ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Nothing from Wednesday's joint practice for the Broncos and the Chicago Bears will go viral. That was a good starting point for the teams as they began getting familiar with each other, a process that will culminate with their preseason game Saturday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
“It was a lot better than I expected it to be, honestly. It’s the first joint practice I’ve been a part of and there wasn’t a brawl," guard Ron Leary said. "That’s a good thing. I think there are just pros out here that are just trying to work and get better.”
To some veterans, it was clear why the two teams were able to practice on a warm morning without tempers rising like the temperature.
“You know why? Because we have mutual respect for each other," defensive end Derek Wolfe said. "Some people just don’t have any respect. When you come into somebody else’s place you have to respect them.
"We’re out here to get better. We’re not out here to grind each other down or ruin each other’s season, because if somebody gets hurt out here you’re taking food out of their mouths, their family’s mouths, their kids’ mouths, everybody’s mouth. You have to take care of each other and keep each other healthy."
And for the Broncos, it was a practice that is typical for joint sessions -- not all good, but not all bad.
"On our side, we did some good things -- and then there are some things we can work on," wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said.
... The move-the-ball two-minute drill at the end of practice saw all four possessions of work for the teams' No. 1 and No. 2 offenses end in field goals -- which represented victory for the offense, given that the scenario gave the offense a 23-21 deficit, first-and-10 at its 40-yard line and one timeout.
... On the south field, Case Keenum guided the Broncos on a 29-yard drive that ended in a 49-yard Brandon McManus field goal. Most of the yardage came on two passes to wide receiver Tim Patrick -- a 12-yard catch on third-and-2 that moved the Broncos into Chicago territory, and a 9-yard connection on a slant route two plays later that got the Broncos to the Chicago 31-yard line.
"In the two-minute drive I think we can communicate a little bit better, because that’s such a crucial part of the game," Keenum said.
... Chicago's No. 1 offense managed to drive into scoring range against the Broncos' first-team defense, powered by a 12-yard pass from Mitchell Trubisky to tight end Trey Burton and a penalty that gave the Bears a first down in field-goal range. Chicago kicker Cody Parkey completed the 28-yard drive with a 50-yard field goal.
"We have to clean up our two-minute defense a little bit," Wolfe said. "We could use some improvement there. We talked about that as a defense afterwards."That’s the thing about this defense. We’re not going to let things just get swept under the rug. When there is an issue, we’re going to address it, fix it and then come out and do that."
... Denver's second-team offense advanced as far as the Chicago 39-yard line before the drive stalled, setting up McManus for a 57-yard field goal. A pair of Chad Kelly completions and a Bears penalty allowed the Broncos to move into range for the long attempt.
The Broncos' No. 2 defense was undone by a pair of penalties that allowed Chicago to extend its drive. Outside linebacker Jeff Holland burst into the backfield for what would have potentially been a sack of Chase Daniel under game conditions. But in practice, Holland sprinted past Daniel, allowing him to complete a pass to tight end Daniel Brown.
Parkey capped the series with a 44-yard field goal.
... The Broncos' defensive line and edge rushers dominated their one-on-one drills, with Von Miller looking in regular-season form, displaying a spin move that took advantage of Chicago offensive tackle Bobby Massie as he dropped into pass-protection mode. Miller spun across Massie and quickly got to the spot where the quarterback would stand in game conditions.
During a single team period late in practice, Miller, Jerrol Garcia-Williams and DeMarcus Walker each broke through Chicago protection for what would have been sacks of Bears quarterbacks. In that same period, Domata Peko Sr. and Bradley Chubb turned in good work against the run, stuffing Chicago running back Jordan Howard behind the line of scrimmage.
... While the No. 1 units took care of their business, injuries compromised the Broncos' defensive depth, which exacted a toll on the second- and third-team defenses and led to open downfield targets -- particularly the Bears' array of tight ends.
"Defensively, our [first-team] defense was really sharp and our [No.] 2 defense was terrible -- too many mistakes, too many busted coverages," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "We’re down to six corners. We’ve got guys that we signed [Tuesday] getting reps, so I get it, but it wasn’t very good with our [No.] 2 defense."
... McManus went 11-of-12 during the field-goal period, hitting every attempt from 27 to 55 yards before missing a 58-yard attempt wide right.
... Rookie running back Dave Williams had two carries that got to the second level and beyond during the practice. In both cases, Williams made his cutback at the right time, allowing him to scoot through the hole that flashed open. One of the runs came on a play with the first-team offense.
... Quarterback Chad Kelly threw a touchdown pass to Devontae Booker during the seven-on-seven period, rolling right to find him crossing at the goal line. Booker reached out and snagged the pass with one hand, putting an earlier drop behind him.
But Kelly also had an interception that saw his pass tipped at the line of scrimmage during a team period. In the seven-on-seven red-zone period that saw him find Booker, he was limited to one touchdown in six plays.
During the team period that followed, Kelly moved the chains with a 6-yard run on a scramble. He followed that with a 13-yard completion to Phillip Lindsay in the right flat with open territory in front of him.
"OK today, up and down," Joseph said of Kelly's practice. "It wasn’t perfect, but he made some plays. They’re like Chad always does. He made some nice scramble plays. It wasn’t perfect, but I was OK with his performance.”
... Quarterback Paxton Lynch and Isaiah McKenzie teamed up on one of the longest gains of the day, as McKenzie broke open downfield between the hash marks with no defenders around him. Lynch easily hit him downfield for what would have been at least a 35-yard gain in game conditions.
... Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was dominant in his one-on-one repetitions, mostly against Chicago cornerback Kyle Fuller. Perhaps his best move came on a pass that saw him fake to the inside, then cut back outside to the right. It left Fuller sprawling, setting up Sanders for an easy reception.
... Cornerback Chris Harris Jr.'s oblique injury ensured that Tramaine Brock, Isaac Yiadom and Brendan Langley saw some first-team repetitions throughout the day.
... Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett's hamstring injury set up some second-team repetitions for Holland.... With Sam Jones sidelined because of back spasms, Austin Schlottman handled second-team work at center. Jones is expected to be sidelined another two or three days, Joseph said after practice.
... A crowd of 4,003 attended practice, which took place in temperatures that rose from 78°F to 84°F during the session.
With the Bears in town ahead of their preseason game on Saturday, the Broncos reunited with old friends and got in a friendly practice Wednesday with the Chicago Bears in the first of two joint practices.