ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Thursday's practice brought down the curtain on the Broncos' 2015 training camp, but 24 days and two rounds of roster cuts still separate the Broncos from their regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
Plenty of preparation and teaching remains. They still have a long way to go.
And that distance illuminates how Head Coach Gary Kubiak will ease some of his key players back into game-time work. In Saturday's game at Houston, ILB Brandon Marshall will make his 2015 debut, while fellow ILB Danny Trevathan and WR Emmanuel Sanders are expected to remain sidelined after missing all of this week's practices.
"He hasn't worked [this week]. We took a different approach this week," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said.
Sanders saw some practice time last week, but his recovery hit a snag as he took part in some pre-game warmup work at Seattle last Friday.
"He's feeling good, but all of a sudden turned around, and we kind of think that's how we got ourselves set back a little bit last week," Kubiak said.
Marshall and Trevathan have worked together at inside linebacker in the last two weeks of training camp, but Marshall remains a bit ahead of Trevathan in their recoveries from offseason surgeries, which is why Marshall will start while Trevathan continues to work his way back to game-time duties.
"Danny has closed the gap," Kubiak said. "Danny has worked pretty much full time this week and practiced really [well]. But we just think Brandon is a little bit ahead."
Saturday's preseason game will also be the 2015 season debut for QB Peyton Manning, TE Owen Daniels and OLB DeMarcus Ware, all of whom did not play in Seattle on Aug. 14.
TWEETS FROM THE FIELD:
... Brock Osweiler got the first-team repetitions with Peyton Manning receiving a rest day. Trevor Siemian led the No. 2 offense.
... With Louis Vasquez receiving a rest day, Shelley Smith moved up to the first team at right guard.
... The highlight of the practice came near its conclusion, during a two-minute drill period. Thursday's scenario involved the offense taking over at its 40-yard-line with one timeout remaining and one minute on the clock. Osweiler moved the No. 1 offense into scoring position against the No. 2 defense, completing four of five passes for 29 yards before spiking the football to set up a 49-yard Connor Barth field goal with 9.5 seconds remaining. Osweiler completed two passes apiece to Cody Latimer and Demaryius Thomas, but missed Thomas on a second-and-4 play that could have moved the offense across midfield one play before it actually did.
... Siemian could not guide the No. 2 offense into scoring range against the first-team defense. After deftly stepping up to avoid pressure from DeMarcus Ware and complete a 6-yard pass to TE Dominique Jones, his next three passes fell incomplete. Siemian missed his third-down pass thanks to pressure from Brandon Marshall, who burst through the gap and managed to force a hasty pass in spite of a Kapri Bibbs block. Siemian's fourth-and-4 pass intended for Nathan Palmer was overthrown up the right sideline.
... Osweiler had a fairly smooth day running the No. 1 offense. He missed a deep post route and the quick out to Thomas, but those were exceptions on a day where he looked poised and comfortable.
... WR Bennie Fowler continues to show his athleticism, making one of the best catches of the day with a leaping grab of an Osweiler pass on a fade route in the back right corner of the end zone, beating rookie CB Lorenzo Doss.
... WR Jordan Taylor had some good catches, including one where he turned back in mid-stride to snag a pass from QB Zac Dysert.
... RB Juwan Thompson made a nifty outstretched grab of a pass in the right flat thrown by Zac Dysert. Thompson also did well on the ground, making some sharp cuts as he read developing holes for some solid gains. Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson also had some long pickups after reading their blocks perfectly; Anderson had one of his best runs of camp galloping through a hole created by LT Ty Sambrailo and LG Max Garcia.
... As usual, DE Malik Jackson was a disruptive force, getting his hand up to deflect a Dysert attempt.
... The edge rushers did a good job of generating pressure, with Shane Ray and Chase Vaughn among those who were able to generate effective outside rushes that could have been sacks in game conditions.
... DE Derek Wolfe and OT Kyle Roberts exchanged words after a team-period snap. A day earlier, Wolfe got into a post-play exchange of shoves with Sambrailo and subsequently shoved Garcia.
... Former long-time Broncos personnel executive John Beake attended practice. Beake is also among the selectors for the Ring of Fame.
On the final day of training camp our initial gallery leads off with the defensive linemen getting way up for the tip drill and Manning keeps a watchful eye during QB drills. (All photos by Ben Swanson)
... DE Kenny Anunike had his knee scoped Thursday morning, but the surgery revealed no extensive damage. Kubiak said he hopes to have Anunike back in two to three weeks.
... Three offensive players received a veteran's day off: QB Peyton Manning, RG Louis Vasquez and TE Owen Daniels.
... S T.J. Ward was on the field at the start of practice, but was excused to take care of some personal matters, Kubiak said. Ward is expected to play in Houston on Saturday.
... WR Emmanuel Sanders did not practice and will not play in Houston as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
... CB Tony Carter returned to practice. He had some cramping in his hamstring Monday and sat out Wednesday.
... NT Marvin Austin Jr. and OLB Lerentee McCray remained sidelined because of groin injuries.
... TE Jeff Heuerman remains out with 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:After two days of conditions more typical of early autumn, normal late-summer weather returned to the UCHealth Training Center. Practice opened in 71°F/21.7°C conditions, with the temperature rising to 78ºF/25.6ºC under scattered clouds.