After a day off, the Broncos returned to practice Wednesday. (photos by Eric Bakke unless otherwise noted)
... At 10:54 a.m., Head Coach Gary Kubiak called his players together for a team huddle. Some took a knee and removed their helmets as they listened, as though it was the end of practice.
But there was still nearly an hour of work left. The coach was unhappy about his team's scattershot, ragged performance in practice to that point, and let them know it.
"We had a day off yesterday, and we didn't respond very [well]," Kubiak said. "Good teams, when you get a break day, you come back and you're bouncing around. We were kind of lethargic and not practicing very well."
Although the execution wasn't always crisp after his speech, the energy rose.
"I think after he made it known, we picked our intensity up. On defense, we got a fumble right after that," CB Bradley Roby said. "He had to snap us out of it. That's his job as a head coach -- when he sees that we're not performing, to get us out of it. I think he did that today."
... Even after Kubiak's address, mistakes were made. During the team move-the-ball period at the end of practice, the No. 1 defense kept the Trevor Siemian-led No. 2 offense alive because of penalties, including two pass-interference calls, the latter of which came near the goal line. Penalties were a problem for the No. 1 defense all day. "We gave up four penalty first downs. That's undisciplined," Kubiak said.
... The overall struggles extended to the quarterback position. "Not practicing very well at quarterback today," Kubiak said.
... Siemian eventually found Juwan Thompson for the short touchdown that capped the 13-play, 69-yard drive. He was the most consistent of the quarterbacks, but he was also under pressure and had some missed throws. "Not practicing very well at quarterback today," Kubiak said, referring to all three passers.
... Mark Sanchez led the offense on a 69-yard touchdown march against the No. 2 defense that he capped with a rollout touchdown pass to Devontae Booker. Working behind the first-team offensive line, Sanchez went 4-of-6 for 61 yards, including a 21-yard strike to Jordan Taylor up the right sideline. But that came on Sanchez's second chance; the No. 1 offense went three-and-out on its first attempt.
... Paxton Lynch drove the No. 3 offense to a touchdown for the second time in as many full-field opportunities during training camp, leading a seven-play, 69-yard drive that ended in a touchdown strike to TE Henry Krieger-Coble.
... But Lynch struggled at times. On one pass in a fourth-and-3 situation he badly missed DeVier Posey. He also missed a handful of other open receivers throughout the practice. "It kind of looked like some of the practices he's had -- up and down," Kubiak said. "He didn't practice as well, but [it's] not just him, a lot of guys, and they need to go back and look at why. Pros do all the time, not every now and then. He's got a ways to go."
... RB Kapri Bibbs had another strong day on the ground, despite injuries on the offensive line that shuffled all three units. "I'm really impressed with Kapri," Kubiak said.
... DE Vance Walker and DE Jared Crick both disrupted multiple pass plays with rushes up the middle. "They continue to play well," Kubiak said. NT Sylvester Williams also broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage.
... CB Kayvon Webster was sidelined because of a thigh bruise suffered midway through Monday's practice. "He's probably going to be a couple of days," Kubiak said.
... LG Max Garcia suffered what Kubiak termed a "slight ankle sprain" during a walk-through practice and watched Wednesday's work from the sideline. "I would think Max will be back tomorrow. We'll see," Kubiak said.
... DE Vance Walker returned after missing Monday's practice with a back issue. Kubiak said that Walker's back was still sore, but he "battled through it" Wednesday.
... RB Ronnie Hillman practiced after missing Monday's work because of a back problem.
... RG Ty Sambrailo watched practice with a brace on his right elbow. Sambrailo was injured Sunday.
... TE John Phillips missed a third consecutive practice after having his ankle rolled during Saturday's work.
... WR Marlon Brown missed a second consecutive practice because of a back problem that is being evaluated, Kubiak said. Brown had back issues last year in Baltimore. "We saw enough to know that Marlon could really be a factor for this football team, so what we're trying to do is find out why his back continues to flare up," Kubiak said. "Hopefully we'll have some answers in a couple of days."
... The Broncos were left scrambling at the guard spots Wednesday. Rookie Connor McGovern continued to work in place of Sambrailo at right guard, but Garcia's injury led to a platoon system at left guard. Michael Schofield worked there during the first half of practice.
... Schofield moved to left tackle for the final 45 minutes of practice because first-team LT Russell Okung is still being eased back into full participation. While Okung watched, James Ferentz worked on the first team at right guard. "A lot of jumping through hoops as coaches trying to get practice going today," Kubiak said. "But what an opportunity for both of them [Ferentz and McGovern]. That's what you've got to be able to do in this business."
... Second-year cornerback Lorenzo Doss saw extensive work because of Webster's injury and the continued recovery of Aqib Talib from a gunshot wound. Talib remains on the non-football injury list.
QUOTABLE:"We find ways to finish, but we've got to get mentally tougher working through some of those things." -- Kubiak, on how the team practiced Wednesday
WEATHER REPORT:Temperatures hovered between 75°F/24ºC to 80°F/27ºC under sunny skies.