ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Wearing a T-shirt, Demaryius Thomas helped his fellow wide receivers through their individual drills. TE Virgil Green, LB Todd Davis and NT Domata Peko took mental repetitions, as did half of the starting "No-Fly Zone" -- safety T.J. Ward and CB Aqib Talib.
Thursday was the first veterans' off day of training camp, and given the physical nature of the previous four practices, it was well-deserved.
"It was a tough week," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "We've had pads on for the last three days. I'm just being smart with our veteran players who we know more about."
"We didn't want to do the entire group in one day," Joseph said.
... Trevor Siemian was up first with the No. 1 offense and got off to a good start, overcoming some early pressure from Von Miller around the left flank to find Jeff Heuerman for a completion deep up the right sideline. He then found Emmanuel Sanders for a pair of receptions, the second of which saw Sanders elude Lorenzo Doss to cross the goal line for a score.
"He's been solid. He's been Trevor," Joseph said. "He's been consistent."
... Paxton Lynch's first move-the-ball drive with the No. 2 offense started with promise. After losing yardage on a first-down handoff, he scrambled out of trouble on second down, then hit Carlos Henderson up the left sideline on third down to move the offense into scoring range. In a duel of third-round picks, Henderson made an outstanding adjustment for the football to separate from Brendan Langley to make the grab.
But the offense stalled from there; Jamaal Charles was stuffed on first down and two incompletions followed, including one where Lynch had Steven Scheu at the goal line a step past Zaire Anderson, but the pass hit Anderson in the back.
... Charles found the going rough early, but he got into space during the second team period and picked up plenty of yardage on a wheel route from Lynch up the right sideline.
"Today with the wheel route you can see he's going to be key for us," Joseph said.
Lynch found plenty of success firing to his running backs. He later hit C.J. Anderson in the right flat on a swing pass, and once Anderson got past the first defender, he galloped up the right sideline for a long gain that might have been a touchdown in game conditions.
... Among the more active defenders Wednesday were Marshall, who broke up a pass, OLB Vontarrius Dora, who generated pressure rushing from the inside, and OLB/DE DeMarcus Walker, who had a pressure and also a tackle of Charles for a 2-yard loss.
... Rookie RB De'Angelo Henderson had some solid runs and continues to show good cutback ability, but what also jumps out is his willingness to drive into the hole. During one play late in practice, he swept to the left after taking a pitch from Lynch, lowered his shoulder and tucked the ball up under his arm, driving through the hole while maximizing ball security.
... During a seven-on-seven red-zone period, Lynch kept the ball and did not throw it, something that considered by some to be a no-no in that particular practice scenario. But that didn't bother Joseph.
"I don't want him to sit back there and force the ball and make a bad decision," Joseph said. 'Him running in seven-on-seven doesn't bother me."
"His deal right now is to put good plays together back-to-back-to-back. And that's what we want from Paxton right now. You can see his playmaking ability. He can throw the ball [down] the field. He can scramble with it. But we want more plays being made back-to-back-to-back. Put a string of plays together."
Lynch hit Heuerman for one touchdown pass in the same period and nearly had another, but the third-year tight end couldn't quite corral the pass as he tried to make the grab while falling backwards.
... That same red-zone period also saw Siemian fire two touchdown passes with the No. 2 offense; he hit Scheu and Marlon Brown for scores. But rookie Dymonte' Thomas also intercepted Siemian in the back of the end zone during that period.
... WR Isaiah McKenzie showed off his quickness during a punt-return period, but he also had a dropped pass during a team period that offered Joseph a reminder of what the fifth-round pick needs to show as he develops.
"Consistency," Joseph said. "He had a big drop today on third down. But just being consistent. For young guys, this week is tough, because ... this is the dog days of camp. It kind of jumps on those guys. So they've got to push through this week. It's a tough week for all of us. But if they can get through to Saturday, it's going to become normal again for all of those guys."
... RG Ron Leary is being eased back into work after missing time because of a groin injury. He was limited to individual periods Thursday, with Connor McGovern and Billy Turner handling first-team snaps in his place.
... DE Adam Gotsis saw his workload increase as he continues to complete his recovery from knee surgery in June. "He's looked better," Joseph said.
... C Matt Paradis saw a handful of team-period repetitions for a second consecutive day.
... Garett Bolles and Donald Stephenson continued to split first-team repetitions at left tackle.
... CB Marcus Rios returned from a groin injury that sidelined him for two days this week.
... RB Bernard Pierce remained out because of a pulled hamstring.
WEATHER REPORT:A cold front brought gray skies and chillier temperatures to UCHealth Training Center. The temperature remained in the 60s, rising from 64°F to 69°F as the sun struggled to break through the clouds for most of the two-hour practice.
On a brisk, windy morning, the Broncos brought their best as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell heads to camp for practice and a fan forum afterward. (photos by Gabriel Christus, unless noted)