ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Practice skirmishes are as much a part of training camp as sweat, heat and autographs for fans after the work is done.
A pair of brief dustups dotted the Broncos' return to practice Wednesday afternoon, including one between starters Connor McGovern and Derek Wolfe after Wolfe knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage -- one of two that Wolfe deflected during the practice. McGovern lost his helmet, and Wolfe sent it flying downfield.
It was hot, with the temperature spiking into the 90s for the team's first afternoon practice of the summer. It was also the sixth practice of training camp and the fourth with shells or pads. This is usually about the the time that tempers begin to boil.
But the ill feelings didn't linger.
"We're just competing. It's going to happen," McGovern said. "It's not the first time Wolfe and I have gotten after it. Wolfe and I are like brothers. We can do that between the whistles -- or after the whistle, I guess -- and go to one-on-one pass-rush [drills] and laugh about it and have a good time.
"It's not a big deal. I didn't want him to jump and bat the ball; he wanted to jump and bat the ball. So I was holding him down and he didn't like it very much, and that's how it goes."
The hot tempers cooled. But Head Coach Vic Fangio steamed a bit. This wasn't what he wanted to see.
"I don't like it," he said. "There's no need for it. We need to refrain from that, and we've talked about it."
There were no other scuffles among first-teamers for the rest of the practice Wednesday, so clearly Fangio got his point across.
THE PUNTING DUEL BEGINS
Former Packers punter Justin Vogel quickly got up to speed Wednesday, as he took turns with incumbent Colby Wadman during a pair of special-teams periods and another period in which the offense and punt teams ran plays from within 6 yards of their goal line.
The work was Vogel's first with a team since he spent the spring with the San Francisco 49ers before they waived him after drafting Utah's Mitch Wishnowsky in the fourth round.
"[Vogel] was a punter that we had some feeling for. He's out there," Fangio said. "We had two kickers for a while, so now we're going to go with two punters."
During the special-teams periods, the punters appeared close to each other. Vogel posted a higher gross average -- 47.8 yards to 44.8 -- but Wadman had a slightly better hang-time average, 4.59 seconds to Vogel's 4.58. Both also exceeded 4.0 seconds of hang time when asked to punt from their end zone.
"It's always good to have a revolving door there, besides the competition that [Vogel] will bring," Fangio said.
... WR Emmanuel Sanders wasted no time getting into the action during his first seven-on-seven period of training camp. He caught the first pass of the period on a slant from Joe Flacco, then had another reception four snaps later past two defenders before he went back to the sideline.
"That was the plan, to get him anywhere from four to six plays in the seven-on-seven," Fangio said.
... WR DaeSean Hamilton had his repetitions cut short because he "tweaked his hamstring," Fangio said. With Hamilton sidelined and Sanders still working back up to speed, a slew of reserve receivers saw first-team repetitions, with Tim Patrick leading the way.
... Rookie tight end Noah Fant continued to turn short passes into long gains. Early in practice, he worked under the zone to get open as Kevin Hogan rolled to the right, allowing Hogan to hit him with a pass that allowed him to turn upfield and accumulate 15 more yards after the catch. Fant also had a reception to the left side just past linebacker Justin Hollins.
... Rookie quarterback Drew Lock showed decisiveness early during the seven-on-seven period. He completed all but one of his passes in that period, and the only incompletion was because of a drop by Brendan Langley. Lock also got the ball out in 2.1 seconds or fewer on all of those plays.
... The run defense had some solid moments during the day. One of its best sequences came during the second team period of practice, when Bradley Chubb and Alexander Johnson stuffed consecutive wins by Devontae Booker and Phillip Lindsay behind the line of scrimmage. On the next play, Chubb capped the outstanding work with a sack of quarterback Joe Flacco.
... Justin Simmons continued to be a ballhawk, intercepting a Flacco pass for Fant that sailed too high down the seam
... Rookie quarterback Brett Rypien got a seven-on-seven red-zone period against the No. 1 defense. He completed four passes, including one for a touchdown to rookie wide receiver Kelvin McKnight.
... A team red-zone period saw Lindsay score a touchdown on a 4-yard draw play that saw Ron Leary deliver a key block to spring Lindsay. But from there, the defense took over; the next two goal-to-go snaps saw Wolfe and Josey Jewell defuse a handoff and Von Miller generate right-flank pressure that forced Flacco into a third-and-goal incompletion.
That goal-to-go period also saw defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker continue his impressive playmaking at camp, as he leaped to break up a Lock pass on third-and-goal.