ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Eleven-year-old Jet Yang and 12-year-old Eric Vue came to Sunday's practice just looking for a glimpse of their favorite Broncos.
They got more than a glimpse. They got the Ultimate Broncos Reality Experience.
"Catch a Pass from Peyton Manning!" sounds like the main attraction at an NFL carnival dreamed up by marketers with no boundaries and no budget limits. Sunday morning it became reality when the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes pointed to Yang and Vue, called them out of the crowd and had them run fade routes.
"It was cool, because Peyton Manning was walking over to us, and I just hear the whole crowd cheering, and then he points to me and him, and I was like, 'Us?'" Vue said. "So we got up and started following down.
"He asked us, 'Can you catch?' I said, "Yeah."
They even got the added bonus Ultra Reality experience when wide receiver Demaryius Thomas lined up at cornerback. Thomas had been working on fade routes with Manning while their teammates went through a special-teams period, but when Yang and Vue took the field, Thomas changed sides.
Yang, wearing a Thomas jersey, ran a fade route. His cousin Vue, donning a Manning jersey, took off on a quick slant when it was his turn.
Both passes were touchdowns. The crowd went berserk with its loudest ovation of training camp to date.
"I was kind of freaking out. I caught a pass from Peyton Manning," Yang said. "It was awesome."
High-fives punctuated the moment. It was a moment of which millions dream, but only a few lucky people experience. And for the rest of their lives, Yang and Vue can point to NFL receivers grabbing touchdown passes in the NFL and say, "See? I did that — and from the guy with more touchdown passes than anyone else, to boot." TWEETS FROM THE FIELD:
... The Broncos donned shoulder pads and shorts Sunday but will wear full pads Monday. "We're trying to get an idea of working with our pads and still staying off the ground," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said.
... Kubiak was again dissatisfied with how his team concluded the day's work. "Two days in a row, I felt like the majority of our mistakes are coming at the end of practice," he said, adding, "I want us to see us finish practice a little better than we've been finishing, when we get a little deeper into practice."
... WR Cody Latimer again was a frequent target of Peyton Manning. He punctuated his day with a catch near the right sideline on a crossing route, beating safety Darian Stewart to the football.
... WR Emmanuel Sanders elicited a game-day-like ovation by beating CB Aqib Talib on a deep post route from Peyton Manning. The blocking held up well on the play, with Ryan Harris and Owen Daniels working together to keep the right flank clean, setting up the deep pass.
... CB Curtis Marsh intercepted a pass from QB Brock Osweiler that saw the backup quarterback overshoot his intended target. Overall, Kubiak was pleased with the balance of big plays on both sides of the line of scrimmage Sunday. "That's the way it ought to look like if you're a good team," Kubiak said. "Everybody ought to be making plays."
... NT Sylvester Williams appears to have flipped a switch. He consistently won his one-on-one drills and was the Broncos' most disruptive defensive lineman in the team period. The offensive lineman who appeared to hold up best against Williams was Matt Paradis, who did a good job getting his hands up and forcing Williams into some street-fight combat.
... Kubiak said he is pleased with the progress of WR Solomon Patton as a kickoff and a punt returner, but the key for Patton will be whether he can find a role on offense. "We feel good about the return part; we've got to find out if he can do some work outside," Kubiak said."
The Broncos returned to the field in shells for the third training camp practice.
... It was Ryan Harris' turn to line up on the first unit at right tackle as Head Coach Gary Kubiak continues to shuffle is offensive linemen. Kubiak did not want to make an evaluation of Harris' day day until examining the tape. "What we're trying to do is get a rotation and look at all of those guys as starters and all of those guys as swing men," Kubiak said. "With where we're at up front, it's something we've got to do."
... Kubiak still plans to rest Manning every third or fourth day of training camp, and on that schedule, Monday would be a day off. However, Kubiak smiled and said, "I don't know, let me think about it," when asked about whether Manning would be off and cede the first-team repetitions to Brock Osweiler ...
... Kicker Brandon McManus received all of the live field-goal attempts and went 2-for-4 from 37 and 51 yards, including one miss that was wiped out by a penalty. McManus had hit all of his attempts in that period Friday and Saturday. "We just tried to let him take them all today," Kubiak said. "We're just working through some situations." Kubiak thought McManus was 3-for-4 and joked that one of the misses "kind of looked like that one in Cleveland years ago," referring to Rich Karlis' game-winner in the 1986 AFC Championship Game that Cleveland fans still insist missed wide left. "Ultimately they're still getting the same amount of kicks in the long haul."
PARTICIPATION REPORT: **
... TE Jeff Heuerman (torn ACL), WR Kyle Williams (ruptured Achilles tendon) and OT Connor Rains (foot) were not in uniform and did not practice.
... DE Malik Jackson (calf strain) was in shoulder pads, but was limited to conditioning work. RB Jeremy Stewart (hamstring tightness) joined him with team trainers during the practice.
... ILBs Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan continued to work in individual and seven-on-seven periods.
... DE Antonio Smith returned after missing Saturday's practice to attend a funeral. He continued to see limited work and spent much of practice focused on conditioning.
... WR Demaryius Thomas was limited to individual work once again as he continues to be eased back.
... TE Marcel Jensen was on the sideline but did not practice. Kubiak said he "got stepped on" during Saturday's practice and was "really sore" when he arrived Sunday morning. With TE Owen Daniels expected to get a rest day Monday, Kubiak thought it would be best to rest Jensen until he was needed Monday.
INJURY REPORT:CB Tevrin Brandon received treatment from trainers during practice.
QUOTABLE:"This was the last period. Yesterday we were kind of sluggish. We were kind of down. So, he was just saying that -- pick it up. Don't have the mental errors that the group had yesterday. So he was just telling us to pick it up. It shouldn't be on him. It should be on us as a unit. As a team to get ourselves going. It shouldn't be on the coach to tell us what to do. At the end of the day, this is a kids game and we love what we're doing. So we've got to go out there and show that love. Show that passion, no matter if it's a practice or a game." -- C.J. Anderson, on what Rick Dennison said to the offense before the last period of practice.
WEATHER REPORT:A few clouds but plenty of sun greeted fans, players and coaches. Temperatures rose from 80°F/26.4°C to 87°F/30.5°C by the end of practice.
ATTENDANCE:3,786. Total camp attendance: 11,223 (average: 3,741).