ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Trevor Siemian stepped onto the field, coolly ran the first-team offense without a huddle, and guided it into scoring range on a six-play drive in a move-the-ball period Saturday morning.
Then Paxton Lynch stepped onto the field with the No. 2 offense and did the exact same thing.
How the two quarterbacks accomplished their goals differed, and whether their drives would have covered the 70 yards necessary for touchdowns depended on whether the runs on the final plays of the drives before coaches blew the whistles would have been touchdowns in game conditions.
On Siemian's drive, C.J. Anderson had a nice hole created by a solid surge from Garett Bolles, Max Garcia and Connor McGovern, and he galloped into the open field for what could have been a 39-yard score. The last play of Lynch's drive saw him escape the pocket after Zach Kerr burst forward; Lynch stepped past Kerr and took off into the open field. Had Lynch scored, his touchdown run would have been a 41-yarder in the gamebook.
The day progressed from there. Siemian hit deep balls with consistency and finished his day with just one incompletion in his last seven attempts; Lynch missed on some short to intermediate passes, although he did hit TE A.J. Derby in a narrow window in double coverage for an impressive connection.
"They both made plays and they both didn't make plays. It's tough to ride the rollercoaster with those guys," Head Coach Vance Joseph said.
Others will declare a winner for the day. Joseph will not play that game.
"Who won today? Who didn't win today? I'm not going to do that, guys," he said. "It's going to be a collective evaluation over the weeks."
And quarterback is only part of the picture for the Broncos.
... Practice was more physical, in part because players wore shoulder pads for the first time during training camp. This manifested itself in many ways, including the running backs' work in blitz pickup and the linebackers' work against the run, which led to some big plays against the run by defenders such as Von Miller and Zaire Anderson.
... WR Isaiah McKenzie drew a loud ovation when he burst up the right side of the field during a punt-return drill, returning it for a score.
"What we saw on tape [before the draft] and what he's given us since he's been here have been the same," Joseph said.
... The day saw the first one-on-one work for wide receivers against cornerbacks and running backs and tight ends against safeties and linebackers.
... The one-on-one duels between TE A.J. Derby and safety Darian Stewart were a treat to watch. Derby has a good variety of moves and fakes he can use to generate separation, but Stewart rarely bites on such moves, allowing him to stay with Derby step for step. Each took a victory from the other in the one-on-one period.
... RB Stevan Ridley also runs some outstanding routes, which showed in the separation he was able to generate in one-on-one work. Ridley uses his shoulders to sell his fakes, which can get the defender turned around.
... TE Jeff Heuerman made a nice one-handed catch during the one-on-one period.
... It was a difficult day for rookie WR Carlos Henderson, who has struggled to make plays so far in training camp. The third-round pick dropped one pass from Lynch during a seven-on-seven period and lost another from Siemian when CB Lorenzo Doss swatted it out of his grasp.
"He's a rookie," Joseph said. "He's trying a little too hard right now, but he'll be fine. It's early."
... Rookie CB Brendan Langley showed his aggression and physicality both in one-on-ones and the team period. He made the most of the 5-yard zone near the line of scrimmage, forcing an incompletion against Jordan Taylor in one-on-one work with heavy contact off the snap. Later, against the run, he showed the kind of technique and aggression practiced by his "No-Fly Zone" mentors, pursuing and bringing down Ridley in the open field at the line of scrimmage.
... Second-round pick DeMarcus Walker had a solid day, breaking up a pass at the line of scrimmage during a team period.
... OLB Kasim Edebali worked on the first team as Shane Ray began his six-to-eight week absence because of torn wrist ligaments.
... RB Bernard Pierce sat out practice because of a pulled hamstring that he suffered on Friday. "We're not sure of his timetable, but it's sore," Joseph said.
... Pierce and Ray were the only players on the active (non-PUP or NFI) roster who did not practice.
... C Matt Paradis and DE Adam Gotsis continued to be eased into work. Both took part in individual drills and are expected to see team-period action in the next few days.
WEATHER REPORT:The Broncos worked under threatening skies that did not produce rain until after practice concluded. The temperature rose from 71°F to 75°F during the session, with light winds.
ATTENDANCE:4,852. Average: 4,404.
Under threatening skies, the Broncos returned to the practice fields for the third day of training camp. (photos by Ben Swanson)