ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Brandon McManus knew he had the leg to hit a 70-yard field-goal attempt. And with the first-team offense struggling in a two-minute drill period against a defense having one of its best days of training camp, he knew that he might have the opportunity.
"We were doing the two-minute drill, and I actually told Coach [Special Teams Coordinator Joe] DeCamillis that I could make this one," McManus said. "I don't know if he believed me or not.
"So I saw him smirk at me, and he went over to [Head Coach Gary Kubiak] and he told him, so I just waited for them to make the call, and I knew I could get it there. It does look far away, though, I can tell you that."
Admitted DeCamillis: "I was a little skeptical. He's got the leg strength, there's no question about that."
Far away, but not too far. McManus stepped onto the field after the No. 1 offense stalled and drilled the 70-yard attempt, eliciting hugs from a horde of teammates, led by defensive players Bradley Roby, T.J. Ward and DeMarcus Ware.
"I thought we should have ended practice on that, that's how good it was," observed safety Omar Bolden.
"It's nice when a guy says, 'I can make it,'" Kubiak said. "That was encouraging."
The second teamers then took the field for their two-minute drill period. The offense quickly petered out after lurching two yards past midfield, left with a 65-yard attempt.
It was Connor Barth's turn, and he promptly nailed a field goal of his own that was longer than anything ever hit in an NFL regular-season game. (In the 2002 preseason finale, Ola Kimrin hit a 65-yarder for the Broncos.)
"I didn't even hit it good, so I was like, 'Oh, please go in,'" Barth said. "And it went through."
And with that, one of the most spirited competitions of training camp hit a new gear. Both were perfect on placekicks last Friday in Seattle. McManus' kickoffs were higher and deeper, and he has the stronger leg. But Barth's accuracy last year after he took over placekicking duties serves as his advantage.
"You're hoping you're going to get a little separation (between the kickers), and they both made it," DeCamillis said. "It's a tight competition."
"It's going to be a tough, tough decision for our team down the road," Kubiak added. "But I think they're both doing their job and that was nice to see."
TWEETS FROM THE FIELD:
On day 19 of Broncos training camp, our photos put the spotlight on the offensive line, as well as Peyton Manning and the quarterbacks.
... Although the long blasts by Barth and McManus were the apex of the day, their extended field-goal period was of at least equal importance. They each attempted seven field goals at distances ranging from 31 to 60 yards. McManus was 5-of-7, missing from 51 and 55 yards. Barth was 6-of-7, with his only miss coming from 55 yards, when he hit the right upright.
... As converted tight end Joe Don Duncan learns how to play fullback, he's shown improvement in making decisive blocks to spring the running back for solid gains. One example came early in practice, when Duncan got out in front of Montee Ball, sealed the right edge and created the hole that allowed Ball to gallop upfield. Duncan added an athletic 20-yard reception from Brock Osweiler near the right sideline, but later dropped a catchable pass from Trevor Siemian.
... In addition to the field-goal work, punts and punt returns were emphasized during special-teams periods. Britton Colquitt and Spencer Lanning took their turn punting from their end zone and with the line of scrimmage at midfield, from which point each attempted a rugby-style punt with similar results -- a hang time of at least 4.30 seconds and a return that began inside the returner's 15-yard-line.
... WR Jordan Norwood has seen more work with the first team recently with Emmanuel Sanders injured, working on the No. 1 offense in three-wide receiver packages. Norwood lined up in the backfield on two plays Tuesday as the Broncos attempt to learn the full breadth of his potential. "Jordan can do a lot of things. We'll see," Kubiak said. "I'd like him to be able to return for us. He got a couple for us last week. They weren't very good opportunities. Hopefully we'll get him some more."
... OLB DeMarcus Ware had a dominant day working against rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo, epitomized by two moments: a one-on-one repetition in which Ware got his hands up and sprinted inside, and a rush during the two-minute period in which Ware knocked Sambrailo to the ground. "Ty had some rough snaps that I can recall," Kubiak said. "But if you go up against guys like that every day, at least when you go out there on the field, you're expecting to play against great players."
... Broncos Ring of Famers Shannon Sharpe and Rod Smith attended practice.
... DE Kenny Anunike missed practice for the first time this summer. Kubiak said that Anunike's "knee swelled up on him a little bit." Anunike wanted to practice, but was advised to sit and watch. He is expected to practice Wednesday.
... WR Emmanuel Sanders remained sidelined because of a hamstring injury. He did not practice Monday.
... NT Marvin Austin Jr. and OLB Lerentee McCray remained sidelined because of groin injuries.
... CB Chris Harris Jr. saw his workload increase, and he received a handful of team and seven-on-seven repetitions during the early and middle portions of the practice.
... TE Jeff Heuerman continued to sit out because of a torn ACL. He cannot go onto injured reserve until the first cut Sept. 1, because the Broncos do not want to risk exposing him to waivers.
There were no new injuries during practice.
WEATHER REPORT:By far the coolest day of training camp greeted the Broncos and their fans. Practice opened in 62°F/16.7°C conditions, and the temperature climbed to 68°F/20°C when practice ended.