ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** Day 1 of camp was filled with excitement, rousing plays and anticipation for the season. But the roar of the crowd was missed by the Broncos.
"I like having the fans out here during practice," said quarterback Peyton Manning. "Especially when you get into that third or fourth padded practice and it's kind of the dog days of training camp, those fans lift you up. I've really enjoyed the fan interaction in the two training camps I've had here."
Manning said there is the potential that players will struggle to motivate themselves without the crowd cheering them on. But, the Broncos realize they have to find that motivation themselves.
"I know that [fans at camp]motivates us," Head Coach John Fox said. "I know that motivates the players. They like it. We are scheduled aside from fan fest, which is our typical inner squad scrimmage, which is really kind of the first quote preseason game type thing. We've got two other practices where we're going to go down there. I know the players will be excited. I can say it's the construction, our players are probably as disappointed as our fans are because I know it used to excite them and they appreciated it."
Because of construction at the team's training facility, the Broncos are not hosting public training camp practices this season.
Both Fox and Manning noted that keeping camp private was unavoidable. Linebacker Von Miller said yesterday was very different without the fans but that the fan experience will be much better next year after the construction is completed.
"It [Practice] will be different and it was noticeably different today," Manning said. "I just want them to know that we missed them this year and missed them today and will miss them all of training camp. Hopefully, the practices we have at the stadium will be well attended and we can get that energy at those practices, but it will be different."
T.J. Ward, who just completed his first day of camp with the Broncos, misses the fans as well, even though "they're always cheering for the offense."