hands up to swat away a Matt Mauck pass in team drills ...

... Lynch roused his teammates by sending wide receiver Todd Devoe flying after an open-field reception.

WEATHER REPORT: At least it's a dry heat. The mercury hit 94 degrees Friday afternoon, and by the time the practice concluded between 5:30 and 6 p.m., the temperature on the nearly clear day had dropped -- all the way down to 93. The 94-degree high was just five shy of a record for the date, and temperatures are expected to ascend into the 90s through next Wednesday.