ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Head Coach Vic Fangio and the Broncos had hoped to take Sunday's training camp practice on the road to Empower Field at Mile High.
The plan was to bring some game-like conditions to practice and to give new players the opportunity to see the stadium, but after consulting with members of the team's medical staff, Fangio decided to keep practice at UCHealth Training Center because of Denver's current air quality.
In recent days, the city's air quality has rated among the world’s worst due to smoke from western wildfires.
"I guess technically it was my call, but I was heavily influenced on what call to make by the medical people," Fangio said. "But it was left up to me."
Instead, the team moved practice indoors into Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse, where the session took on a different format than usual.
"I liked it," Fangio said. "It wasn't game-like, but we tried to make it as much as we could with the kicks in there. We wanted to make sure we got enough work in different parts of the field [with] subbing and all that. It was good."
The format provided some highlight-reel-quality plays as the offense and defense dueled in team periods interspersed with occasional punt plays. Drew Lock found some success on deep throws with touchdowns to Courtland Sutton and DeVontres Dukes; Justin Simmons broke up a red-zone pass that likely otherwise would have been a touchdown; and Teddy Bridgewater moved the ball well in an end-of-game scenario with passes to Jerry Jeudy and Kendall Hinton.
"I thought we had good focus in that it was a little different style of practice," Fangio said. "It got their attention a little bit. There was a good focus — knowing who's in and out of the game and getting things changed. That's the thing that stood out."
While Fangio is considering a rescheduled practice at the stadium, the indoor practice still allowed the Broncos to accomplish their goals.
"I thought it prepares us and gives us a little jump on what a game might be like," Fangio said.
DARBY DOES GOOD
With the Broncos' talent across the secondary, passing on Denver's defense can seem like a case of picking your poison — and on Sunday, perhaps the most effective poison was cornerback Ronald Darby, who made two impactful pass breakups — one in the red zone to prevent a touchdown, and another on a deep pass to Jerry Jeudy.
"He's had a good camp," Fangio said. "He's kind of like of like a good referee — a good referee you don't notice. There's a lot practices out there [where] I don't notice him until I go put on the tape. You like that out of a corner. Not much business going over there."
"Not much business" could be considered business as usual for Darby, veteran safety Kareem Jackson said after practice.
"[It's] the same thing I've seen out of him his entire career," Jackson said. "He's a veteran guy, plays with great technique, can turn and find the ball in the deep part of the field. He's been making a lot of plays this camp — definitely excited to go out there and compete with him."
With Darby playing at that level, combined with the production of the rest of the defense, the Broncos could get results like those they got on Sunday.
"I think we did pretty well," Jackson said. "For us, it's just all about executing. I feel like if we execute and get guys in the right place, and we do what we're supposed to do, we're as good as any group out there. For us, that's the big thing about it. I mean, flying around, just competing at a high level and being consistent with what we do each and every day. I think that's just the main thing for us as a defense to get us ready to go for Week 1."
Check out our photos capturing all the fun and hard work from Day 10 of #BroncosCamp.